Chamoli Garhwal, Uttrakhand - Trekking
Roopkund Trek - Lake of Skeletons
Roopkund is a high altitude alpine medium size glacier lake with picturesque beauty and attractive tourist destination and popular bcoj of the several climbing objectives in this area which include beautiful trident peak Trishul and Ronti saddle in Garhwal. It is located in the lap of Trishul massif, also called ‘Mystery Lake’, more than 500 human skeletons and horses bones found in and around it. Trek start from Lohajung through villages, dense forests, alpine Bugyals.
Trek continue to Ali Bugyal, Bedini Bugyal, Ghora Lautani, Patar Nachuni, Kalu Vinayak, Bhagwabasa, Roopkund and Junargali. All along the trail you get amazing views of peaks like Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Neelkantha, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti. From Bhaguwabasa, trekkers must go to Shila Samundra (Ocean of Stones) via Junargalli Col Pass, which is just above the lake. Roopkund lake is surrounded by snow clad mountains and rock-strewn glaciers. It would be hard to match its combination of pristine high altitude lakes, meadows (bugyals), spectacular mountain views.
“Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy lifetime happiness. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” – Edward W.
Day 1: HARIDWAR TO LOHAJUNG
Overnight Drive from Delhi to Haridwar Bus Stand. Early morning drive to Lohajung, which will take 9-10 hours. The route passes through beautiful hill stations like Rishikesh, Devprayag, Sri Nagar, Rudraprayag, KaranPrayag, Tharali, Deval and Loohajung. You drive alongside local rivers and get views of many peaks. We arrived in Lohajung by late afternoon, having dinner and overnight at Lohajung guesthouse. Its a small town, clustered village with very basic facilities availabe. If you fogot anything to carry, you can check local store at Lohajung. Delving deeper in the mythology, Lohajung is the place where goddess parvati had a jung (fight) with the demon Lohasur. Literally translated, Lohajung means ‘ fight with Lohasur ’.
Day 2: LOHAJUNG TO DIDNA VILLAGE
Wakeup early morning and do some exercise to avoid muscle problems in trek, after breakfast start trek from Lohargunj, an easy walk on the freshly tarred motorable road towards Wan Village, after 2 hours take a right turn from Village and descend through the village to reach the next spot called Ruan Bagad.
Hereafter the climb to Didna Village, starts ascend walk once you cross Neel Ganga River through iron bridge. Ascend through fir, spruce, deodars, Oak and Bamboo forests to first campsite, which is famous for first and last home stay. We reach by lunch time to Didna Village and enjoy the hot lunch after finishing the days trek and sleep together in dome area.
Day 3: DIDNA VILLAGE TO BEDINI BUGYAL
Get up early morning and do some stretching to avoid muscle problems through the trek. Today’s stretch of the trek is steep one, through oak, bamboo, Birch and Rhododendron trees because we climb directly towards Ali Bugyal without going through Tolpani. You would certainly save on distance but relatively much steeper and tiring climb. After few hours in trek we reach the top of the ridge.
Some stone huts in Bugyals, where shepherds live in Summers and move to lower altitudes in Winter. You would certainly save on distance but relatively much steeper and tiring climb to reach the alpine grazing meadows called Ali bugyal. Misty Bugiyal has its own charm and feeling. To enjoy the seductive views from Ali Bugyal, you need to reach there before afternoon. After short break we continued trek to Bedini Bugyal to 2nd day Campsite.
Day 4: BEDINI BUGYAL TO BHAGWABASA
Early morning walk around the Bedni Bugyal. Clear weather will unfold mighty Trishul and Nandaghunti in front. On the other side we can see the panorama of Garhwal Himalaya like Neelkantha, Chowkhamba and others. Taking an early start always helps to starts climbing the mountains. The trail starts ascend from Bedni Bugyal will take you from the beautiful meadow campsite trail of Ghora Lotani. Also, while you are trekking along the path, the clouds may often be near the surface and almost touching your face, making the atmosphere mystical.
