One of the many high altitude lakes in Chamba, this one has been the most elusive for me. Like many things in the past, the first time I read about it in Shalabh’s blog (TrekHimachal, now defunct) long ago. Then, a few years down the line, my dear friend Anshul Soni (The Himalayan Volunteer) visited this lake and shared his experience with me. He somehow chose not to publish the photographs of this lake on his Flickr Profile but he did share a few with me, and those few images were more than enough for me to fall in love with this lake *again*.
In 2013, we had gone for Darati Pass Yatra and the village from where our trek started serves as the starting point for this trek as well. After 6 long years, I got a chance to visit this beautiful yet terribly under-developed region and what a journey it turned out to be.
By now, you must be aware that I am keeping the stories from my journeys for my second book, which primarily will talk about the high altitude lakes of Himachal (hopefully by October 2019, I will be able to see all the lakes that I intend to see) so for the time being have fun looking at the amazing pictures from this trek expedition.
To begin with, I was glad to have Sourabh accompanying me on this trek. The last trek we did together was two years ago when he had gone for Kinner Kailash Yatra.
Sourabh leading the way on a rainy day on a slippery trail. Like always, he rode his bicycle from Indora to Pathankot bus stand where we were supposed to meet. I can’t even imagine doing that, riding 40km on a sunny day in Punjab with a 15kg sack on your back.
Back at Dantuin Village after 6 years. This village serves as the base for both Darati Pass and Chaurasi Ka Dal Trek. This lake is known by many names in the region. Mahakali Lake, Khundi Maral Lake and Chaurasi Ka Dal are three of the most popular names of this lake.
Waterfall on the way. The trail runs for almost 16 kilometers one side, and I must have counted upwards of 20 waterfalls enroute.
Chanju Nallah piercing through a massive snow glacier. All the way to the lake, one doesn’t leave the deafening yet mysteriously beautiful shores of this beautiful stream
Shepherds on the way
Our Hosts at the Lake. Raseela Ram (Left) who happens to be the ‘pujala’ of the deity – He will be the incharge of the pilgrimage that is going to happen later in August (somewhere around 17-18 August). There is a ‘sarai’ next to their hutment which is nicely built to provide you protection from rain or snow, and bears too.
Chaurasi Ka Dal – Khundi Maral Lake -Mahakali Lake.
You can see the Chaurasi Pass or ‘Chadole Wala Jot’ which merges with the Kali Cho Pass trail on the other side of the valley (in the Ravi Valley)
The magnificent shrine of the deity at the lake. Khundi Mata or Chanju Mata, is one the seven major deities in this region (Churah, Pangi, Lahaul and Padder in J&K) namely – Devikothi, Mrikula, Machhail, Banni, Mindhal, and one other whose name I can’t recall right now
- Where does the Trek start from?
- The trek starts from Datuin Village in Churah Valley in Chamba.
- You’ll have to take a bus from Chamba to Nakrod (first bus around 6-6:30 AM) [60km]
- From Nakrod, take share cab to Datuin (Chanju Mata Mandir). [30km]
- What are the stay options on the route?
- First day, you can stay at the Datuin Village or if you’re not as slow as we are, you can walk till Riali Thach where you can find shelter but no food. [Datuin Village to Riali Thach – 6km]
- If you choose to stay at the village, be kind enough to bring gifts/stationary/pencils for kids. Village folks do not charge anything at all and even if you insist, they just don’t.
- Is water available on the trail?
- This is a wet trail. So much so that you can even do a Liril Preity Zinta dance under any of the 20 waterfalls on the route.
- What is maximum distance and maximum altitude one gains on Sari Pass trek?
- Datuin Village to Chaurasi Ka Dal Lake = 16km
- Lake Round Trip = 2 km
- Sometimes, you won’t find buses at Datuin Village on your way back, so you will have to walk till the next big village, which is Jakhla. Datuin to Jakhla = 7km
- Maximum Altitude: 3780 meters
- Total Trek Distance: 32km
- Download GPS Logs here…
- All the gps logs are available on My Strava Profile.