Trek to Maldaru Lake, A Wetland in Uttarakhand

The trail sits in lush ambience consisting of meadows and forests that cannot survive without the touch of icy streams that are tricky to cross. But not all. Some of the stream sections are spanned with bridges.  The meadows spray wild flower fragrance on the trail. The ridges afford views of the pious peaks. The lakes deliver natural moisturizers. These water bodies recreate the faith in almighty for believers and create sense of accomplishment for non-believers. Is it not a perfect destination for meditating and relaxing sore eyes and minds?

The trail does not just offer physical challenges. If you are observant, you will learn about a different lifestyle that follows nature’s rhythm. For example, in every autumn local people construct / repair snow-proof wooden granaries to store grain during winter. The houses feature balconies where the residents enjoy the nature and do the household chores. In Gangar / Gangarh, covered balconies run along all the floors except the ground floor in traditional houses. The grey slate roofs rest on wooden and stone structures of locally available material.

Trail from Vishkhopri to Rashi Camp

Vishkhopri is the second camp on the trail. Beyond Vishkhopri, the trail wears a garb of the wild flowers and their green parents and friends. Snow covered mountains run along these floral meadows. You will walk through the icy stream without a bridge or balance over a temporary log bridge. The icy stream runs over the trail and breaks it apart. At the end, the trail ascends through the slopes wrapped up in dry and fresh vegetation. The meadow can accommodate a mini golf course but that should never be built because the golf courses consume lots of water.

Rashi Camp

From Rashi Camp, you can see layers of mountains but you cannot read your rashiphal (zodiac predictions)!  The camp affords views of the Manju Kanta Pass and snow sights. The path moving through the pass takes you to Yamunotri Temple.

The trail from Rashi onwards cuts through the ridges that actually veil the Maldaru Lake. Many trail sections dotted with boulders challenge your balancing skills.

Maldaru Lake

Wild plants grow amid stony banks of the lake. Grey and snow covered mountains rimming the lake environs reflect in the waters, giving it grey silvery shades that are revered for their powers to grant the wishes. The Maldaru waters are sacred to the residents of Osla and Seema villages. The lake lies approximately 1,500 meters above these villages. The waters to the east of Osla in Harkidun Valley moisturize the winds and answer the prayers of the villagers. The glacial waters at 4,380 meters cover more than a quarter of a kilometer in length. In the past, the residents of Osla prayed at the lake to get rid of a draught spell. The lake obliged and the village received rains, the residents believe so. Locals do not like trekkers camping at the lake banks full of glacial moraines and polluting it. The natives of Dharkot and Puoni also worship the lake.

The lake is located at 31°04’49.33” N latitude and 78°22’50.92” E longitude. This medium size tarn, located in the Rwesara / Ruinsara Gadh / Supin watershed basin, covers an area of 4.93 hectares. The lower slopes of the lake are frequented by shepherds. Depth of the lake, located in Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarkashi District, is more than ten meters. The lake water flows to the Supin River.

Returning from Maldaru Lake

When you bid adieu to the Maldaru Lake, do not feel emotional because the downhill trail has many surprises in store for you. For example, the trail presents lovely views of sharp conical ridges and almost vertical bare faces of the Swaragrohini Massif.

Baiya Meadow (4,000 m)

This meadow affords views of

  • Ranglana Peak in the Obra Valley,
  • the Harkidun Valley,
  • Hathu Peak,
  • the Borassu Pass,
  • four peaks of Swargrohini,
  • Black Peak, and
  • Bandar Punch Peak.

Devsu Thatch (3,000m)

The Supin and Ruinsara streams meet below this meadow.

Seema

At Seema, the trail bifurcates: one goes to Maldaru and other to Harkidun. Seema is located directly below the lake.

 

Season

May, June, July, August, September, October, November

 

Route 1: Very Steep

Osla – Maldaru

This 7-kilometer-long direct trail is the steepest because change in altitude is about of 1,600 meters or more.

 

Route 2: Gentle

Taluka – Vishkhopri

Vishkhopri – Rashi Camp

Rashi Camp – Maldaru Lake base (3,600 meters)

Maldaru Lake Base – Maldaru Lake – Maldaru Lake base (a short walk)

Maldaru Lake base – Rashi Camp

Rashi Camp – Vishkhopri

Vishkhopri – Taluka

 

Route: 3

Taluka – Vishkhopri

Vishkhopri – Rashi Camp

Rashi Camp – Maldaru Lake Base – Maldaru Lake (Before the lake, you will cross a pass at 4,300 meters.)

Maldaru Base – Baiya Meadow (4,000 meters)

(Maldaru Base – Osla short steep route)

Baiya Bugyal (meadow) – Devsu Thatch (3,000 m)

Devsu Thatch – Seema – Taluka (On this section, you will find a waterfall whose source is underground channels in the lake environment.)

 

Route: 4

Geun Gad (Sankri) – Daatmir – Dharkot – Vishkopri Thatch: about 14 kilometers

Vishkopri Thatch – Rashi:  about 12 kilometers. Camp on one of ridges

Ridge – Maldaru Lake – Ridge

Ridge – Seema: about 13 kilometers

Seema – Taluka – Sankri: about 12 kilometers

 

Flora

Bhojpatra

Bramh Kamal

Phen Kamal

 

Local Guides

They are generally not fluent in English that is absolutely Greek Latin for porters.

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