Kakbhusandi Lake trek

a comprehensive guide


Situated at an altitude of 4730 meters near the Kankul Pass (4960 m) in the high Himalayan region, Kagbushundi Lake is the highest alpine lakes of Garhwal Himalayas, considered the sacred lake of Uttarakhand in India.

It is a small rectangular lake, the area comes under the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, a UN heritage site for natural diversity that sited at the bottom of Tal Hathi Parvat.

The light green water of this lake has various shades on its banks. Some colourful blooming flowers such as pink, mauve, orange, puree, periwinkle blue, crimson added to the beauty of the region.

Trekking to Kagbhushandi lake mesmerises you with the majestic view of the peaks of Neelkanth, Chaukhamba and Nara-Narayana. Its adorned with green meadows, sparse rivers and alpine forest the trek to Lake Kagbhusandi is bound to give you a lot of fun.

Besides, there can be seen two huge size rocks sitting on the edge of elephant mountain above Kagbhusandi lake offer a wonderful view for the trekkers. This place is no less than a paradise for those seeking peace in the city away from the air.

Important Trek Information

  • Altitude – 15,462 feet/4,713 meters
  • Trekking Distance – 56 km
  • Trekking Level – Moderate to Difficult level
  • Permissions & Guide –This is a porter driven trek, it is mandatory to have a technical guide with you for this trek. You need to get permission from the forest department office in Joshimath to go on the trek.

Key Highlights Of The Kakbhusandi Lake Trek

  • The lake trek offers much more than trekking, like interaction with locals, variety of flora and fauna, rich heritage, high altitude lake, close view of popular Hathi Parvat and other peaks.
  • Trekkers can have a striking forest, fresh air, perennial water views all along with various peaks on the path of the lake. Some famous name of the peaks includes Neelkanth, Thailya Sagar, Brigupanth, Chaukhamba, and Nar-Narayanetc.
  • The Himalayan peaks are not only highlights of this trek but the villages scattered on the trek also make this trek adventurous. Getting insight into the village, one can experience the unique charm of the nomadic lifestyle of these villages tucked high in the valley.

Itinerary for
Kakbhusandi Lake trek

This trek can easily be completed within 5-6 days.

Day 01: Haridwar to Joshimath 260 km/10 Hrs)

The trip begins from Haridwar to Joshimath, early in the morning. The drive from Haridwar to Joshimath takes around 10 hours. Dinner and hotel stay in Joshimath.

Day 02 : Joshimath to Bhyundar Village 25 km (Drive) and 9 km (Trek) / 11 Hrs

The second day in the morning after having breakfast, proceed to drive towards Bhyundar village from Joshimath. You will pass through dense forests, steep slopes, rivers and rocky areas while heading to Bhyundar village from Joshimath. Dinner and overnight stay would be in camp.

Day 03: Bhyundar Village to Gairgilla to Samartoli 8Km/5-6 hours

On day three, your trek begins for the place of utmost beauty, Samartoli. During this trek, you will visit the Gergilla, which located at 2980 meters altitude. You will trek for 5 to 6 hours reach Samartoli. Later stay overnight on the campsite in Samartoli.

Day 04: Samartoli to Dang Kharak to Raj Kharak (8 km/ 6 to 7 Hrs)

On the fourth day, your journey will continue from Samartholi towards Raj Khark, and the trek passes through Dang Khark, dense forests and steep slopes. Dinner and overnight stay at hotel or camp in Raj Kharak.

Day 05: Raj Kharak to Kankul Khal to Kagbhusandi Lake (Total Distance- 8 km/5-6 Hrs)

On day 5, after taking breakfast, finally trek to magnificent Kagbhusandi lake (height of 5230 meters). The lake towards trek brags rocky paths and dense forests, surrounded by snow-capped mountains certainly mesmerising you. Night meal and overnight stay will be lakeside camp.

Day 06: Raj kharak to Simartoki (8 km/5-6 hrs)

In the morning, move from Raj Kharak to Simartoli, trek back to Kagbhusandi Lake. This day will cover a short distance, spend nights in camps.

Day 07: Simartoli to Govindghat to Vishnuprayag to Joshimath 

On this day, you will move back towards Joshimath along with trekking two more places, Govindghat and Vishnuprayag which are about 22 km from Joshimath. These are the final destination of the day.

Day 08: Joshimath to Haridwar (Total Distance- 260 km/10 Hrs)

Today will be the final day of Kakbhusandi Lake Trek. You will drive down from Joshimath to Haridwar then take the train or bus-train for a respective place in the evening.

How To Reach Kakbhusandi Lake From Major Cities?

There are two ways to reach this lake trek, one can be reached from panika village near Vishnu Prayag and other Govind Ghat, Both routes are better for trekking, but if you want to choose an easy plus good route then the passing through Bhupinder village is the best route.

 By Air

Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport in Dehradun located about 25 km from the city. There are daily flights available from Delhi and all major cities to Dehradun. Kagbhusandi lake, Chamoli Garhwal is 132 kilometres from here. You can take by car or taxi to your next destination

 By Road

There are many day and night Volvo bus services from Delhi which frequently ply from ISBT Kashmere Gate, New Delhi to Dehradun. Private buses options also are available to Dehradun and Rishikesh.

