About Roopkund trek
A high-altitude glacial lake in the Indian Garhwal Himalayas, Roopkund lies at the base of the Trishul massif, at an altitude of 5029 m. The lake is famous for the human skeletal remains visible at its bottom when the ice melts. For this reason, it is also called the Skeleton lake. The lake itself is pretty shallow, with a depth of about 2 meters, and is covered with ice for most of the year.
The skeletons at the bottom of the lake date back to the 9th century AD. There are many theories as to the origin of these skeletons, visible for a one month period when the ice melts away. The most popular theory is that a group of travellers got trapped there due to a hail storm, and the entire group did not make it out. Though the actual number of skeletons is uncertain, it has been estimated that over 300 people perished in the hail storm.
It is a very remote region with very few, if any, settlements. The surrounding area consists of beautiful mountain ranges and frozen glaciers, making it a worthwhile journey for hardy trekkers. The lake lies at the base of two Himalayan giants: the Trisul at 7120 m and the Nanda Ghunti at 6310 m. The nearby Bedni Bugyan meadow is famous for an autumn festival where hundreds of people from surrounding villages gather. The Nanda Devi Raj Jat is another famous festival that takes place once every 12 years.
After a scenic drive from Kathgodam, you reach Lohajung. Starting at Lohajung, a small mountain pass at 2500 m, you then begin your ascent along the trail, passing through lush virgin forests with rivers gushing below you. Your guides will show you to good campsites where you’ll spend the night under the beautiful stars in the clear sky. The trail takes you through thick rhododendron forests that make the whole trail come alive with their fiery red hue. Along the trail, you will see several species of birds -- thrushes, swallows, fork-tailed Himalayan magpies and yellow-throated martens being the major ones. Lammergeiers, with their massive wings, always seem to be following you from below.
The trek to Roopkund is extremely exciting with the beautiful Himalayas watching your every turn. Trekkers camp during the night at various flat plains in the region, where one can see large grazing grounds for mules and horses. A couple of Hindu temples and a smaller lake add to the beauty of the path.
A delightful part of the journey is the Bedni Bugyal bridge from which one can see several surrounding Himalayan peaks. Once past the bridge, after a few hours of climbing, trekkers then reach Bhagwabasa, a place with beautiful views of the Himalayas that somewhat extenuates its unpredictable weather. After a gruelling climb from Bhagwabasa, you finally reach the Roopkund lake, a gem in the Himalayas.
The below is a sample itinerary. It may vary slightly depending on the final trekking agency you choose to go with:
Day 1: Drive from Kahgodam to Lohajung
Day 2: Lohajung to Didna Village
Day 3: Didna Village to Ali Bugyal
Day 4: Ali Bugyal to Ghora Lotani
Day 5: Ghora Lotani to Bhagwabasa
Day 6: Bhagwabasa to Roopkund lake to Bedni Bugyal
Day 7: Bedni Bugyal to Lohajun
Day 8: Lohajun to Kathgodam