Sunday, October 21, 2012

Roopkund Trek (15,500 ft)

Roopkund Trek - 49 hours of madness..!!!

Roopkund is mystery lake at the height of 15,500 ft and this is one of the most scenic, mysterious trek in Garhwal himalaya. We get to see some human skeleton around this lake. Whose skeleton is this? What is the story behind it?

                                  [Myself at Roopkund]

49 hours of madness, mystery, skeleton and in addition to that above picture, I know your mind is bouncing up and down thinking what is this place?

Without stretching your excitement much, Lets begin the journey....

My base camp was at Lohajung (8,600 ft). Kundan Singh one of the most experienced and informative person was my guide. The most humble and helpful person Narendra was my trek manager and he was responsible for arranging camp and food as per our plan. Myself and Kundan packed our sacks with required things and started trek around 8:40 am on 30 September with full of energy and enthusiasm. I was really excited to meet my mountain God once again. We started talking with each other, just to get comfortableness with each other.

"Kundan ji, why this place is called as lohajung?"
He gave really interesting answer. He said, "Its believed that Godess Durga had killed demon loha at this place that's why its called as lohajung."

Our target was to reach Didina before lunch. We followed road that lead to Wan till kulling village. It was easy walk of 6 km and kind of warm up for getting ready for further difficulties. Kulling is very small village with few houses and people over here uses this stepped hill land for agriculture purpose. They take crop of "ramdana" and "Rajma". Each field has its own colour because of crop, so all together it looked like chess board.

                         [Kulling village with ramdana and rajma fields.]

We picked up one of trail in kulling and started descending down. It was really nice experience to walk in ramdana fields. I was following Kundan but little upset as we were loosing altitude and I was aware that this means once we reach down we have to climb another valley. After fully descending down that trail we reached at the bottom of valley and I got first glimpse of Neel Ganga river. I felt serene in this river. I drank lot of water and spent some time in water.
Kundan mentioned that its called Neel Ganga because its water is bluish in colour. Little greener land on the bank of bank of this river over here is known as Raung Bagad.

                         [Neel Ganga River.]

We crossed Neel Ganaga and started ascending for Didina. It was not much difficult climb but because of heat we were sweating a lot. I was climbing and enjoying myself while taking some photos. Whenever I used to take photo it was break of 10-15 seconds from climbing but that itself was enough for catching my breath. Finally around 12:15 pm we reached Didina. Here Narendra had arranged lunch for us in one home. We just went there became fresh and had lunch.


We took rest for 15 mins after having lunch at Didina and started further trek. Now our next target was Ali Bugyal which is around at the height of 11,000 ft.
We had to cross Tolpani forest on the way.

"We need to reach at Ali Bugyal well in time, else if weather gets bad we will be in trouble"...Kundan warned me in nice words.
"Yes Kundanji, lets start.."...I replied him with smile and we started our climb.

Tolpani is very dense forest of oak tree's and climb is also very steep and strenuous. It was kind of hot afternoon but we didn't felt much because of dense forest. Oak tree's in this forest are very very old. For the first time in Himalaya I was going through such a dense forest. Trail through forest was full of brown leaves which was giving feeling of walking over brown carpet.

                         [Tolpani Forest, you can see How old tree's are.]

It was almost 5:45 pm in the evening I was completely tired because of strenuous climb of Tolpani and suddenly I entered into totally different world. Jungle finished and there was miles of green carpet in front of me. It was drizzling a bit but I was not bothered. God welcome me into meadow with rainbow. Whatever I was seeing was out of the world. First time in India, I was seeing such big meadow and that too at 11,000 ft. I had entered into the heaven but instead of apsara's Kundan was with me.

Kundan said, "You are lucky, weather is Good today."
"Yes, I am lucky. God gave me opportunity to see this, feel this."

It was totally mesmerizing view. Sun was about to set. It was great play of sun rays, clouds and mountains. Some part of mountains was covered with clouds and sun rays were struggling to reach down, where as meadow and some mountains were looking golden because of sun set rays. I knelt down and felt that grass. dew drops on the grass were shining like Perl. I tried to collect them for someone special but couldn't get them. So I closed eyes and gave from there itself. All the snow capped mountains were looking Gold. I spent lot of time while crossing this Ali Bugyal enjoying this heavenly beauty.

