If you want moments that you can cherish for the lifetime then you must trek to the Himalayas. Trekking in Himalayas is a concoction of adventure and self-discovery. Believe me, when you conquer mountains, you conquer yourselves. No mountain is unreachable if you just follow a simple sutra.
“Keep Walking and each mountain is conquerable”
The Indian Himalayas give abundant opportunities to the adventure loving trekkers across the globe with its myriad landscapes and challenging treks.
Here, we end our three part series of summer treks with the most enchanting trek of all times. This trek is undoubtedly the first love of each trekker, the one which has everything to offer, right from snow-capped mountains, miles of undulating alpine meadows, deep virgin forests, gurgling brooks, breath-taking campsites and folklore with an intriguing flashback. This is enough to make memories that will last for a lifetime.
In this part we take you along to the Roopkund trek, the quintessential Himalayan trek.
Roopkund is a mountain lake, lying in the Garhwal Himalayas in the Chamoli district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Situated at a high altitude of 15700 ft, the lake remains frozen almost throughout the year. The lake is surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow clad peaks. One can trek the Roopkund twice in year — once after winter from mid-May to mid-June, and once post monsoon during September and October. Both the times have their offerings. For post-winter variant you can have fun with snow, or you can choose the post-monsoon variant if you want to stroll through lush green Himalayan meadows.
The Mystery Lake
Roopkund is also called the ‘Mystery Lake’, or the ‘Skeletal Lake’, on account of the several hundred human skeletons found scattered in and around the lake. Various myths have been proposed regarding those skeletons and the reason of its death, some say that they belong to Japanese soldiers who died here during WWII and few scientific studies say that they are of people from an Indian tribe, who died here in the 9th century because of a severe hailstorm. The hailstones were as big as cricket balls, and with no shelter to hide from the storm, they succumbed to injuries on their skulls.
National Geographic aired a story regarding this lake, which made the lake a popular destination among trekkers. Apart from all this stories around, the Roopkund trek is the perfect route to showcase the fantastic Himalayan beauty and it’s the ideal beginner’s trek in high altitude category.
The trek begins in the town of Loharjung and walks you through mountains replete with rich biodiversity and picturesque surroundings. As you ascend, you meander through forests of fir, spruce and deodars and as you reach the top, the trees disappear and expansive and lush green flat lands greet you. You may also be able to see animals that come here to graze during summers.
Trek points and their approx heights,
1. Lohajung: 7662 ft
2. Didna Village: 8045 ft
3. Ali Bugyal: 11320 ft
4. Patar Nachauni: 12818 ft
5. Bhagwabasa: 14117 ft
6. Roopkund: 15755 ft.
Few highlights of this trek are:
1. Along the journey you will go through the twin meadows of Ali Bugyal and Bedni Bugyal which are the largest high altitude meadows in our country.
2. Roopkund is a very high altitude trek that climbs to 15,700 feet, higher than Mt Blanc, Europe’s highest summit. There are very few high altitude trails in our country that are as safe for beginners as the Roopkund trail is.
3. This trail is also credited with the densest oak forests in this part of the country. It vertically stretches over 3,000 feet, largely untouched by mankind. Each of the oak trees in the forest is over five hundred years old.
4. Trishul, the first 7,000 metre summit to be climbed by man, is seen closest on the Roopkund trail. When you stand on top of Junargali at 16,000 feet, there is nothing that stands in between Trishul and you. In Indian Himalayas, getting so close to a major summit is unique to a trail.
How to reach Kathgodam: Train travel from Delhi is recommended.
Challenge Level: Moderate
Maximum altitude: 15755 ft
Best Time to visit: Mid May-Mid June and Septmber-October
Special Tips: Plan a special fitness regime prior a month of joining this trek to avoid altitude induced problems, as oxygen level gets reduced at such altitude.
Missed out on our first two parts? You can find them below!