 By Train

Dehradun railway station is the nearest railway station. The distance of Kagbhusandi lake Chamoli Garhwal is about 126 kilometres from here. It’s about the journey to Dehradun from the Capital city of Delhi. Some best train option from Delhi to Dehradun includes New Delhi to Dehradun A/c special train, Nanda Devi Express (Train No 12205) and Dehradun Express (Train No 12687).

Kakbhusandi Lake Trek: Best Time To Visit

From May to June and September to October months are the best time to visit Kakbhusandi lake. In these months, the day temperature remains very pleasant and the night temperature drops up to -5̊C. You have to carry some warm clothes with you.

Is Khatling Glacier Trek Right for You?

The trail of this trek is easy in the beginning then the difficulty. Initially, the trek is smooth until you reach the meadows in the Chowki. This trek after the Chowki is difficult as this route leads to the high steep altitude region. The terrain gets tough as you move towards your final destination. You greeted by a terrain dominated by boulders and thin ice which make the condition tricky.

Summer: In summer, this lake trek begins in late April and the perfect time is till the middle of June. You can enjoy cool weather during the summer season but the temperature is lower than other trekking destinations in Uttrakhand so do not forget to carry warm clothes.

Monsoon: Although trekkers make the trip in monsoons, monsoon rains make the environment colder, and the route remains slippery. Therefore it is recommended not to visit this place in monsoon.

Spring: From the middle of September to the mid of October, a trekker can enjoy the greenery and chilly weather all over during trekking. Even this time, many trackers often visit this lake but the night the temperature falls, you must keep warm clothes with you.

Winter: In winter months, it’s cold in Kakbhusandi. It’s not so good time to make a plan during winter. Although, some trekking enthusiasts may like to enjoy the chilling Uttarakhand during winter.

History of Kakbhusandi Lake

Locals believe that crows fly to this lake to die here. According to Hindu legend, Kakbhusandi Lake has religious significance as it’s associated with Ramayana. Its named after Kakabhusundi, the character of Ramayana. Local people also believe that Kakabhusundi narrated the story of Ramayana to Garuda Ji as a crow. It’s believed that all kinds of sins eliminated

Kakabhusundi became a crow due to the curse of Lomash Rishi. He was given a boon of Ram mantra and euthanasia to get rid of the curse. After this, he spent his whole life as a crow. Kakabhusundi had narrated the Ramayana to Giddharaj Garuda before Valmiki.

During the war, When Ravana’s son Meghnad tied Lord Rama to Nagpash, on the request of Devarshi Narada Giddharaj Garuda freed Lord Rama from Nagpash. Garuda suspected of being Lord after Lord Rama was tied to Nagpash. To clear the doubts of Garuda, Devarshi Narada sent him to Brahma. Brahma Ji sent him to Lord Shiva, and Lord Shiva sent him to Kakabhusundi. Kakabhusundi dispelled his doubts by telling the story of Rama Charitra to Garuda.

Basic Preparation Before Going to the Trek

The trek to the Kagbhusandi lake is very attractive and spectacular, but the trekking journey is very long and adventurous. Good fitness is a must to enjoy the trek. If you are going on a trek for the first time, it is necessary to doing some fitness activity before your journey improves your body which abolishes your trek difficulties. Each day you have to cover long distances to reach the destination so trekker needs to be physically fit to experience such adventures treks.

People with any symptoms of the disease are not advised to go on the Kagbusandi lake trek.

Some basic exercises are necessary to follow regularly such as Breathing Exercises – slowly inhale and exhale for about 15-20 min. Push-ups along with jogging for 30min, and rapid walking for 1-2 hours preparations before going.

 However, the beginners are not advised to go on this trek. Even if you are a well-experienced trekker, you also need the right preparation before going. This trek will be more enjoyable and exciting for those trekkers who have prior trekking experience. It’s also a good idea to have a medical check-up and consult your doctor before your trip.

Things To Carry On this Trek

Along with health and physical, there are some major belongings that essential to keep with you during the Kagbhusandi lake trek, see below:

  • Backpack- Ready a light weighted around 30 litres in volume rucksack with multiple pouches, good zip, straps.
  • One ID Proof like Photo ID proof DL / Voter Id/ similar.
  • Keep one pair of extra shoes with good sole and ankle protection which help sustain usage during the trek. Do not wear new shoes, it prone to bite and blisters. Keep 2/3 pairs of arm socks.
  • Clothing and Toiletries for your daily usage- Trekking pants/trousers/t-shirts/ one jacket and some warm clothes. one quick-dry towel and Cold cream.
  • Take two pair of gloves to keep your palms warm during extreme cold.
  • Keep some tissue paper, plate, spoon and carry one water bottle and some reusable bottles along. Carry some poly bags for trash and wet clothes.
  • Carry snow sunglasses, cap or hat to protecting your face, eyes and head from direct sunlight during treks.
  • Carry one hiking poles, one headlamp, flashlight with extra batteries use it only required.
  • Raincoat or Poncho must carry on the trek.
  • Carry a medical Kit: Take few medicines such as crocin, Paracetamol, Glucose, Volini spray, band-aid, cotton and crape bandage.
  • Keep one whistle for signalling and use in times of distress only.
  • Sleeping Bag is must keep. It is better if you have your warm sleeping bag, there might be extreme cold, and the camp beds might not be good enough to give you a good sleep.
  • Must keep a mobile phone always with you, check with trek coordinator of network availability carry BSNL SIM if needed.