9 Sceneries of the Roopkund (Skeleton Lake) Trek
6 days of Roopkund (Skeleton Lake) trek in Uttarakhand are spanned over deep green forests, water streams, amazingly wide & green meadows, ice, and snow. The trek mainly owes its fascination to the mystery of around 300 human skeletons and their belongings strewn around the Roopkund Lake! Starting the trek at 7700 ft, you cover over double the altitude in this hike, categorizing this expedition in over moderate difficulty level. Therefore, only experienced trekkers should take it.
The following are the scenic takeaways of the high altitude Roopkund trek:
Ajan Top (8,399 ft): The scenic Lohajung (7700 ft) village in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand serves as the base camp for several high altitude treks. You can visit a day in advance to take a day trek to Ajan Top, a meadow with a temple. The Top delivers amazing views including those of Maiktoli Glacier (22,323 ft). Come back to Lohajung to begin your trek the next morning.
Ali Bugyal Meadow (11,500 ft): The first day of trek begins from Lohajung to your first campsite Tolpani. You start the second day of trek early morning, take steep climb through Oak and Rhododendron forests to reach the incredibly beautiful and vast Ali Bugyal open meadows with farm animals grazing. As you gradually ascend through Ali Bugyal, you see the majestic Nanda Ghunti (20,699 ft) & Trishul (23,360 ft) Peaks to the east. The variety of Himalayan herbs here is simply mesmerizing. The green magic continues at Bedni Bugyal as well which is 5 km away. Ali & Bedni Bugyal are Asia’s largest high altitude meadows.
Bedni Bugyal Meadow (11,700 ft): Climbing uphill, you tread ahead of Ali Bugyal on a zig-zag path, crossing the stone Bedni Temple. By afternoon, you reach the super magnificent green grasslands of Bedni Bugyal, the second campsite. Stay ecstatic. This is your second campsite! Yes, you get half the day in this divinity. Soak yourself in it! Walk barefoot, feel the grass and soil on your skin, sit and breathe in that fresh air in peace and thank the forces of nature for all the beautiful things in life. Take a walk to the Bedni Top. Enroute, you see the placid, crystal clear, and spectacular Bedni Kund. Reach for the Bedni Top to get a panoramic full view of the campsite. You will also see Maiktoli Glacier, Mt Neelkanth (11,398 ft), Chaukhambha (23,419 ft) and Mrigathuni (4,760 ft).
Kalu Vinayak Temple (14,550 ft): The third day’s trek targets Patar Nachauni (12,700 ft), the third campsite through Ghora Lotani, beyond which the pony & horses won’t go. You camp at the foothill of the peak which houses the Kalu Vinayak (Black Ganesh) Temple. To safely complete the Roopkund trek, travelers seek blessings at this small stone temple of Lord Ganesh. On your fourth morning, you reach the Kalu Vinayak temple negotiating the steepest ascent of this trek. But then you have to climb the mountain to get the view. This sacred site gives you that view in full measure. Standing on that peak is a visual pilgrimage in itself. You see Kedarnath (11,755 ft), Chaukhambha, Neelkanth, Trishul & Nanda Ghunti mountains.
Roopkund Lake (15,750 ft): From Kalua Vinayak, you descend to reach your fourth halt point Bhagwabasa, the highest & coldest campsite of this trek. For the Mystery Lake, you start very early in the morning, since as the day rises, the snow starts melting, making the climb slippery. Long ascent with occasional steep patches mark this hike. You climb down 250 ft to reach the lake. If it’s not snowy, you will see skeletons and artifacts strewn around. Unfortunately, the conservation of these skeletons is fast emerging as a challenge. They have started depleting fast. Besides that, they are weathering out too. Roopkund is one of the pilgrimage sites for Nanda Devi Jat Yatra, happening once every 12 years.
Junargali (16000 ft): If the weather allows, you climb the sharp ridges up 250 ft to the north of Roopkund Lake to Junargali. From here, the lake looks like blue soup in a white bowl. To face Mt Trishul and Nanda Ghunti unobstructed right in front, Junargali is the place to be. Get down to Roopkund latest by 9:45 am, else the melting snow can make things difficult.
The ‘Kamals’: From here, you start trekking back to the divine greenery of Bedni Bugyal. Fen Kamal (Pink), Neel Kamal (Blue) and the very rare Himalayan Brahma Kamal (which bloom only once annually) buds complement the sacred site. The sight looks surreal in monsoons! You feel a surge of emotions leaving your eyes moist at the pristine view. Prayers & gratitude! Your fifth camp is at Bedni Bugyal.
Ghairoli Patal: The sixth & last day of the trek takes you down to the deep Oak and Rhododendron jungle of Ghairoli Patal. Snow-covered Mt Trishul keeps gazing at you. You will see different shades of nature as the day progresses. Ghairoli Patal makes for a great campsite as well.
River Neel Ganga: From Ghairoli Patal, you descend fully to the base of the valley at River Neel Ganga. Set amongst shadowing greenery, you cross the river through a cute little bridge. The whole scenario is a mystical Himalayan experience.
From Neel Ganga, you make your way to the Wan village. From Wan you descend to Kasar Bagad and take a vehicle back to Lohajung, ending your expedition.
This blog post was sponsored by Bikat Adventures.
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