Roopkund Trek in Garhwal Himalayas will always remain special for us. It was a time for many firsts on this trek. Roopkund is a first week preference in long Himalayan treks. It was the first time where we were completely out of our comfort zone. And it was our first time traveling, rather than trekking with a group of people.
Gaining fame year after year, Roopkund trek has become the jewel of India’s Himalayan adventure scene. Despite its popularity, Roopkund translates to ‘beautiful pond’ in English and attracts backpackers from all over India and international visitors with its beauty and mystery.
How to reach?
Departing Lohajung the next day, you can stop for a moment of reflection at a beautifully rugged temple, before plunging into a valley of dark undergrowth for most of the day’s 11km. The trail curves gently along the Neel Gunga and weaves through the sun-dappled forest and takes you up to the village of Didina.
The starting point of this trek is Kathgodam, a small town in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It is accessible by rail and road, which are the only two ways to reach this beautiful secret settlement. The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport which is 71 km away – you will have to rely on road transport or rail to get to Kathgodam.
Nestled in the middle of the Kumaon range of the Himalayas, Kathgodam is a beautiful place to enjoy nature and cultural heritage. The drive from here takes you through charming narrow roads to Loharjung, which will be your base camp for this trekking expedition.
Expectation from Roopkund Trek
The first day takes it easy, your only task is to find your way to Lohajung, a small village at 7,700 feet that serves as the trailhead for this adventure. There are several comfortable family homes and panoramic mountain views that give you a preview of what’s to come.
Here the host family and chai stall offer welcome hospitality and many use this point as a daily lunch break. After this cheerful opening, it’s back into the forest until you reach Tolani at 8,300 feet, where many choose to camp for the night.
The following morning, this trail suddenly bursts into the open space at the top of Ali Bugyal, the meadow that stole India’s heart. This undulating alpine carpet of neon green grass seems to expand endlessly, gifting hikers with glimpses of grazing cattle and quivering wildflowers. Look east and be humbled by the faces of Nanga Ghunti & Trishuli.
The day ends with a 10km descent back to Bedni Bugyal, from which you descend 11km the next day to the charming village of Wan.
- Kathgodam – Kathgodam is adjacent to its sister city Haldwani in the state of Uttarakhand. Literally meaning “wood store”, Kathgodam is the center of trade and commerce of the district. This charming city lies at the foothills of the Kumaon range in the Himalayas and is its last railway junction.
- Loharjung – A small settlement situated on the edge of a mountain, Loharjung has a stunning view of the Nilganga basins. It offers quiet and private living for travelers, most of whom are passing through to glimpse the area’s other charms.
- Ali Bugyal – Located at a majestic height of 3400m, Ali Bugyal is perched on top of a mountain and passes through dense vegetation of oaks, rhododendrons and birches. With beautiful grassy terrains and green stretches, Ali Bugyal offers a mesmerizing view with misty winds and colorful delicacies.
- Bhagwabasa – a noticeably isolated place is what stands in Bhagwabasa with stone blocks on all sides of the path.
- Roopkund Lake – A high altitude lake in Uttarakhand, it is located at an altitude of 5020 meters and is also called the ‘Mysterious Lake’. It has a mystical history with the remains and skeletons of humans and horses seen here believed to date back to the Paleolithic era.
The Mystery Behind Roopkund Lake: Folklore of Roopkund
It was in 1942 when a British forest ranger came across thousands of skeletons in Roopkund Lake. Since then, these skeletons in the snowy realms of the Himalayas have been the subject of research by anthropologists, historians and scientists. Around 300-600 skeletons lie in the area.
So there you have it – a beginner’s guide to mastering the Roopkund trek and making it an unforgettable eight days. Junargals, mysterious skeletons, neon meadows and burning temples await – pack your bag and discover the unknown that is now known!