Roopkund – where the mystery unfolds!!

Roopkund – where the mystery unfolds!!

Roopkund has been on my mind since long… even before the days when i had started trekking in Sahyadries

I was just back from a long road trip (45 + days) and out of nowhere i got this info that few of my close friends are planning for Roopkund, but it was almost impossible for me get the leaves from the office on such short notice and that too after coming back from such long vacation 😛

But, how can you allow your friends to go alone on your dream trek 😛 … I did some settlements in office and the story begins 😉

Post: 1

Trek Day: 1

Altitude: 7600 ft / 2320 Mts

Location:  Lohajung, Uttarakhand

As per schedule we were picked from kathgodam railway station by TTH team at around 6.30AM in the morning.

After a journey of around 11 hours on winding roads we reached Lohajung. We were quickly allocated our rooms followed by intro session and dinner.

Right before sleeping, we got this lovely view from the terrace of our guest house!

Post: 2

Trek Day: 2

Kms trekked: 2 Kms

Altitude: 7000ft / 2130 Mts

Location:  EnrouteDidna Village, Uttarakhand

The moment had arrived for which everyone of us were waiting, the actual trek to roopkund begins.

We crossed few of such beautiful streams on our way… the initial part of trek was descend followed by pretty steep ascend.

Post: 3

Trek Day: 2

Kms trekked: 6 Kms

Altitude: 8050 ft / 2450 Mts

Location: Didna Village, Uttarakhand

Most of us had imagined that the first day of the trek would be easy, but these 6 kms were the worst for many, comparing remaining days aswell.

I think the prime reason for this was the glucose sucking sun :p . It was a sunny day and no one was expecting it to be that tiring.

But, tiredness index went to 0 after reaching such a beautiful homestay and being offered with a local welcome drink.

Post: 4

Trek Day: 2

Kms trekked: 6.5 Kms

Altitude: 8530 ft / 2600 Mts

Location: Acclimatisation walk from Didna Village, Uttarakhand

Well, climb high.. sleep low.. is the key to acclimatisation and trek leaders at TTH make sure we follow this principle.

Acclimatisation walk were usually followed by some story telling sessions by trek leads and local guide, making it quite fun.

Post: 5

Trek Day: 2

Kms trekked: 7 Kms

Altitude: 8050 ft / 2450 Mts

Location: Didna Village, Uttarakhand

It was first day of our trek, everyone was extremely tired. I still remember the moonset time was around 2.00 AM in the night, before that no chance of capturing the milky way.

Tired, but had to get up in the middle of the night to witness the clear sky of himalayas. Unfortunately, it was all covered with clouds, not a single star visible.

It was an instinct that kept me awake and I waited, fortunately after an hour at around 3.00 am I got lucky to witness the mighty universe 😀

Post: 6

Trek Day: 3

Kms trekked: 13 Kms

Altitude: 10500 ft / 3200 Mts

Location: Enroute Ali Bugyal, Uttarakhand

Today’s trek route was long as compared to yesterday, but the gradual inclination and perfect weather made its totally enjoyable!

Post: 7

Trek Day: 3

Kms trekked: 17 Kms

Altitude: 11320 ft / 3450 Mts

Location: Ali Bugyal, Uttarakhand

After trekking for around 10kms we reached Ali Bugyal, a beautiful campsite for sure!

On a clear full moon night, one can spot many glowing peaks from here.

Post: 8

Trek Day: 4

Kms trekked: 18 Kms

Altitude: 11320 ft / 3450 Mts

Location: Ali Bugyal, Uttarakhand

The next morning, weather was playing hide and seek with us 😛

But the view while crossing Ali Bugyal were superb !!

Post: 9

Trek Day: 4

Kms trekked: 22 Kms

Altitude: 11320 ft / 3450 Mts

Location: EnroutePatarNachauni, Uttarakhand

Today’s trek was mostly like a leisure walk with mostly flat walk and very gradual ascend but with totally varying landscapes!

Post: 10

Trek Day: 4

Kms trekked: 25 Kms

Altitude: 12820 ft / 3905 Mts

Location: PatarNachauni, Uttarakhand

It started raining when we reached the camp site, owing to that our acclimatisation walk was cancelled. However, in past few days acclimatisation walk was pretty useful for me, particularly for that mild headache caused by altitude.

So, I asked our trek leader if I can go for an acclimatisation walk, he was okay with the idea and I went to enjoy the serenity of mountains alone! hiked for a km up and sat for 30 mins or so absorbing the beauty of the valley!

Post: 11

Trek Day: 5

Kms trekked: 29 Kms

Altitude: 14100 ft / 4300 Mts

Location: Bhagwabasa, Uttarakhand

It was raining too when we left from PatarNachauni campsite in the morning.. with slushy track and inclined terrain we were gaining altitude slowly!

The rainfall turned into snowfall well before reaching top point of the day i.e. kaluVinayak… the situation at KaluVinayak become worst with heavy snowfall and chilly winds. With freezing hand and toes we waited for the team to unite.

The weather took a u-turn in a matter of some minutes as soon as we reached the campsite at Bhagwasbasa… We were blessed with such amazing views!!

Post: 12

Trek Day: 5

Kms trekked: 29 Kms

Altitude: 14100 ft / 4300 Mts

Location: Bhagwabasa, Uttarakhand

We were blessed to witnessed one of the best setting of sunsets in himalaya… fading sun over the blanket of floating clouds below us on the west and mountain peaks glowing with the full moon rise from the east!

