|Nandaghunti from Roopkund Lake|
You dig some snow and probably you find some skeletons. The mysterious frozen field is chilling, not just the weather alone, also because of the fact you see hundreds of skeletons scatter various places around the lake, situating more than 16000 feet above the sea level in a pin drop valley. The mystery behind Roopkund skeleton remains a mystery, but some investigations revealed that around 1200 years ago, a group of pilgrims lost their route in hail storming and buried alive in the snow, and the skeletons are relics of their lives.
|It is pretty much real!|
Needless to say, trekkers, curious hunks and adventurers from different part of the world trek to this rough terrain in various times of the year. I was told by one villager during my stay in Lohajang that one young fellow, son of an army personnel trekked to Roopkund alone and never returned back. Army searched the whole valley but not even his body was found anywhere. Several stories are revolved around this mysterious skeleton lake, but still daredevils find their way to Roopkund every year.
The trek is beautiful, passing through some breathtaking landscapes and astounding beauty. The trail passes through exotic landscapes of Himalayas –oak trees, alpine meadows, green pastures and snow fields. It is a delight for a nature’s enthusiast and landscape photographers. You can almost touch the mighty Trisul (7120m) and Nandaghunti (6310m) from Roopkund.
How To Reach Roopkund
|Bedni Bugyal en route|
You can start your trek from either Lohujang or Wan. These two villages are accessible throughout the year from Rishikesh and Haridwar, except you have to leave two months of winter peak when things are frosty here. Wan is 25km far from Lohajung and technically the last village connected with the road. Lohajang to Wan you need to depend on private car or some local jeep because there is no public transport and road is abysmally bad.
Lohajung is however reached by either Kumaon or Garhwal side. If you are traveling from Delhi, Kumaon will be less hectic.
|Skeleton antics in Roopkund|
Reach Kathgodam by Kathgodam Express or another train (which leave you in station in the middle of the night), you can either a private taxi to Lohajung (around 5000 INR) or take a public transport and reach Gwaldom(6 hour). From there you need break the journey and go to Tharali (1 hour). Tharali lies on the bank of Pindar River and you need to break another one , and take jeep or local bus to Lohajung via Debal. (around 2 hours)
Alternative route is come to Rishikesh from Delhi (6 hours) and take a bus from Rishikesh around 5am to Lohajung. It is a hard one because it takes around 14 hours of tough journey winding through mountain roads.
What I did, I took a shared jeep from Haridwar in the early morning to Gwaldom. Then took another jeep to Tharali and then hopped in a bus to Lohajung via Debal. If you take an early ride, you will get communication in this road.
Where To Stay?
|Life less travel by|
You find only one hotel in Lohajung, but you can stay in your tent in the field. If you are late, it is advisable to take a halt in Debal where you get diminutive budget accommodation. While coming from Rishikesh, Karnaprayag and Srinagar are also good options for overnight stay.
Roopkund Trekking Route & Essentials
If you are traveling with a trekking organizer, you don’t have to worry about permit issue. Otherwise, if you are with your own group or traveling solo, you need a permit from Forest Department. There are two routes to reach Roopkund:
Route 1 (4 days, 3 nights): Wan-Bedni Bugyal (12 km)- Patal Nachauni (5 km)- Kalu Vinayak (3 km)- Bhagwabasa (1 km)- Roopkund Lake (4 km)
Route 2 (6 days, 5 nights): Lohajung – Didina – Ali bugyal – Bedni Bugyal - Patal Nachauni - Kalu Vinayak - Bhagwabasa - Roopkund Lake.
|Roopkund trail passes through some dense forests|
Roopkund is absolutely a big NO without a guide. Even if you are traveling solo, take a guide from Lohajung, to ensure you won’t get lost in the forest and mountains. Roopkund is an extremely difficult trek for newbies and moderate for regular trekkers. It is best to visit the place during August-September, other May and June you will find difficulties in snow laden trail. If you are a smoker, leave the habit for one month or so, because above 5000m air is pretty thin and you might catch mountain sickness.
Things To Carry In Roopkund Trek
- Tent (preferably dome tent) – I had a bad experience with my alpine tent last time
- Depending on the members of your group, (3-4 people)
- 5kg Rice, 1kg salt, 1kg milk powder, Tea packets, 1kg sugar, 1kg oil, spices, biscuits, chocolates, multi-vitamins, glucose, food supplements, dry fruits etc.
- Vegetable, kerosene oil, frozen meat, stove
- Trekking accessories can be rented or bring your own like ice axe, crampons, ropes, sleeping bags etc.
- Always carry a pair of extra shoes, raincoat, hunting knife
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