‘Lakes’ are certainly a reason for the attraction of the soul of different hearts towards it… Roopkund as the name suggests is a lake with immense beauty which won’t allow you to go back to the noisy, polluted, home city. Your mind and body will forever be locked and you will definetly feel the lake’s presence in your dreams and your thoughts. Maybe this is one of the reasons why you can find many skeletal bones around the lake. A well-known organization went their few years back and after a carbon-dating test, they came to the inference that those bones belonged to the pre-historic period. So maybe the Gurus (saints) went there and just left for the eternal world…
Because of the skeletons found around, it is also termed as the ‘Skeleton Lake’… Reaching the lake is also not an easy task. To reach the lake, you actually need to trek for some 5 days (2-5 hours a day). The trek to roopkund is one of the 12 best trek routes of India.
I took off for this roopkund trek with 3 friends of mine so as to enjoy it better and when on a journey to a lake which is situated at around 14,500 feet above sea level, it is always better to accompany with some friends. Our journey to roopkund started from ‘Delhi’, from where I boarded the ‘Ranikhet Express’ which took me to ‘Haldwani’. One can also go till ‘Kathgodam’. From Haldwani we boarded a bus which took around 8-10 hours to reach ‘Lohajung’. Lohajung is a small township settlement on the hills, where we stayed for the night in a guest house. The next day we took off early in the morning for a drive to ‘Wan’, which took 1 hour after that a 4 hour trek to ‘Gheroli Patal’ and ‘Didna’ which is at 8,600 feet above sea level.
From Didna a 2 hours trek made us reach Bedni Bugyal (11,000 feet above sea level), this trek route made us go through ‘Ali Bugyal’ (the largest bugyal in ASIA). Now for those who don’t know the word ‘Bugyal’… Bugyal is large open grassland particularly used by the cattle.
A small camp at Bedni and the annual Nanda Devi fair refreshed us with a lot of power and strength to hold with the higher treks. A Maha Nanda Devi fair is also arranged every 12 years. Well the early 4 hours trek started from Bedni and reached ‘Patar-Nachauni’ and ‘Ghora-lautani’ (13,000 feet). The name ghora-lautani is termed by the locals as the mules and horses can go till here and after that it is you who need to continue carrying the luggage on your own shoulders.
The 3 unique types of High Altitude lotus ‘Brahma Kamal’, 'Fen kamal' and 'Kasturi Kamal' are seen here. These unique flowers survive only the height above 12000 feet and is also called the king of the Himalayan Flowers. A tiring trek of 5 hours from ‘Patar-Nachauni’ to ‘Bhagwabasa’ (15,200 feet) can really make you feel the heights… But the temple ‘Kaluvinayak’ (the only ganesh temple with a black idol) fills you with strength and life, to complete the last portion of the trek.
It is just a 3 hours journey from ‘Bhagwabasa’ to Roopkund/Junargali (14,500 feet). But trekking everyday a little bit seriously tires your mind. And after you reach Roopkund… All tiredness is just vanished. The pure white snow around the lake, the extremely cold and pure waters of the lake, the beauty of RoopKund and the human bones and skulls around the lake actually brings the excitement to its apex.