Satopanth Glacier

The Satopanth Glacier is situated in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

The term ‘Satopanth’ is perhaps derived from two words – ‘Sat-o’ meaning of truth, and ‘Panth’ meaning path or way. So its literal meaning is the path of truth. The glacier is one of the popular glaciers of Uttarakhand. River Alaknanda took its origin in this glacier. Mountaineers consider it a bit tough to scale.

Mount Balakun viewed from Basudhara
Balkun Peak dividing Satopanth Glacier in the left and Bhagirath Kharak Glacier in the right[1]

Scientists claim that the Satopanth Glacier is retreating, though not as fast as the Gangotri Glacier. So, a number of preventive measures have been taken. River Alaknanda took its origin in this glacier. Also, as the glacier lies quite near the Indo-Tibet Border, photography is strictly prohibited.


It lies on the northwest side of Nilkantha, a major peak of the Garhwal division of the Himalayas. It sits below a 2,500 m (8,200 ft) face of the peak. Originating at a height of 7000 meters from the peaks of the Chaukhamba (7068m) and the Badrinath (6974m) mountains, the glacier spreads over a vast expanse of 13 km, this glacier melts into water at an altitude of 3810 meters. The Narayan Parvat and the foot of Balkun or Balakun peak, touches the glacier.[1]

Other Information

The Satopanth Glacier can be approached from Joshimath in the Chamoli sub-division, by following the Badrinath and Mana (3128 m above sea level) road. From Mana, the route follows the course of the Alaknanda River. On the route, you will come across a waterfall named Vasudhara Falls, lying on the right bank of the Alaknanda River. The snout of Satopanth Glacier opens at about 5 km upwards from Vasudhara Falls. Two kilometers down the valley, the left bank of the river offers good conditions for camping.

Satopanth Glacier can only be approached in summer months. Treks to this glacier is a very sought-after adventure, for tourists in Uttarakhand.

The nearest airport is at Jollygrant, about 221 km, the nearest rail station is at Rishikesh and is well-connected by roads with Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Nanital, and Almora.[2]


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Alaknanda River

The Alaknanda is a Himalayan river in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and one of the two headstreams of the Ganges, the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. In hydrology, the Alaknanda is considered the source stream of the Ganges on account of its greater length and discharge; however, in Hindu mythology and culture, the other headstream, the Bhagirathi, is considered the source stream.


Balakun is a Himalayan peak situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state of India. The Balakun peak has the summit at an altitude of 6,471 m (21,230 ft) in the Garhwal Himalayas. Balakun Peak is located 16 km from Badrinath. Balakun is situated north west to Badrinath. Balakun is situated between Bhagirathi Kharak glacier and Satopanth glacier.The peak is situated north east of Nilkanth peak. The Alaknanda river originates from below this peak by the melting of these two glaciers at an altitude of 3,641 m (11,946 ft). The two glaciers rise from the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba (7140 m) peak and wrap around the Balakun peak. Balakun is situated north of Kunaling (5471 m) and south of the Arwa Group. The peak was first climbed in 1973 a by six-man team of ITBP led by Hukum Singh.


The Ganges ( GAN-jeez), or Ganga (Hindustani: [ˈɡəŋɡaː]), is a trans-boundary river of Asia which flows through India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of India and Bangladesh, eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

The Ganges is a lifeline to millions who live along its course. It is a most sacred river to Hindus, and worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It has been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Kashi, Allahabad, Murshidabad, Munger, Baharampur, Kampilya and Kolkata) have been located on its banks.

The Ganges is threatened by pollution, not only to humans, but also to animals, among which are more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species, reptiles such as the gharial, and mammals such as the Ganges river dolphin, the last-mentioned two included in the IUCN's critically endangered list. The levels of fecal coliform bacteria from human waste in the river near Varanasi are more than a hundred times the Indian government's official limit. The Ganga Action Plan, an environmental initiative to clean up the river, is considered a failure, which is variously attributed to corruption, a lack of will in the government, poor technical expertise and environmental planning, and a lack of support from religious authorities..

