I have always been an adventure freak. Going for treks, mountain climbing, camping has been on my list ever since I reached high school.
My usual days are not usual anymore as I am involved in some sort of training to prepare myself for my next adventure location.
From treks in Shivaliks to cycling in high peaks of the Himalayas, adventure keeps me going. This time around, I have another location to explore and it is the Saptarishi Kund trek.
Saptarishi Kund trek is a low key area but is known for its lofty rocky mountains, flowery meadows, and glacier peaks. Located in the snowcapped Himalayan Mountains, the trek is known as the most difficult trek and is least crowded.
About 10 km for the Yamunotri temple, the Saptarishi Kund is an original source of the Yamuna River that is fed by Champasar glacier.
The trek is ideal for trekking near Yamunotri and is for all those trekkers who are looking to get prepared for higher trekking expeditions in future.
Saptarishi Kund Mythological Belief
According to Hindu traditions, the pilgrimage to char dhams of Hinduism begins with the Saptarishi kund. It is the westernmost trek and is located close to Indo-Chinese border.
According to historical beliefs, the Yamunotri temple the key attraction of the Saptarishi Kund is built two-three times, and the last it was developed by the Maharaja of Jaipur.
Besides the Yamunotri temple, there are many adjacent hot springs and Surya Kund is one of the most prominent.
Devotees visiting the temple follow the tradition of offering potatoes and rice as offerings to the deity which is usually cooked in the hot water of the spring.
The entire trek of Saptarishi Kund is divided into several stretches. It begins with a 13 km stretch from Hanuman Chatti till Yamunotri that is most probably covered in 4 to 6 hours.
This trail crosses via Banas which is 3 km or via Narad Chatti and Phool Chatti which are almost about 2 km in distance. During this journey, vehicles usually ply till the midpoint which is Janki Chatti 2.6 km.
From this point onwards the distance of 7 km along Yamuna upstream is full of thermal springs. Here onwards, a 3 km stretch is remaining which is a steep climb over the loose stone road and stretches along with a forest cover which finally culminates into a leveled roads guiding towards the temple.
The magnificence of the temple and the adventurous trek drew me to take up the here and I am providing a detailed account of my expedition to Saptarishi Kund trek.
One of my friends who had also accompanied me had an amazing experience. Here is a comprehensive itinerary that might help trekkers plan their trip going forward.
Day 1: Delhi to Barkot
During Day 1 of our expedition, I boarded a train from Delhi to Dehradun and from there took a cab to reach Barkot. After undergoing a topsy-turvy ride on the train and then a car ride, the journey had already been a lot adventurous.
During the day-long car drive, we trailed some unaccustomed roads which were in bad condition due to mountainous valleys.
Finally, the destination Barkot arrived and we spent the night in a budget lodge. Nevertheless, the rigor of the journey was greater than the odd ships that we had to deal with.
The next day we had to make our way to Jankichatti to start our journey to Saptarishi Kund. Rattled by our day 1 journey, I decided to have some local food before calling it a day.
Day 2: Hanuman Chatti to Yamunotri Temple:
Early morning we again began our journey by road to Jankichatti from where we had to reach the Yamunotri temple. Hunuman chatti is full of porters, shops and laborers recarpeting the roads.
From Hanuman Chatti, the Yamunotri trek begins which is about 3 km north of banas, 3 km to Janki Chatti, and the final lap of 7 km to Yamunotri which is a confluence of the Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna river.
After a hectic day and tiring trekking journey till Jankichatti, we all finally took a break to rest and have some food. A lodge with cheap rates of about 1000-1200 bucks per person was already booked.
Though it was not a luxury lodge but was economical enough to serve the purpose. We were moving into uncharted territories to the source of Yamuna at Saptarishi Kund.
The Kund lies 1 km above the Yamuna from where it’s glacial waters come gushing down. However to reach it one must undergo an arduous trek of 15 km.
The local people are very much accustomed to the journey from Yamunotri to Saptarishi Kund and complete the journey back in one day as they are aware of the shorter routes and are accustomed to the weather.
Travelers should avoid taking those routes as we dwell in sedentary lives of the city and live for the most part near sea level and taking this journey is an arduous task due to well-defined routes.
Secondly, there are hardly any camping spots on the route to break the journey and third and most important point, it’s risky to camp at Saptarishi Kund as winds below at high speed.
The entire journey is steep ascent and descent with very narrow ridges to maneuver. One needs to maintain balance and focus as there is a deep gorge on your way to hell or heaven.
Further, the place is mostly faced by rains, and therefore the route due to overnight rain becomes very slippery and many times one needs to make alternate routes as one wrong step washes away the track.
Apart from all the difficulties, the views are magnificent with some real exclusive flora along the way. I came across many medicinal plants navigating these tough routes.
We had our lunch at the stream which had good flat space. After lunch, the trek was difficult for most of us were out of steam. To add to it the weather became heavy and it started drizzling.
Fortunately, we were close to a meadow. The only probably place to camp. This meadow known as Damini Bugyal bought some relief to our tired body as we set camp here.
We were just lucky as the moment we set up tents a hail shower stuck us. However, afterward, the skies opened up giving a magnificent view of the valley.
We retired for the night here after having some delicious food comprising of soup, vegetables, and wheat rotis.
Day 3: Yamunotri – Saptarishi Kund
Yamunotri temple is set in a serene steep valley that is dominated by huge peaks of mountains which are called Bandar Poonch peaks.
The strategic location of the Yamunotri temple is such that it presents on geocentric earth with a ceased volcanic activity which results in hot springs.
One such hot spring is located inside the temple premises. The Yamuna goddess is considered to be the daughter of sun and hence the kund is names as Surya kund.
Yamunotri kund is not just the attraction Yamuna temple but is also famous for Hanuman temple. It is called Hanumaneshwar Mahadev temple and is located at the confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamunotri.
The temple itself has the historical mythology about Hanuman who was conspired against by kalnemi to take bathe in a river infested by crocodiles.
Kalnemi was one of the priests who had his hermitage at the edge of the river. While, bathing in the river, Hanuman had killed one of the crocs and released the curse on one of the Apsaras who was trapped in the crocodile’s body.
This is another temple located just 1 km across the Janki Chatti. It is also one of the oldest shrines dedicated to Yamuna’s father Surya or the Sun god.
Saptarishi Kund also is a natural source to find high-quality Blue sapphires and many ventures here to try their luck. However, the inaccessibility and harsh conditions make it impossible to get gold.
Further, the place has medical significance as it has vast diversity and medicinal flora. All of the information about key medical roots can be gauged by having a conversation with one of the Babaji.
Best Time to Visit
Since the trek is located in the highest peaks of the Himalaya, it is not accessible throughout the year. However, the temple opens during Akshay Tritiya which is the period from April till May, and then remains open till Diwali which is from October till November.
The rest of the months, the temple is covered with snow as the temperature plummets to negative temperatures.
While planning a trek or a holiday, connectivity is one of the key things to consider as this will ensure that you reach your destination safely.
To reach Saptarishi Kund the nearest railway station is Rishikesh and if you plan a trip via the airport then the Jolly grant is the nearest one.
Actual trekking to the place starts from Hanuman Chatti which is accessible through the motor and is located closer to Uttarkashi.
The city is connected to the major cities of Dehradun, Rishikesh, and Haridwar and can be reached by taking either a bus or a taxi.