When it comes to travel and explorations, most of our destinations can be spotted on the internet superhighway. Just one mention of the Grand Canyon on Google, and you have a million search results in the blink of an eye.
Everyone has famous adventure destinations on their bucket list. But it is important to sometimes get off the beaten track and create a few footprints of your own. Futta Saur trek also known as the Mountain of Lakes Trail, is one such trail is the elusive
What is the Mountain of lakes
The Futta Saur trek is a relatively unexplored mountain trail in Himachal Pradesh. This virgin trail was discovered after a number of pioneering exploratory expeditions by Mountaineerz. They started exploring here, in search of the 12 elusive lakes that many natives claim are concealed within these valleys.
Mountaineerz commenced their 6-day exploratory trek from the ’dA Basecamp in Haripur and made their way through the Chanderkhani Pass. The expedition concluded in Manikaran via the village of Malana. They found 7 lakes and 4 dried up craters, that may have been lakes too at one point in time.
The entire terrain is rich in the composition of medicinal and exotic herbs. The air you breathe in is rich enough to get some people light headed. This trek is a “Natural Upper” and gives you an instant high right at the start. You might find the locals eagerly digging out exotic medicinal herbs like Naag Chatri, Karu, Patish, Chora, Gugal and wild garlic. They fetch a gold mine in international markets and have some unique properties, not found anywhere else in the world.
Ancient folktales suggest that Futta Saur is where the revered Jamadagni Rishi used to performed his bathing ritual and auspicious ceremonies. Hindu mythology says Jamadagni was one of the seven great sages and father of Parashurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Follow the trail
Day 1: Manali – Haripur – Soil – Guhad – Mindua
Your trip begins with a drive up to the oldest village in the Kullu Valley, ‘Soil’. Here, you can visit the beautiful ancient temple of Jamdagni Rishi and Kabir. Visitors cannot enter the inner sanctum of the temple. Only the priest has the permission to do so, but blindfolded.
Soil in itself is a charming little village and it is a sheer joy to trek across it.
From Soil, we start the 4-5 hour trek towards ‘Mindua’. The trail is fairly easy and leads up to a vast expanse of meadows. It has forests of Kharshu, Walnut, Chestnut, Bhojpatra etc. Camp overnight with a warm bonfire and some lovely dinner.
Day 2: Mindua – Shodupathar – Dhundha
Watch the glorious sun rise at Mindua and prepare for the trek towards Dhunda. The trail runs through dense Oak forests leading to Chowkigarh Nalla, a small stream. Cross it to reach a lush green meadow surrounded by a thick forest predominantly populated by Oak trees.
You will camp here for the night. Explore the surroundings and snuggle up in your sleeping bags after a delicious warm dinner.
Day 3: Dhundha – Parkuni
After breakfast, leave for Parkuni, which is above the tree line. The trail meanders through thick Birch, Rhododendron and Juniper forests. This region has rare plants and herbs like Karu, Chora, Patish, Gugal, and wild Garlic, known to have medicinal value.
If you need some motivation to keep walking, the sights, sounds and textures of the Himalayas will prove to be enough to fuel you through this trial. Camp at Parkuni for the night.
Day 4: Parkuni – Kukarban – 4 Lakes – PARKUNI
Complete a short trek to the first four lakes – Batarunaag Saur, Vasukinaag Saur, Futta Saur and Mata Kotli Saur. There is a cloud of mist almost always hiding these lakes. The terrain here is rocky and not very suitable for camping.
So, keep your tents pitched at Parkuni while you trek to the lakes and back in time for a bonfire and dinner. Slip into your sleeping bags and slide into a blissful sleep while atop the Mountain of Lakes.
Day 5: Parkuni – Shodupathar
Now you can take things at your own pace. Unwind and relax with some breakfast at Parkuni. From here, retrace your steps back to reach the campsite at Shodupathar. Pitch your tents and enjoy in the midst of nature.
The challenging part of the trek is finally over; It’s time to step back and relax.
Day 6: Shodupathar – Soil – dA Base Base, Haripur
After breakfast and some photography, make your way back to dA Base at Haripur via Soil village. Reach dA Base, unwind and celebrate with some hot lunch and stories about your achievement of trekking through the Mountain of Lakes.
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