                         [Rainbow welcomed me into Ali Bugyal.]

 [Look at nature's play. Cloud had blocked sun from all the direction but some rays able to crack it which created such a beautiful scene.]

                         [Myself at Ali Bugyal.]

                         [Golden snow capped mountains.]

Slowly we crossed this Ali bugyal and reached to Bedni Bugyal camp(11,500ft) around 7:30 pm. Narendra had already arranged my tent and cook was waiting for me with hot cup of tea. I was completely tired after climb of 10 hours and 45 mins. Also I had gained more than 3500 ft today. I went into my tent and jumped into sleeping bag to get rid of cold. I was resting and cook came with soup. I found him like a God. It was much required thing for me at that time. After dinner I wanted to sleep immediately but it was full moon night and that full moon pulled me out of sleeping bag. I came out of tent and spent some time enjoying that twilight period.

Full moon makes me really mad and I got lost with someone special. I imagined How about sitting on one of this cloud and roaming around these mountains in such a romantic full moon night. How wonderful it will be...!!!

I was totally lost in my world and suddenly I realized Kundan is calling me.

"Sir, lets plan for tomorrow."
"Sir, tomorrow is going to be very hectic and crucial day. We need to cover lot of distance, gain height, complete summit and came back to this camp. Lets start at 4am."
"Yes, no problem."
"Sir, Are you fit? Your showing lot of courage."
"I am absolutely fine. Dont worry."

We moved into our sleeping bags, I immediately felt asleep and got lost in dreams with full moon.


We woke up around 3:45 am in the morning. I got fresh and packed my sack, meantime Kundan got me tea from Kitchen tent. We started our trek around 4:30 am. Now next target was Bhagwabasa which is at the height of 14,500 ft. It was still night but no torch was required becasue of full moon and we were enjoying moonlight walk. we crossed Bedni kund and started for Ghora Lotani pass. Its called Ghora Lotani because horses don't go beyond that point. Around 7 am we reach Ghora Lotani and by that time sunrise had started.

Horizon was getting filled with sun rays. But even moon light was not giving up. It was fight between sun rays and moonlight. During initial period of sunrise it was great experience to observe this fight.

[Bedni Kund from Ghora Lotani. I hope your able to see fight between moonlight and sun rays. Bedni kund is origin of Neel Ganga River.]

                          [Mountains at sunrise.]

Slowly sun rays conquered over moon light and entire horizon got filled with sun rays.

                         [Sun rays filling all the valley.]

We started moving from Gohra Lautani to Patal Nachauni which is at around 13,000 ft. I was enjoying early morning sun rays and walking bit fast so we reached Patal Nachauni around 7:45 am. we took some rest over there and ate some biscuits.

I was bit surprised with name so asked Kundan, "why this place is called Patal Nachauni?"

He said, "Its related to story of king Yashodhan. Once upon a time there was King Yashodhan. Every year king Yashodan used to go to Homkund for pooja. while going over there in one of the year he had camped at this place. As a king he had habit of watching dance of beautiful ladies. So while camping over here he was doing the same activity which affected divinity of this place. Because of this Godess Durga got angried and mountain got split, all the beautiful ladies got buried under mountain that’s why its Patal Nachauni."

"What happened to king? What is the further story?"....I was eager to know story.
"I will tell you further story at Roopkund after summit, lets move now"...Kundan replied.

[Patal Nachauni, you can see that place where mountain was split. ]

We picked up our sack and started climbing. Now next target was Kalu Vinayak which is at the height of 14,500 ft. This climb was really really stiff and also high altitude was playing its effect. I had not given enough time for my body to get acclimatized but still I was able to manage that climb.

Kundan was asking me at regular intervals, "Are you fine sir?"
"Yes, I am"...I used to reply in relaxed tone.

Finally around 9 am we reached at "Kalu Vinayak" and Kundan performed pooja for summit.

                          [Kalu Vinayak.]