Great Himalayas

The Great Himalayas or Greater Himalayas (Hindi: महान हिमालय or हिमाद्रि) is the highest mountain range of the Himalayan Range System.This range is separated from Trans Himalaya mountain range by the Main Central Thrust Fault, and lies north of it.Entities the range is within include Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, and Tibet.The world's highest peak, Mount Everest, and other "near−highest" peaks-Kangchenjunga, K2, Lhotse, Nanga Parbat etc are part of the Greater Himalayas range. The total west to east extension of the great Himalayas is 2400 km(1500 miles) and their average elevation is 6000 m(20000 ft.). They are home to many glaciers like Gangotri Glacier, Satopanth Glacier etc.

List of glaciers of India

Himalayan region of India is home of some of the most notable glaciers in the world. This is a list of the notable glaciers in India. Most glaciers lie in the states of Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Few glaciers are also found in Arunachal Pradesh.

Nilkantha (mountain)

Nilkantha (or Neelakant, Neelkanth, Nilkanth, Nilkanta) is a major peak of the Garhwal division of the Himalayas, in the Uttarakhand region of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Although substantially lower than the highest peaks of the region, it towers dramatically over the valley of the Alaknanda River and rises 3,474 metres (11,398 ft) above the Hindu pilgrimage site of Badrinath, only 9 km (6 mi) to the east. Frank Smythe described the peak as "second only to Siniolchu in Himalayan beauty."The Satopanth Glacier lies on the northwest side of Nilkantha, below a 2,500 m (8,200 ft) face of the peak. The Panpatia Glacier lies to the southwest, and feeds the Khirao Ganga, a stream running under the south side of the peak. Further away, to the west of the peak, lies the well-known Gangotri Glacier and its associated peaks. Across the Alaknanda valley lie the Kamet and Nanda Devi groups.

Panch Prayag

Panch Prayag (Pañca prayāga) is an expression in Hindu religious ethos, specifically used to connote the five sacred river confluences in the Garhwal Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand, India. The five prayags - prayag meaning "place of confluence of rivers" in Sanskrit - also termed as "Prayag pentad" are Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag and Devprayag, in the descending flow sequence of their occurrence.

Satopanth Tal

Satopanth Tal is a lake in Uttarakhand, India, located in the midst of snow-capped peaks at an altitude of 4,600 metres (15,100 ft) above sea-level. The lake is considered to be of religious significance to the local people; residents of Mana village throw the ashes of the dead in the lake.

There is a saint known as Moni Baba, for he had stopped talking from a very early time. There is a common belief that he can live on only sun and air, if food is unavailable.

Shipton–Tilman Nanda Devi expeditions

The Shipton–Tilman Nanda Devi expeditions took place in the 1930s. Nanda Devi is a Himalayan mountain in what was then the Garhwal District in northern India, just west of Nepal, and at one time it was thought to be the highest mountain in the world.

Nanda Devi is surrounded by a ring of mountains enclosing the Sanctuary which, despite decades of attempts, no one had been able to enter. In 1934 Eric Shipton, Bill Tilman and their three accomplished Sherpas succeeded in finding a climbing route into the Sanctuary via the Rishi Ganga gorge. Then in 1936 Tilman and Noel Odell, as part of an American–British team, climbed to the 25,643-foot (7,816 m) summit making Nanda Devi the highest mountain ever to have been climbed at that time.

It was only in 1950 that a higher summit was reached when Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal climbed Annapurna. Nanda Devi itself was climbed for the second time in 1964.

Vasudhara Falls

Vasudhara Falls is a waterfall situated near Badrinath, in Uttarakhand, India. It is located on river "Alaknanda". Total distance from Badrinath to Vasudhara is 9 km. The first 3 kilometers of badrinath to mana village is drivable road. Next 6 km is walkable trek from Mana village to Vasudhara waterfall. The log inheight of this waterfall is 400 ft(122 mt)

Dams/ Barrages
Related topics
Hydrography of surrounding areas


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