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When we decided to skip Vasuki Taal ( Taal= Lake) which is a 9 KM trek and a day ‘s full time from Kedarnath , I was the most disappointed person in the team. And I remember lot of blog posts and article calling this lake ” little ” so naturally I was bit hesitant to visit this lake. But we were given half day and obviously the last choice was Gandhi taal and we decided to visit Gandhi taal .
SO when we started walking for Gandhi taal I was not that serious. On the top of that sky was not at all clear. Everywhere there were full of clouds and it looked like it is about to rain. So we had all the requirements and loaded our bags with very minimal luggage. Previous day’s pain was still in the legs but the so called short trek started.
My head was always held high watching those stunning beauty of Himalayan peaks though I could not see much snow covered peaks. We were walking on a narrow stone paved path which we felt quite easy for first 15-20 minutes but soon we realized it is not that easy because of the altitude . I took a shortcuts for more photo opportunity without any knowledge of the terrain. I started walking on glacier just beside the river Mandakini which was actually dangerous and learnt later. We took around 1.5 hrs to reach Gandhi taal.
I was in full surprise when I saw this ‘little’ lake! The reflection of Kedar peaks and Kirthi Sthamb looked so beautiful that I was totally flattered and was mute for 5 minutes . I feel lack for words to explain so I am presenting all my selected photos taken at this place.
A little about Gandhi taal
Previously it is called as Chorabari taal which is in the valley formed Himalayan peaks called Kedar dome(6940 Mts),Bharatekuntha ( 6832 Mts ) and Chorabari glacier. And this glacier melts to become holy river Mandakini .
The lake itself is situated at the altitude of 3900 Mts and is not easy for a beginners. Ofcourse one with a good stamina and a healthy body can easily trek to this heaven lake . From the back fo the temple there goes a small stoned paved track which will take you to the lake directly.
It is said that this is the place where Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas, is said to have departed to heaven as per Indian Mythology.
Recently Mahathma Gandhi’s ashes were dropped here so it got a new name Gandhi lake.
How to reach
Stay in Gaurikund for a night and trek to Kedarnath and stay over night in Kedarnath and visit Gandhi taal next day
Drop at Kedarnath from Government run helicopters and visit the lake next day and cane be returned on the same day.
Time to visit:
Of course when Kedaranth is open for trek. But the lake will remain freeze till mid May . SO ideal time will be September and October to see the real beauty of Himalayan peaks reflected in the lake.
Be there very early in the morning and you can see the water still so the glow with a great beauty. Do not expect a sunrise or sunset as Kedarnath area is famous for quick change of weather and crazy clouds pouring from everywhere.
The trek: Easy to moderate
Beginners should not take the risk to go alone or in a beginner group. There should be atleast one person who knows the place better. Easy way is taking a porter from Kedarnath which cost you a minimal money as well.
Take food with you as nothing is available in that place. If you plan to stay over night take a guide.
Do not walk on the glacier unless you know what glacier is and how it behaves. You may loose your life also!
Take your tripod ( yes, I have to say that ) as you have to deal with some low light if you want a high quality image. Be there very early in the morning or stay late in the evening to see the grand beauty of Himalayan peaks as well as the lake. In September you can see some amazing flora and fauna here and they are worth capturing against a reflected peaks. If you are lucky you will get blue sky and that will be your most lucky day. Plan to spend a day there as there so many other places around the lake which can be visited and a great Kedar peak ranges can be seen.
Now the facts:
Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun conducting various experiments here and the glacier in this region is deteriorating quickly due to global warming. The change over the years is huge and experts are saying Gandhi lake is a dying lake. WIHG is installed Automatic Weather Station (AWS) Chorabari glacier to collect meteorological data round the year and studying the glacier movement.
So we have to realize how important our nature is. It is just a responsibility for all of us. Many think how to change the world overnight but it need not happen overnight. We can start by managing our plastic usage properly. A small dedication from every one lead to big change for sure.