We walked towards our camp at Bhagwabasa. We reached in camp around 9:30 am. Narendra had already arranged breakfast for us over here. We had breakfast and got ready for summit. We kept our sack at camp. Just took some dry ration in small sack and started for summit attempt around 10 am. Now target was Roopund summit at 15,500 ft.

After some initial climb, difficult rocky terrain started. Some times I was running out of breath. Kundan was looking at me at regular intervals, confirming I am fine. Climb was little difficult and my body was completely tired because of continuous hard work but mentally I was totally determined that was my real power. after crossing 15,000 ft it become more difficult but I was just concentrating on my climb. I remembered all my loved ones and started moving further. Finally after hard work of 2 hours we reached Roopkund at 12:15 pm.

"Yes, I have done it"....I was extremely happy.

There was little water in lake and I could see human skeleton around it. I also saw some long hairs, some leather floater.

"Kundan, from where all these things came? whose skeleton is this?"

He smiled and said now I can tell you further story, "So King Yashodhan further came till here from patal Nauchani. But when he was passing through this place avalanche(storm of snow) came. Half of his soldiers got buried under snow. No one knows what happened to king. But you know over the period of time mountain changes, so mountain got changed and some of the buried bodies got exposed. Slowly those bodies disintegrated and now only skeletons can be seen. These leather floaters are of those people. Still lot of things are buried under this mountain."

                          [Skeleton's at Roopkund.]

I was Happy because finally mystery was opened.
I took some photographs. We though of going to Junar Gali which is at the height of 16,000 ft, highest point of this mountain. We slowly climbed Junar gali through ice and reached over there around 1:15 pm. We could see lot of mountains like Trishul, Nanda gomati from there. It was really great view. I felt it, stored it into my heart. Enjoyed the divinity of that place.

[Myself at Junar Gali. Small Trishul on right side is indication of Junar Gali and at the back you can see mighty mountain Trishul. ]

Ecstasy of summit, rejuvenated me. All the tiredness ran away. I felt as if just now I have started the trek. We descended very fast and reached Bhagwabasa camp around 2:15 pm. Cook were waiting for us with nice lunch. Everyone was Happy because of our summit. After lunch we took little rest and started descending down for Bedni camp around 4:30 pm. On way back I spotted Tarad (Animal found in Garhwal Himalaya.)


We reached Ghora Lotani around 6 pm, by that time it was completely dark and still lot of distance was supposed to be covered. Kundan mentioned that moon wont come out early because of mountain. I decided to take experience of night trekking in Himalaya and not to switch on torch. Kundan agreed and we kept on walking without torch. I was just able to see his white shoes from behind and I was following him. Around 7:45 pm, we reached bedani camp and cook were really Happy.

He said, "Sir, you did it...!!!"
"Yes, I did it."

I was really happy but completely tired. Today I had climbed for 15 hours and 15 mins. I had climbed from 11,500 ft to 16,000 ft and descended the same. I am not able to express my feelings. I was sipping hot tea in my tent and was completely emotional because of my achievement. After dinner, sleeping bag was looking like bed of flowers for me and went to sleep immediately.


Next day morning we woke at 5:45 am. I had Maggie and tea. We started descending down to wan around 6:30 am. We reached wan around 9 am. Narendra was waiting over there to welcome us.

He said, "I am feeling really nice to meet person like you. you completed 5 days trek in just 48 hours."

I was really Happy because of whatever I had done. I just smiled and thanked him for all his service.

We got into one car and reached Lohajung around 9:45 am.
Finally kundan said, "Sir, hats off to your courage. nice to see trekker like you. I found you like my fellow trekker."

I was completely emotional because of my achievement and just thanked him. I would just say this journey as "49 hours of madness..!!!" I wanted to test body against acclimatization and its capacity of hard work. It was very severe test but I survived successfully and nothing went wrong.

I always believe that its mountain which decides whether we should climb them or not. Whatever I did was because of grace Mountain God. I thank God for everything and started my return journey with memories of life time...!!!




  1. Sandy again i went through ur blog on roopkund to get best info abt roopkund.
    But tell u buddy while reading I felt I was also climbing with u and at point Whr ur trek got over emotion also ran through my boddy.
    Next time let us concore some peak together.