Roopkund (locally known as Mystery and Skeletons Lake) is a high altitude glacial lake in the Uttarakhand state of India. It lies in the lap of Trishul massif and is famous for the hundreds of human skeletons found at the edge of the lake. The area is uninhabited, in the Himalayas at an altitude of 5,029 metres (16,499 feet). Surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow-clad mountains, the lake is a popular trekking destination.
A shallow lake, having a depth of about two metres, Roopkund has attracted attention because of the human skeletal remains that are visible at its bottom when the snow melts. Researchers have concluded that the skeletons are the remains of people killed in a sudden, violent hailstorm in the 9th century. Because of the human remains, the lake has been called Skeleton Lake in recent times
Trekking in Uttarakhand is popular not only in India but also all over world for the variety of treks it has to offer,from easy to difficult ones,gentle to steep climbs and diversified landscapes.
One of the popular treks of Uttarakhand is Roopkund trek.Offering you overwhelming scenic views.This trek comprises the best landscapes of the Great Majestic Himalayas.The vast and charming landscapes of the trek are so mesmerizing that you will fall in love with the nature.
The destination of the trek is Roopkund lake,a serene lake amidst the snow capped mountains of Himalayas, lies in the lap of Mt.Trishul at 16000 ft altitude,from where the beautiful peaks of Nandanghunta are also visible.But the charming place has a lot of mystery attached to it.
The Roopkund lake contains approximately 400-500 human skeletons which can be seen when the lake melts in summers.These skeletons are infact and didn't moulder at the high altitude of Roopkund.
Many stories based on many assumptions are being believed from years.Earlier beliefs are that it can be a result of a massive landslide or some rituals ending in mass suicide.But later,research of Indian and European scientists in 2004 found out a conclusion that there were two groups of people who lost their lives in a battle against each other.
Some British scholars found a story that the corpses are of Kashmiri troops who forgot their way back while returning from battle of Tibet in 19th century.Some historians believe that the corpses are of mughal army,which was unsuccessful while invading through Garhwal Himalayas.
So many assumptions and not a single definite conclusion,no one till date was able to demystify the history of Roopkund.Some opt for the trek to do research or find a conclusion while some others to experience the thrills related to it.
Mysterious yet so beautiful,Roopkund trek is a complete package of beauty and adventure with mysterious as its enhancing feature.It has lush green forests of Oak and Rhododendron, picturesque view of green meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal, breathtaking views of rocky, ice covered peaks of Mt.Trishul, Nandanghunta, Mt. Choukhamba peeping through the clouds.
If you opt for the trek in summers,then you will be able to get acquainted with mystery of Roopkund which comes in the top list of Mysteries of India.But the scenic location in between the magnificent lofty mountains will make you forget the spine chilling riddle of Roopkund.
Range : Chamoli, Uttarakhand
Days : 8 Days
Base Camp : Lohajung
Grade : Moderate to Difficult
Distance : Approx 76 km
Max Altitude : 15700 ft
Package : Rs 8500 per person
1. Ideal for beginners
Do the trek if you are a beginner and still want to experience high altitude.And make no mistake.Roopkund is a very high altitude trek.It climbs to 15,700 ft,which is higher than Mt.Blanc,Europe's highest summit! There are very few trails in our country that are as safe for beginners as the Roopkund trail is and yet climb to such a high altitude.
The trail is wide and well-laid-out.There is no chance to get lost or lose your way.Frankly,you don't need to take a guide on this trek if you follow the Roopkund blog.A guide comes in handy only when you have to traverse the snow patches on your final climb to Roopkund.
There are many unique things about the Roopkund trek.For example,the twin meadows of Ali Bugyal and Bedni are the largest high altitude meadows in our country.On your trek,you are going to be in the meadows for two and a half days - a fact that is missed by most.Two and a half days spent in meadows is a lot of time and unique to any trek in our country.Each of those hours spent in the meadows is going to be a treasured moment of your life for many years to come.
Mt.Trishul and Mt.Nanda Ghunti tower over Ali Bugyal-There are other things unique about the Roopkund trek.People talk about the oak forests above Wan.What most don't know is that these are the densest oak forests in this part of the country.Vertically,they stretch for over 3,000 ft.These protected forests are largely untouched by mankind.Each of the oak trees in the forest is over five hundred years old.
Mount Trishul,the first 7,000 metre summit to be climbed by man,is seen closest on the Roopkund trail.It towers over the trek from Day 2 until Day 5,getting closer as you approach Roopkund.When you stand on top of Junargali at 16,000 ft, 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.
3. Climb to Roopkund
Again,not all treks present such a magnificent adventure on snow as the Roopkund trek does on its final climb to Roopkund.The setting is truly alpine and the thrill,high.
