Haathi Taal- The Jewel of the Elephant

This route was geocoded during our 2009 Flagship expedition to explore the Semartoli Valley- a tributary valley to the Bhuinder Ganga on Smythe’s trail. The Semartoli Valley is lovely for its diversity of flora, fauna and virgin untouched beauty. The head of this valley is surrounded by a bevy of tall peaks dominated by the Elephant Peak or Haathi Parvat.

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A chance discovery of a glacial lake during our route research brought us to discover a large lake, almost 800 M long, deep at the head of this valley and almost a mile away from the traditional routes in the area. The lovely lake was christened Haathi Taal by us in the honour of the dominating peak in that region- Haathi Parvat (Elephant’s Mountain). An excursion due south brings one to the ancient pass called Kankul Pass. A small exploration beyond the pass can bring one to see the emerald jewel of a lake called the Kagbhushandi Taal– a glacial lake of serious religious significance for the locals. There are at least two glacier-snouts at the Dang-Kharak and Raj-Kharak area and of course the lovely meadows of the Semartoli Bugyal. This route provides additional flexibility for adding or reducing challenges depending on the team capability. This route is juxtaposed with the Khunt Khal trail and hence provides for designing interesting new combinations of route plans.