Roopkund Lake Trek
The Himalayas hold treasures and mysteries that reveal themselves to the one who is bold and makes the journey. One such mystery is of the 300 years old skeletons that lay deep within a lake close to 15500 ft above sea level. How they got there is still a point of discussion. This clubbed with scenic beauty of the mountains makes Roopkund one of popular yet tough treks in Uttarakhand also in India. Best time to do Roopkund trek is during the month of May- June and during the month of September- October.
The trek starts in a quaint little village called Lohajung, this is the last place to buy ones supply of food and other trekking needs. Small shops stock things like water proof gloves, poncho, warm clothes and one can buy these at a good bargain.
Didna Village- lies Amidst of Mountains and Thick Vegetation
The first destination of the trek is a small village called Didna, if one scans the mountains that lie across Loharjung he will notice a cluster of huts on one of them, that is Didna. The trek to Didna is through forest and beautiful flora and fauna keeping one company during the walk. The waterfalls and streams look like they are inviting the trekker to stop and take a dip in them. Sun streaming through the forest canopy makes it a mystical land. The steep climb to Didna starts after an iron bridge which comes at about 2.5 hours into the climb. After about an hour and half of climbing the break at the village feels very welcomed. If one is lucky they can sleep in one of the houses in this village. The view of lights at a distance can be very mesmerizing.
Bugyal- Nature’s Own Gardens
After a nights’ rest one is all set to climb towards the famous Bugyal. There are 2 ways one can do this part of the trek, either a steep climb or a gradual climb past a village called Toplani. Either way when the Bugyal comes into view it takes one’s breath away with its sheer vastness. Miles and miles of green slopes that look like carpets laid out to welcome you. And on a good day the view of mountains coupled with the meadows is a sight to behold. One can either decide to camp near Ali Bugyal or proceed to Bedni Bugyal. Bedni Bugyal has a tiny shack where one can enjoy some hot tea and omelets. One a night when there is clear sky Bugyal are the best place to enjoy the countless star.
The next day of the trek is of gradual incline and one of the easier days in the Roopkund trek. This gives one ample time to enjoy the stunning view of the mountains and the play of light on them. In order to acclimatize it is advised that the trekkers camp at Ghora Lotani.
Kalu Vinayak – Seek blessings of Lord Ganesh on the way to Roopkund
From Ghora Lotani, the trek is a steep climb; zig- zaging through the mountain one quickly gains about 2000 ft altitude to reach Bhagwabasa. It is customary to stop and seek blessing at Kalu Vinayak; a tiny shrine of Lord Ganesh, to successfully complete the trek. As one gains altitude the weather becomes unpredictable, scorching sun gives way to hailstones and just like that within minutes the sun is back again as if nothing had happened. This stretch is also a place where one can see the Brahma Kamla during the months of July and August. Once the sun goes down temperature dips very fast and it takes all layers of clothes layers to keep one warm.
It’s an early start to trek to Roopkund and one needs to walk on the snow before its starts to soften. The path is mostly a gradual uphill but the high altitude makes it a tough climb. As one climbs over the last stretch of Snow Mountain and arrives at a flat land the lake becomes visible and the sights truly make the climb worth it. Weather permitting, one can continue to trek a little further and climb up to Junargali. The view of the lake and Mt Trishul from here is spell bounding.
Once done the descent back starts. One can either camp at Ghora Lotani or proceed to Bedni Bugyal. With the decrease in altitude this feels like a piece of cake. From here the final destination is just a day away. The meadows will give way to the oak tree and then to the Rhododendron. It is a steep descent to Neel Ganga. From here it is a 2 kms walk to Wan village. The trek ends here and one can take a taxi/jeep back to Lohajung. For someone who is interested in bird watching, the climb from Neel Ganga to Wan is like a paradise. The birds are plentiful and not very shy of humans. While one is sad to have left the pretty views of the mountains, these birds will surely cheer him up.