Sopona Lake does not sound like a familiar name to most people traveling to Spiti Valley. When I suggest this place to friends & families, I get looks like “Where is it, is it real, never heard of it, you are kidding, etc..” 🙂 … Well, I know Chandratal Lake outshines most places in Spiti Valley and is among one of the most visited places in Spiti Valley. Apart from Chandratal, most travellers fairly limit themselves to places like Kaza, Tabo, Ki, Kibber and Dhangkar in Spiti Valley. However, Spiti Valley offers many other hidden gems of the places such as Sopona Lake, Langza, Hikkim, Komic, etc.. as well. In this article today, I will talk about Sopona Lake and try to outline a travel guide for it.
Sopona lake itself can sometimes be disappointing especially when it is dried during the start of winters or early summers when snow is not melted enough. However, the trek to Sopona lake offers some jaw dropping views of the Spiti valley and the high handsome Manirang range. Manirang range comes among the highest mountains ranges in Himachal Pradesh, lying on the border between Kinnaur and Lahaul – Spiti districts. Manirang pass, at a staggering altitude of 21,631 feet or 6,593 Mtrs, was one of the early trade routes between Spiti and Kinnaur, before the motorable road was built.
Sopona Lake – Location & How to reach it
Sopona lake is located at an altitude of 13500 feet (4122 Mtrs) above the remote twin villages of Mane viz. Manegogma (lower village) and Maneyogma (upper village). When you travel from Tabo towards Dhangkar, you get to a small Schichiling bridge before Dhangkar from where you have to take left across the Spiti river. You keep driving for about 5-6 KMs to reach Manegogma village first and then a drive of couple of KMs ahead, you finally reach Maneyogma. It will take about 2.5 – 3 hrs (approx 6 KMs) of trekking from Maneyogma to reach Sopona lake on a decent pace. The whole trek will take you about 6-7 Hrs up, down and spending some time up at the lake. The most part of the trek is a bit difficult for novices and moderate for regular trekkers.
It is a seasonal lake formed by the glacial melts and is mainly fed from snow of Manirang range. Hence, the best time to visit Sopona lake is summers. In the early summers and early winters, the lake is barren because the glacial snow melts either does not start or dries up by the start of winters. However, the journey to this high altitude lake is always as beautiful in any season as you can imagine it to be. You can read a travel tale in DoW Community: Sopona Trek – A beautiful Disappointment. All the pictures in this article are credited to Preet Kamal, our core devil, who was with us on DoW Mega Meet 2014.
Suggested plan to reach Sopona lake from Delhi
You can refer the most common itineraries for Spiti Valley from Kinnaur or Manali in the Spiti Valley section of the website for end to end plans. For the brevity of this article, I will only limit myself to suggest how you can fit Sopona lake into your Spiti Valley trip plan that makes most sense and also helps you not get hit by acute mountain sickness.
Day 1 | Delhi – Shimla / Narkanda
- Shimla sightseeing includes Famous Ridge, Mall Road, Lakkar Bazaar, Jakhu Temple
- Narkanda is about 60 KMs from Shimla takes about 2 Hrs
- About 8 Hrs drive to Shimla
- Overnight at Shimla or Narkanda, which ever suits your timings
Day 2 | Shimla / Narkanda – Kalpa / Reckong Peo
- Leave early, if from Shimla and enjoy the vistas en route
- You can plan for lunch at Rampur
- About 8 – 9 Hrs of beautiful drive through Kinnaur Valley
- Overnight at Kalpa / Reckong Peo
Day 3 | Kalpa / Reckong Peo – Nako – Nako Lake – Geyu Mummy – Tabo
- Start your day early and watch the vistas en route over Hindustan Tibet Highway
- Check Out Khab, Confluence of Spiti and Satluj Rivers
- See the Leo Purygal Peak from Khab Bridge
- Have your lunch at Nako
- Meet the dreaded Malling Nalla ahead of Nako, not so dreaded anymore and after Chango – Sumdo you will enter Spiti Valley
- After Sumdo police registration, the detour towards Geyu Village to visit the 500 Year old Mummy. After visiting it, keep moving towards Tabo.