Day 1 : Kathgodam to Lohajung
Day 2 : Lohajung to Didna Village
Day 3 : Didna Village to Ali Bugyal
Day 4 : Ali Bugyal to Patar Nachauni via Bedni Bugyal
Day 5 : Patar Nachauni to Bhagwabasa via Kalu Vinayak
Day 6 : Bhagwabasa to Roopkund to Patar Nachauni
Day 7 : Patar Nachauni to Lohajung via Wan
Day 8 : Lohajung to Kathgodam
Day 1 : Kathgodam to Lohajung
You can reach kathgodam through one of the most famous trains reaching the destination, which is the Ranikhet express.Once you reach here, you would start feeling a change in the entire atmosphere.The Roopkund trek has its starting point from here.The mystery lake trek would give you a remarkable experience you might just feel that you are living your dream.
Kathgodam is a small yet beautiful place.Once you reach kathgodam,You can travel easily to Lohajung through the roadway.The roads are narrow, with beautiful curves and would give a good view of the surrounding.The lush green beauty that travels along is amazing.
Day 2 : Lohajung to Didna Village
Just behind the bus stand in Lohajung, take the trail that takes you to Raun Bagad. It is a fairly marked trail that descends through mixed forests.It is a moderate trek and you would take around 2-2½ hrs to reach the Ruan Bagad, which is an iron bridge across the famous Neel Ganga river.There is also an alternative route to reach here from Lohajung which is through the road towards Wan.It is an easy 6km walk to Kulling Village where after there is a steep slope towards Ruan Bagad. You can opt for the latter, which is easy to travel but you would certainly miss on the beautiful mixed forests.Hereafter the climb to Didna starts once you cross the iron bridge.It is a difficult climb and you may get tired pretty soon.With a relatively tough time in the beginning, you would reach Didna in about and an hour and a half's time. You would have a great mountaineering experience all this while.
Day 3 : Didna Village to Ali Bugyal
To reach Ali Bugyal from Didna, there are two alternative routes.If you look in the direction of the valley, you would look at Tolpani which is a cluster of huts that belong to the shepherds.It is almost 3 kms away and 1000 feet high.From Tolpani,you take a trail that climbs to Tolkaan in the northern direction.The meadow trek goes through a series of switchbacks and grassy oak mountains.From Tolkaan,you take a sharp left towards the south and steer though the ridge to come out of the forest at Ali Bugyal.
The alternative route is to climb directly towards Ali Bugyal without going through Tolpani.You would certainly save on distance but it a relatively much steeper and tiring climb.It takes nearly two and a half hours to reach Ali Bugyal on this route.To enjoy the seductive views from Ali Bugyal, you need to reach there before afternoon.It is a great post monsoon trek as well as a pre monsoon trek.
The day 3 is however the day when you trek to Chang Ma.This might be a difficult trek and you may experience the joy of a snow trek.You would like to spend the night here and the overnight stay would be in tents in the open lands.
There is lot of flexibility in bus timings on this route. Different type of buses operate on this route like A/C Sleeper (2+1), Non A/C Sleeper, Volvo A/C Multi-Axle Semi-sleeper, Volvo A/C Multi-Axle Semi-sleeper. You have to check the availability of bus tickets for Kathgodam from city Delhi. Government and private buses run frequently between Delhi and Kathgodam.
To travel by train from Delhi to Kathgodam, check the train schedule and availability now. Board train from Delhi to Kathgodam, a journey of about 4 hours. Kathgodam is the nearest railway station.
If you prefer taking the road to reach Kathgodam from Delhi, you have to check the taxi guide. It will cost you INR 5 per kilometre, depending on the choice of your car. The toll tax should be paid separately by you.
Check availability of flights from Delhi to Kathgodam. There are direct flights available to Kathgodam from Delhi. Travel by flight takes about 1 hour. Several cab and taxi services are available outside the airport to travel from airport to other parts of Kathgodam. Pantnagar airport is the nearest airport near Kathgodam. It is about 27 kms from Pantnagar airport to Kathgodam.
A wide variety of bus operators with multiple bus types operate on this route including Volvo A/C Semi-sleeper (2+2), Volvo A/C Multi Axle Semi-sleeper (2+2), Volvo A/C -Multi Axle Semi-sleeper (2+2). Government and private buses run frequently between Dehradun and Kathgodam.
You have to check the train status, schedule, timetable and availability to reach Kathgodam from Dehradun. You will reach in 5 hours from Dehradun to Kathgodam by train. Kathgodam is the nearest railway station. Lot of interesting places come along the way Dehradun and Kathgodam like Haridwar Junction (52 kms), Najibabad Junction (121 kms), Rampur (246 kms), Rudrapur City (291 kms), Haldwani (329 kms).
Hire a taxi from Dehradun to Kathgodam to travel by road. It will cost you INR 5 per kilometre, depending on the choice of your car. The toll tax should be paid separately by you.
You have to find flights from Dehradun to Kathgodam, explore the availability and Book Flight tickets from Dehradun to Kathgodam. A number of flights fly directly between Dehradun to Kathgodam. It takes 1 hour to reach by flight. You can conveniently book prepaid cabs from the airport to reach your destination in Kathgodam. Pantnagar airport is the nearest airport near Kathgodam. It is about 27 kms from Pantnagar airport to Kathgodam.