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Yamunotri Saptarishi Kund Trek
02 Nights 03 Days, Uttarakhand, India
Yamunotri Saptarishi Kund trek is an adventurous hike on a spiritual super highway which takes you to the actual source of Yamuna, the “Saptarishi Kund” which a glacial lake situated about 1000 m above the Yamunotri temple.
The trek to Saptarishi Kund is one of the most challenging and least crowded Himalayan trails in India. The trek is also a great training opportunity for trekkers who are looking to undertake higher Himalayan treks and expeditions in future.
Janki Chatti (8 hrs from Dehradun)
Dehradun Railway Station
Jolly Grant near Dehradun
Hanuman Chatti is a multitude of mules, porters, ramshackle shops and labourers perpetually re-laying the road. Porters and ponies are available at Hanuman Chatti and their rates are fixed by the District Magistrate before the start of every yatra (pilgrimage season). From Hanuman Chatti , you can trek on the spiritual superhighway 3 km north to Banas (Narad Chatti), 2 km further to Phool Chatti, 3 km to Janki Chatti (2,650m) and the final 5 km to Yamunotri, the confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers. Located at an altitude of 3,293m, the most westerly of the four ‘dhams’ in the Himalayas, Yamunotri is also the least trafficked. Lest you summon up a picture of an idyllic communion with nature along the upper valley of the river, let me clarify that you will be far from alone. The source of the Yamuna is an important pilgrim destination, with its fair share of mules and ‘dandis'(palanquins), frail women in wispy cotton, and sun-blackened ascetics with hollow eyes.
The Yamunotri Temple is set in a tight, steep valley, dominated by views of the Bandarpoonchh Peak. The entrance to the shrine is guarded by tank (or kunds) of steaming water channeled in from thermal springs. Pilgrims variously cook their rice in the tanks, rinse themselves of their sins, or, like us, consider the scene a while before deciding that ablutions in the glacial stream would be more hygenic.
The offspring of Surya and the twin sister of Yama, the Lord of Death, the dark coloured Yamuna wields such cleansing power it would put any modern detergent to shame. It’s believed that anyone who bathes in her dark waters is spared a torturous death. Tired after a 13 km exhausting trek, you can take rest overnight in the rather basic Travellers’ Rest House, before making your way back the next day, after darshan at the temple.
The actual source of the Yamuna is perched high above the temple, a glacial lake “Saptarishi Kund” on Kalinda Parvat. The ascent is more than 1,ooo vertical metres, and not easy of access. The climb takes one away from the squalor of of the shrine, and the ridge above yields aerial views of the virginal alpine meadows – the unnamed and beautiful bugyals of the region.
According to a legend, the Yamunotri Temple must be built every few years and the sudden floods and heavy snow ensure that it lives up to this legend. There are several hot water springs adjacent to the temple precint, the most prominent if which is the Surya Kund. Pilgrims immerse rice, gram and potatoes tied in a piece of cloth into the springs, which takes only a few minutes to cook. It is then offered to the deity and later distributed as prasad. But going by the quantities one ends up having, by no stretch of imagination could it be called a prasad. On your way down to Hanuman Chatti, you should visit the Someshwar Temple at Kharsali, 1 km across the river from Janaki Chatti. This is one of the oldest shrines in the region and is dedicated to Yamuna’s father Surya, the Sun God. After the 13 km downhill trek to Hanuman Chatti, depending on your schedule or how tired you are, you can either stay at overnight in the Travellers’ Rest House at Hanuman Chatti or drive back to Haridwar, from where Delhi is 200 km. You also have an option of stopping by at Mussoorie or Dehradun.
Yes, it is absolutely essential to take a guide for this trek whether you are trekking solo or in a group.
The best season for Saptarishi Kund trek is from Jul to Sept.
It is ideally recommended for 15+ age. Saptarishi Kund is a high altitude trek which is not suitable for children below 15 years.
Yes, in fact all the Himalayan trails are quite safe for women & solo travelers. People of the region are very warm, caring & hospitable in nature.
Camping tent accommodation (2-3 per tent).
Guides & porters in the region will never demand any tip money from you. They just need their daily wages paid by the trek operator. However, it is always encouraging if one can give a little tip to them if they provide good services.
Indian currency is accepted