- About 8 – 9 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
- Overnight at Tabo
Day 4 | Tabo – Dhangkar – Dhangkar Lake – Mane Village (Maneyogma)
- Start early in the day and visit Dhangkar Monastery
- You can also trek to the Dhangkar lake (about 1.5 Hrs of trekking)
- Have lunch at Dhangkar monastery restaurant and track your way back to Schichiling bridge to go over to Mane villages. I have deliberately back tracked you here because this will help you acclimatize well for the trek on Day 5
- About 2 Hrs of drive in the day
- Overnight at Mane Village (Maneyogma)
Day 5 | Mane Village (Maneyogma) – Sopona Lake – Manegogma – Attargu – Pin Valley
- Start the trek early in the day about 5-6 AM and reach Sopona lake
- Take packed breakfast. You will be back in 6-7 hrs at maximum to Maneyogma village
- Have lunch after reaching back Maneyogma village and start towards Pin Valley
- About 2 Hrs of drive in the day
- Overnight at Pin Valley
Stay options near Sopona lake at Mane Villages
Considering the fact that both of the Mane villages are more or less tiny hamlets, there are no hotels or guest houses available as such in these villages. But, there are relaxing home stays available in Maneyogma village where we stayed in DoW Mega Meet 2014. You will get amazed with the hospitality of the locals in the Mane villages, no matter what :)…
- Sonam Homestay – Maneyogma Village: We stayed at Sonam home stay at Mane village. It is fairly newly built and has 5-6 rooms, couple of dry pit local toilets, a big dinning hall where food is served. You will feel all the comfort. There is a big camping ground outside it where you can pitch your own tents. It is the last home in the Maneyogma village and from here only the trek to Sopona lake starts. You can reach Sonam ji at +91-9418503966 or +91-9459481431. Your phone may picked up by Lobsang ji, you can refer about Sonam ji from Mane village, he will recognise and take care of your bookings.
- There are other home stays available as well in the Maneyogma village where you can stay or feel free to put up your camps. Unfortunately, I do not have contacts of any other homestays.
- You can also get in touch with Tsering bhai (email@example.com or +91-9418208987) in case you need few things pre-booked or pre-arranged/organised. Sonam ji is in family of in-laws of Tsering bhai, so he should be able to help you in any possible way.
Other Tips and Suggestions for trek to Sopona Lake
- Food availability is fairly limited to the local home stays and your packed food. Hence, you must rely on either the food you are carrying OR eat at the local home stay where you will be staying in the village.
- Do take a local villager or guide with you on the trek to Sopona lake from Maneyogma. He can help you in many ways and morale boost is on such important aspect of trekking in high Himalayas.
- Kaza is the nearest place where petrol pump is available, so do not forget to top up in Kaza.
- No mobile signals work in the Mane villages or on the trek to Sopona lake. You are mostly disconnected from the outer world 🙂 🙂 … The article 11 Tips on Mobile Phone Connectivity in Spiti Valley will help you with your entire trip of Spiti on mobile connectivity coverage.
- ATM is available in Kaza only, so don’t forget to carry enough cash for the home stay payments or guide payments in Mane villages.
- Nearest major hospital is located at Kaza, about an hrs drive from Mane villages. The village has a small local dispensary for basic medical needs.
- You can also check our suggested list of things to carry on trip including medical kit
Sopona Lake and Mane villages are quite unexplored and offbeat destinations in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. These places have a lot of potential to entice travellers around the world due to its desolate, lost in nature and picturesque location. But again, such places are better off without any commercialization or tourist activities that most certainly spoil the beauty of such unusually tranquil places. So, whenever you travel to such places in Himalayas, we request you to travel responsibly. You can also read our tips in DoW Community about Responsible Travel in Himalayas.
Sopona lake and Mane villages are one of the very few places which can completely disconnect you from the outer world and put you right in the lap of nature with your “self”. These are such places that takes you back in time where you can easily retrospect or be lost in yourself. So step out and experience the magic of this place where solitude & nature are experienced at their best 🙂 :)…
In the end, feel free to post any queries here in comments section or in Itinerary Advice Forum – Lahaul, Spiti & Kinnaur Valley of DoW Community. If you have been to Sopona lake and would love to share inputs to help other fellow travellers, please leave a comments and I will make sure to merge your inputs in to the article.