Roopkund is a small lake above the snowline of the Greater Himalayas. It is a very small swallow lake, maximum 2 meters in depth and generally remains under the snow for 8 months in a year.
The beauty and charm of these snow-clad peaks, alpine meadows and dense forests attracts hundreds of trekkers every year to this place. Some of them come here to solve the puzzle of bones, skulls and skeletons hidden deeply under the snow in this lake, Some people come here to enjoy the green alpine meadows and some of them are mesmerized by the beauty of the heaven that lies above the cloud at 16200 ft. Roopkund Lake is also known as The Skeleton Lake. Hundreds of human bodies buried here. Nobody knows, how? Carbon Dating suggests that these skeletons buried here from almost hundred years when some people died in a fatal hailstorm. Today, Roopkund Trek is considered among the best treks in India. It is considered as a moderate trek on the scale of difficulty and it is really easy to complete this trek. But still, at these heights, you have to test your patience, discipline and your limits at each and every step.
Kathgodam is a small town, being last connectivity to the hills through the railways and therefore the town has regular flow of tourists throughout the year. Hence one needs to get early reservations on the well known train “Ranikhet express”. Kathgodam is a starting point of this trek. It is small yet beautiful place.
This is the day when actual trek begins. Trekking down couple of hours to Raun Bagad taking the Didna village trail, through the mixed dense forests of Rhododendron and oak is not that difficult but the serenity does leave you spellbound. Raun Bagad an iron bridge that crosses over the Neel Ganga River, once you cross this bridge the climb to Didna starts. It is a difficult climb and you may get tired pretty soon with a relatively tough time in the beginning you would reach Didna about an hour and a half time.
After breakfast, leave Didna camp and begin with steep ascend through Oak forests. It is better to start off early in the morning and reach Ali Bugyal before 3 in the evening. Admire the stunning views of the Garhwal Himalaya ranges as they appear you, sleeping into the never ending green carpet looks as though one is witnessing an act of magic nature being the magician here makes the clouds glissade atom the ridge and then skates them down the other side leisurely.
It is a easy trek, you would follow a straight trail ahead of you for about 5 km on your gradual increase to the slope the trek brings you to the other side of the ridge a keen eye can spot a Himalaya on the way. You will also start feeling the effects of the weather changes and the thin air will make breathing difficult. But don’t worry, the superb environment will give you enough motivation to reach your destination. The positive vibes flowing in the air lets you forget all your troubles.
This is 4-5 hours trail to Bhagwabasa is a long mountain edge passing through religious. Shrines all along and one of them famously known as Kalu Vinayak, a stone shrine with black Lord Ganesha. Today you will be gaining height from 12,500-14,500 feet we need to be prepared for some challenges offered by high altitude, zigzag passes and ice cold wind. It is treated as most crucial sides of the whole trek. The trial further the Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabasa hills on to the snowline with gentle descent.
Here the trek starts a very early morning the sooner you start, the better is for you as the snow remains hard before sun rises and perfect for trek. Later a sun rises and due to its warmth snow gets soft resulting sinking of feet deep into snow Roopkund is a 5 km graduate uphill climb from Bhagwabasa. This uninhabited landmark in the laps of Mt Trisul has overwhelmed many travelled with its innumerable stores it would take 3-4 hours to reach Roopkund. From here trek for another half hour to reach Junargali, the highest point on this trail, from here you can see Mt.Trishul 7120, Mt.Nanda Ghungti 6309m. Mt Chukhamba 7138m and many more peaks. Then trek back to the base camp at Pathar Nachni via Bhagwabasa you need to be careful in trekking back as snowy slopes may trek you the captivating Garhwal Himalayas in full glory extending up to Gangotri.
After breakfast it will take 7-8 hours to Wan.Trek will retrace once steps through the meadows where a sharp descend gets you to the end of it and starting of mixed forests if a clearer sky the view of Mt Trisul while returning is astounding. Walking through the rhododendron forest while sunrays playfully gleaming between them. A steep descent would get you to the Neel Ganga where one could take rest and refresh. A half an hour climb up ridge and village with huge and ages of old Cyprus trees would be greeting you with an eventful human habitat. Then a quick jeep ride for an hour would drive back to Lohajungh.
This would be your final day in the Himalayas. Lohajungh is a great place to relax and a final road trip back to Kathgodam.