The Himalayan landscapes are bound to captivate nearly anyone in this world. Irrespective of the month of the year or the time of the day, it has something to offer to its visitors. It was indeed such a moment when I approached Sangetsar Lake, a high altitude lake in the Eastern Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh that is considered holy by the Buddhists.
It is the heady mix of spirituality, the mighty Himalayas surrounding it and the tree trunks jutting out of this lake that give it that oomph factor. Or may be, it is because, your brain is gasping for oxygen at this high altitude of about 12,000 feet.
This place is also known as Madhuri Jheel after the famous Bollywood movie Koyla (featuring Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit) that was shot here. In terms of location, the Sangetsar Lake is about 30 kilometres North East of Tawang (about 2 hour drive one way depending on weather and road conditions). One requires a special permit from the District Commissioner's (DC) office located at Tawang to visit this lake. Only Indian nationals are allowed here.
There is a fair bit of history associated with this lake. The Sangetsar Lake is one of the remotest high altitude lakes in India and is located tantalizingly close to the China border. Both the Buddhists of India as well as the Buddhists of Tibet, consider the waters of this lake extremely pure and come here on pre-defined days of the year to offer their prayers.
And then there is a bit of story attached to the eerie tree trunks jutting out of this lake. I found this one out from the local army folks over a cup of tea. Apparently, the Sangetsar lake used to be located at a short distance away from its current location, but after an earthquake that hit this part of the world and the ensuing tectonic plate shift, the lake moved its position from its earlier location to a pine forest. The move was so dramatic that it drowned the entire forest except for the top of the tree trunks that can still be seen jutting out, even today.
There are some other interesting facts about this lake. One, it never dries out even during the driest years and second, it never freezes even during the coldest year and that too when everything around it is deeply frozen.
If you are fairly fit and have acclimatized well to the high altitude, then you should definitely walk the well paved pedestrian path that surrounds this lake. This trail gives you a 360 degree view of this magnificent Himalayan vista, while you cut across innumerable streams and pine forests that are dressed in fresh snow. This place is a definite on the travel bucket list if you are in love with the Himalayas.