You would follow a straight line ahead to reach Patar Nachauni. a short break at Patar Nachauni. After break start from Patar Nachauni, a steep dash to gain altitude climbing and zig zag route takes you to Kalu Vinayak an idol of Lord Ganesha. It is truly mesmerising with glittering Trishul on right and bell shaped Nanda Ghunti on left at a stone throwing distance.
The route from Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabasa is simple and gradually sloping downwards. The campsite at Bagubassa is marked with open rocky structures. It is the highest campsite of this trek. The night is extremely cold here, overnight stay at Camp. There is a small cave on the right side of the well defined trail, and according to the legend it is the resting place or shelter of the Tiger ( Bhagwa/Bagh - Tiger and Basa - Home) that the goddess Nanda Devi rides. This area is famous for Brahma Kamal, Fen Kamal (Pink) and Neel Kamal (Blue) flower, which grow in this altitude.
Day 5: BHAGWABASA TO ROOPKUND TO WAN VILLAGE
Today’s a long stretching day. You have to start the day as early at 3-4 am to reach Roopkund before the rising sun melts the snow and makes the path slushy. Roopkund is gradually up-hill climb from Bhagwabasa. You need to be careful in trekking on snowy patches and slopes. You will have steep climb towards the end of the trail to reach Roopkund.
Now we are at Roopkund. A further highest point of Roopkund trek is Junar Gali 200 ft. Junargali Pass is the ridges joining two low altitude peaks, Chandaniya Kot (on the left) and Kali Dang (on the right). Trekkers must visit unless the weather is very harsh and does not permit you to climb to Junargali. You can start off early to return to Bedni Bugyal. The day to make your way back to Wan Village, there is a steep descend passing by Bhagwabasa, Kalu Vinayak and Pater Nachauni. We continue our trail back to Ghora Lautani to Bedni Bugyal. After descending for an hours we reach an opening inside the forest and called Gahroli Patal. We stay here for short maggie break.
After descending, going down till we reach the Neel Ganga River. From here we climb to reach the top of the Wan Village, which is called Ran ki Dhar. Now we enter into the village of Wan and continue to descend. Finally we reach Wan Village Bus Stand. Night stay in Wan Tourist rest house.
Day 6: WAN VILLAGE TO RISHIKESH
Wakeup early morning, having breakfast with group and enjoy moment. Finally we depart towards Rishikesh and take Jeep from Wan Village. We reach Rishikesh at 6-7 pm and take volvo buses to Delhi.
HOW TO REACH
BY TRAIN : From Delhi take Uttar Sampark Kranti OR Ranikhet Express for Kathgodam (Overnight Journey). From Dehardun take the Doon Express for Kathgodam (8hrs.journey).
BY ROAD : The journey from Lohajung-Rishikesh is two hours longer than from Lohajung-Kathgodam. Bus facility to Delhi is much better at Rishikesh-Haridwar than Kathgodam. From Rishikesh board the bus for Lohajung which starts from Rishikesh at 5 am in the morning and takes around 12/14 hrs to reach Lohajung. BACK Bus from Lohajung to direct Rishikesh in the morning. This will take around 10/12 hours. From Rishikesh there are regular transport to Haridwar and takes one hour.
BY ROAD : From Haldwani shared taxis are available for Deval early in the morning. Take such one by 6 am from Haldwani and reach Deval. Lohajung is another 25 Km from Deval. Either you can get a shared Jeep or need to reserve one.
WHAT ARE THE RISK INVOLVED ?
Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS): Shortness breath, Mild headache & Tiredness are some common in high altitude trek. Risk of being hit by AMS is considerably low but you are advised to be on a course of Diamox. In case of any medical emergencies, there are easy exit points on this trek, means evacuation will generally not take more than 24 hours.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR TREK
Prepration: Fight again sub-zero temperatures, carry multi layers throughout winter trek and practice carrying packed backpack to comfortable with it. Carrying dry fruits will help on trek since they provide instant energy. The ascent-descent during the trek demands level of fitness. Begin your fitness preparation, jogging 5 Km in 30 minute before One month or two before start the trek, stretching exercises for flexibility are important so you don’t get cramps in trek.