Nestled amidst the lofty Himalayas is a paradise called Roopkund. Bestowed abundantly by the gift of nature, its varied and paradisiacal terrain has made it a very popular trekking trail. Experience trekking to Roopkund to live the dream that every trekker has! It is considered as one of the best treks in India.
A famous glacial lake in the state of Uttarakhand, Roopkund is located at an altitude of almost 4800 m and is part of the Trishul massif. It’s enchanting transitions from pristine forests to endless pastures, gurgling streams, spectacular campsites, and snow-covered peaks seem like heaven for every trekking fanatic. If just hearing the word trekking gets your adrenaline pumping, Roopkund beckons you. Trekking to Roopkund generally takes five to eight-day trek (completely depends on you and your company); it gives you the taste of a great adventure, climbing from 8,000 ft. up to 16,000 ft., passing through steep valleys and flat paddocks.
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Trekking to Roopkund – The Paradise
Your trek to Roopkund starts from Lohajung, which is 210 km. from Kathgodam. Walk along Neelganga and reach Kuling. Climb the steep slopes of Tolpani, through the Didina village and get baffled by the captivating view of the snow-covered Mt. Nanda Gunti in front of you. You will be witnessing this sight through most parts of your trek. Didina is the perfect place to get a small-town feel, where you can avail homestays for a halt before resuming your trek. After a steep trek, you reach the picture-perfect meadows of Ali and Bedni.
The vast stretches of green appear no less than a painting, only that you are part of it, yourself. Feel the excitement as you see your destination at a distance, from Nanda Gunti and Trishul.
On reaching Kalua Vinayak through Patar Nachauni, you are treated with a panoramic view of the sky-high peaks, including Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Neelkantha and others. Reach Bhagwabasa after a downhill trail, for a halt. Your next errand up the snow-capped mountains takes you to Roopkund, the endpoint of this awe-inspiring trek.
Mystery of the Skeleton Lake
After a 250-ft. ascent, you will find yourself amidst the remarkable landscape of Roopkund, housing the Skeleton Lake. Rock-strewn glaciers around the lake add to the beauty of the setting. If you are lucky, the water may start melting by mid-day, making the lake bottom visible and explaining the bizarre nomenclature. Look down into the lake to find age-old skeletons at the bed of the lake. These skeletons are supposed to be from the Paleolithic age.
Enjoy the tales that that guide will narrate, tales that have been passed on across generations; a popular notion being that these are the skeletons of heroes who fought here between the 12 th to 15 th century. You might also hear tales of these people dying due to an epidemic. There are different opinions about the cause of death and the origin of these people, but the one that holds is that these people were victims of a fatal hailstorm. These people may have been natives who didn’t have any protection from the storm. These might also have been pilgrims on their way to the Nanda Devi pilgrimage. Also, DNA tests and radiocarbon dating that were conducted later by scientists have determined that the skeletons belong to around 850 AD. Along with humans, skeletons of other animals have also been found.
The Mesmerization Continues – Till the end!
On your way back, trek through the boundless expanses of Bedni Bugyal, Wan village, and Ghairoli Patal. After a strenuous descent, you are at the bottom of the valley, welcomed by the Neelganga. Walk along the river and reach Lohajung, from where you started.
With its deep gorges, soaring mountains, winding paths, crystal waters, and greenery all around, it appears like an intricately crafted piece of art and creativity. For ardent trekkers, trekking to Roopkund is a never-miss experience, taking you through a whole new experience of reaching to the top.
Important Tips for Trekking to Roopkund
Though the Roopkund trek is doable for anyone above seven years of age, it’s not an easy trek, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. These tips should be pretty helpful for all aspiring Roopkund trekkers:
- It helps if you have experience trekking in the Himalayas; you will have a fair idea about the fitness levels required to complete this trek.
- The first day is difficult because you ascend about 2600 ft. The day of reaching the summit is equally difficult because the air is very thin at almost 16000 ft. and you will feel the pressure on your lungs for every step you take.
- There’s a high probability of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) because the trek starts at almost 8,000 ft. We recommend that you visit a doctor and take a course of prescribed medicines.
- It’s a good idea to start working on increasing your stamina, lung power and muscle strength, at least a couple of months before you plan for the trip.
Roopkund can aptly be termed as a learning experience – an opportunity to understand the details of trekking, assisted by an unmatched scenery as a bonus. If you consider yourself a passionate trekker, then trekking to Roopkund must be on top of your list.
In case you’ve already trekked to Roopkund, do share your trekking experiences with us. Stories are invited!
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