(Last Updated on : 02/05/2013)
Sattal or Sat Tal as it is also popularly called is an interconnected group of seven freshwater lakes situated in the lower Himalayan Range near Bhimtal, a town of the Nainital
Lake District in Uttarakhand
, India. The area had a tea plantation, one of the four in the Kumaon area, during the British rule. The lakes actually sit at an altitude of 1370 meters below the pure and lush green fruit garden in the Mehragaon valley. Sattal, a place set amongst dense oak and pine trees, is one of the few unpolluted and unspoilt freshwater biomes in India. These lakes are actually a paradise for all types of migratory birds. It is also home to small camps being operated mostly by the local people catering to people visiting the place for outdoor vacations.
Geology and Physiographic feature of Sattal
Sattal is located in the lower Himalayan Mountain range and is the result of tectonic activities and the elevation of sediments between the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Tibetan plain. The rocks present are mainly quartzite and sedimentary rocks. Physiographical feature of the area can be divided into lower Himalayas and terraces.
Ecological feature of Sattal
Sattal has a fragile ecological system with lakes, ponds and other water bodies under the impact of heavy environmental degradation. Severe dumping of non-biodegradable waste or excessive deforestation, uncontrollable urbanization of the catchments and the nearby forest is harming the ecology of the area. This is a case which results in scanty or less rainfalls, a decrease in the number of animal ands plant species and rapid drying up of the perennial springs. The lakes and other water bodies also suffer from reduced oxygen content and high level of phosphorous and nitrogen. The concept of poaching is still prevalent and that has actually led to elimination of many wild animals. Khudariya Tal became Sukha Tal due to leakage of water from its western extremity. An extensive growth of invasive plants such as Parthenium, Lantana and Eichhornia is also endangering the ecological survival of the lakes.
Flora and Fauna
Sattal is popular for its ecological amplitude and biodiversity. It has 500 species of migratory birds and resident birds, 20 species of mammals and over 525 species of butterflies and over 11 species of beetles, moths and other insects. The flora covers a diverse and wide range of plants ranging from orchids, bryophytes, rare climbing plants, ferns, lichens, fungi and other medicinal herbs and shrubs. Each and every individual lake has its own Diatom index. The Tropical Diatom Index uses the composition of diatom assemblages to assess water quality and ecological status.
Birds of Sattal
There are different varieties of birds that can be found in Sattal. It is home for some of the unique avain fauna which includes kingfishers, red-billed blue magpie, blue-throated and brown-headed barbets, lineated barbet, crimson-fronted barbet, coppersmith Barbet plum-headed parakeet, golden-throated barbet, slaty-headed Parakeet, chestnut bellied rock thrush, fish eagle, pied woodpecker, titmouse, babblers, jungle Owlet, brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, grey-capped pygmy woodpecker, yellow-crowned woodpecker, brown-fronted woodpecker, stripe-breasted woodpecker, rufous-bellied woodpecker, crimson-breasted woodpecker, yellow-crowned woodpecker, lesser yellownape woodpecker, greater yellow-naped woodpecker, rufous-bellied woodpecker, scaly-bellied woodpecker, common flameback woodpecker, Crimson sunbird, fire-tailed sunbird, thick-billed flower pecker, plain-leaf flower pecker, fire-breasted flower pecker, russet Sparrow, Eurasian griffon, common buzzard, black-chinned babbler, pink-browed rose finch, common wood pigeon, slaty-headed parakeet, laughing thrush, chestnut-tailed minla, lemon-rumped warblers, and many more.
Tourism of Sattal
This is a place known for rich collection of butterfly. There are different species of butterflies that can be found in this museum. This prestigious museum was built by Frederic Smetacek at Jones Estate that has over 2500 moths and butterfly specimen and 1100 species of insects are also found in this region.
Sattal Mission Estate and Methodist Ashram
The Sattal Christian Ashram, the evangelist and missionary, was established by E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973). The Christian Ashram is positioned on the banks of Sattal lakes, on a past tea garden.
St. John's Church is also a part of this ashram and depicts a mixed British architecture. The Sattal Christian Ashram chapel is also located nearby. The ashram was set up in 1930 to bring in the religion of Christianity into Kumaun region of Uttarakhand
. Revered Stanley Jones was a dear friend of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
. Earl Denman, who alone attempted to climb Mount Everest and later tried to climb secretly with Tenzing Norgay in 1947, stayed in this Ashram for many years.
This place, located west of Sattal, is the normal and spectacular natural spring of fresh water arising out of dense oak forests.