Post: 13

Trek Day: 5

Kms trekked: 29 Kms

Altitude: 14100 ft / 4300 Mts

Location: Bhagwabasa, Uttarakhand

We had an important briefing session today with the members of technical team, where we were given the instructions for summit day… We were handed micro-crampons too for negotiating icy patches enroute the lake!

Would you believe if I say we had amazing gulabjamus in the dinner at an altitude of 14100+ ft. Well its true! Respect to the cooking and kitchen staff!

Post dinner we had some photography session where we framed Mt. Nandagunti right behind our campsite!

Post: 14

Trek Day: 6 (Summit day)

Kms trekked: 29 Kms

Altitude: 14100 ft / 4300 Mts

Location: Bhagwabasa, Uttarakhand

As per yesterday’sbriefing the march time for summit day is 4.00AM… so we woke up by 3.00AM (most of us cloudn’t sleep) has our breakfast and were ready to roll!

It was a clear night, thus it was freezing… u can see the glittering of tents due to icing on it… temperature was definitely in negative but that was not going to make any difference to our excitement for summit day!

Post: 15

Trek Day: 6 (Summit day)

Kms trekked: 30 Kms

Altitude: 14500 ft / 4400 Mts

Location: Enroute Roopkund, Uttarakhand

With still dark and head-lamps on, we headed for the summit.. towards the mysterious lake – Roopkund !!

As, expected route had lot of slippery patches enroute and technical team was quite vigilant about each and every moves of trekkers!

Post: 16

Trek Day: 6 (Summit day)

Kms trekked: 31 Kms

Altitude: 14760 ft / 4500 Mts

Location: Enroute Roopkund, Uttarakhand

With an hour of uphill trek, we were blessed with daylight, however still no sun-light to get us relieved from that chills.

We had some tea and oats mid-way and after some rest we continued towards the lake!

Post: 17

Trek Day: 6 (Summit day)

Kms trekked: 33 Kms

Altitude: 15700 ft / 4785 Mts

Location: Summit @ Roopkund, Uttarakhand

Finally, on day 6… 33kms of trek through forest…meadows.. barren land..snow..ice.. we reached the mysterious lake – Roopkund!!

It was some other level of satisfaction when we reached the lake… the lake was semi-frozen with snow all-around.

The lake has some mysterious stories linked with it… It all started in 1942 when a British forest official found numerous skeletons (around 200) near and in the lake!

From then there’s a mystery about these skeletons, initially believed from some Japanese Soldiers during World War – II, but later carbon dating found it from 850AD ruling out world war scenario.

Latest study claimed that, it belongs to the locals and the reason of death was probably being hit by hail-storm. Well everything is just a theory.. no one knows what caused the death of 200+ persons near the lake!!

Post: 18

Trek Day: 6 (Summit day)

Kms trekked: 33 Kms

Altitude: 16000 ft / 4850 Mts

Location: Summit @ Roopkund, Uttarakhand

With extreme snow conditions, the chance of scaling Junargali was ruled out by the technical team. However, I went a bit higher to capture top-view of the lake!

Sitting there alone for 15 mins was enough to absorb the nature and re-energize thy self!

Post: 19

Trek Day: 6 (Summit day)

Kms trekked: 39 Kms

Altitude: 12820 ft / 3905 Mts

Location: PatarNachauni, Uttarakhand

After a heavy summit day we were back to PatarNachaunicampsite.. skipping bhagwabhasa!

Everyone was tired and I was having a mild headache too.. probably because of the altitude and less oxygen conditions during summit.

During the trek we have seen all kind of weather… strong sun on day 1… rains on multiple occasions… snowfall at KaluVinayak… now today we received “Hail” too.. making it a complete package! 😀

Post: 20

Trek Day: 7

Kms trekked: 40 Kms

Location: EnrouteBedniBugyal, Uttarakhand

We left from the campsite in the morning with a mix of sun and clouds… It was a long walk today approx 15kms to reach Lohajung via beautiful BegniBugyal and we were supposed to cross thick pine forest enoure wan village after BegniBugyal.

However, the best part was, we were not repeating the route and were taking the entire new trail to head back to base!

Post: 21

Trek Day: 7

Kms trekked: 50 Kms

Location: Neel Ganga Enroute Lohajung, Uttarakhand

We had already walked more than 10 kms today by the time we reached our lunch point at banks of river Neel Ganga.

Exhausted from 6 days (50+ kms) of trekking, without second thought, few of us jumped into the freezing cold water of the river.

We couldn’t stay in the water for too long and I still remember that I was shivering for more than an hour after getting out of the water, until we started walking again after the lunch.

But, no doubts it was refreshing enough!

Post: 22

Trek Day: 7

Kms trekked: 54 Kms

Location: Wan Village, Uttarakhand

Our 6 day long trek, covering 54+ kms, ended today at wan.. like a typical small village of himalaya it was beautiful, plus lovely people of the village made it even more beautiful.

Jeeps were waiting for us at the village to take us to our base at Lohajung!!

Post: 23

Trek Day: 8

Kms trekked: 54 Kms

Location: Lohajung, Uttarakhand

We had an amazing certificate distribution ceremony at our guesthouse at Lohajung. And again like everyone did in their small talk during the trek distribution, would like to thanks NiteshRamola for being such an amazing leader… Our local guide… assistant trek leader Aniket… Support staff including “Guddubhai” and every member of cooking and kitchen who made our trek worthwhile… Also, all the trek mates thanks a log guys, the trek wouldn’t have been the same without u guys.. Cheers!!

Next morning, we left on our 10 hr long drive to kathgodam with the memories to cherish forever – the great roopkund!!

Written By:-

Ankit Negi

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