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Roopkund Trek Uttarakhand

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8 Days
Availability : May - June
Dehradun, Uttarakhand
Tour Details

Region :- Uttarakhand
Duration :- 8 Days
Grade :- Moderate To Difficult
Max Altitude :- 15,696 Ft.
Approx Trekking Km :- 53 Kms.

Roopkund, in the state of Uttarakhand in India, is a famous glacial lake. This lake is famous due to more than five hundred skeletons of humans that are found at the edge of the lake. It is located in the Himalayas and rests at an altitude of nearly 4,800 meters. Roopkund is located in the Chamoli district of Garhwal. It is one of the best sites for trekking in Garhwal. It is closer to hill stations like Nainital and Kathgodam. At a distance of 217 km from Nainital and 235 km from Kathgodam, Roopkund is one of the major adventure attractions for people in the country and also for people who are travelling from abroad. Roopkund, which is located in the lap of Trishul massif is also known as the ‘mystery lake’. You can find human skeletons at the bank of the lake and it is believed that they belong to the Palaeolithic age.

These are believed to be the skeletons of the heroes who had fought here in the earlier times. Along with the skeletons of humans, you can also find skeletal structure of horses and other animals. There are reports that these skeletons belong to the 12th century to the 15th century. It is believed by specialists that the death of many people in this region was a result of landslides, blizzard or an epidemic. The human skeletons were re-discovered in 1942 by H K Madhwal, who was a Nanda Devi Game reserve ranger.

Later in 2004, a team of Indian scientists along with some Europeans visited the area to gain more information about the nature of the skeletons. On extensive research and findings, they found human skulls, bones and other jewellery. The DNA of the skeletons was taken, and it appeared that the people belonged to many classes and showed different features and morphological structure. There was a group of short people and tall people who were believed to be closely related to each other. Though the exact number of the skeletons cannot be ascertained, but a total number of around 500 hundred skeletons were found. It is also believed that an equal number of skeletons perished due to the natural environment.

The Radiocarbon dating of the skeletons at the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit determines the age of the skeletons to be somewhere around 850 AD. Later extensive research has been carried out in various parts of the country and the world. Many scientists are of the idea that the people did not die of an epidemic but due to sudden hailstorms. The hailstorms are supposed to be as big as the size of a cricket ball, and as there was no shelter in the open areas of the Himalayas, people might have come under its disastrous and direct effect. It is considered as one of the strongest reasons for the extinction of the natives of this area.

The cold and icy weather condition can be said to be the reason for the preservation of the skeletons for such a long time. The favourable weather conditions prevented the skeletons to decay off and decompose into soil. With landslides that were rampant in the area, many bodies slipped into the lakes and stayed there for a long time. The bodies that fell into the lake had a greater shelf-life as compared to the ones which remained in the open. However it is still not determined if this group of people lived here, or if they were heading towards a destination. Historical evidence of any trade route towards Tibet has not been established. Therefore it is hard to decipher the real purpose of the group of people that were victims to this natural calamity. There are possibilities that the group may be heading towards the Nanda Devi pilgrimage where Nanda Devi Raj Jat festivities take place once every 12 years.

Lohajung is the starting trekking point for Roopkund. The Roopkund trek can also be called Skeleton Trek due to the presence of different skeletons in and around the lake. The lake is surrounded by snow clad mountains and rock- strewn glaciers.

Trekking in India and choosing the Roopkund trek is an adventurous journey which passes through many exotic and beautiful locations. As you trek towards the lake, you would find lush green grassy land and conifer forest ranging towards the fall of hills. Thereafter the trek takes its way along the Pindar River. You can enjoy the natural and lush green beauty of the surroundings with the pleasant breeze that blows all around you, giving a soothing effect to your senses.

Roopkund is a picturesque, beautiful and attractive tourist destination in the Himalayas. Located at the base of two Himalayan peaks, Trishul and Nandghungti, it attracts people who have an adventurous side to life. There are religious festivals that take place in autumn, held at the alpine meadow of Bedni Bugyal, where the nearby villages participate. The lake is covered with ice all the time and it adds to its beauty. It is an enjoyable travelling destination as one is surrounded by mountains from all sides. Trekking in Uttarakhand also gives you the chance to trek the Himalayas. You can also go for the Nanda Rajjat Yatra.

There are many routes for a trek to Roopkund. One of the most common routes taken by travellers and adventurers is through Lohajung up to where you can travel by road. Trekking begins after this point. There are also some plains or flat areas where you can camp during the night. If the weather is not foggy, you can easily see Bedni Bugyal and Trishul. On your way to Roopkund, you would also find many grazing lands for horses, sheep and mules. You would come across a few temples and lakes on your journey. Many waterfalls are also visible on the slopes of the surrounding mountains. However, it should be kept in mind that the weather is generally hostile throughout the year and travellers need to be fully equipped and prepared for these conditions

Fixed Departures
Itinerary

Day 1Kathgodam to Lohajung

Altitude 7,662 ft.
Stay in guest house.
Drive 210 km (10 hrs drive).
Local market and network is available.
Pick up time 06:00 am at the parking of Kathgodham railway station.
Route:- Kathgodam – Bheem Tal – Almora – Kausani – Gwaldam – Dewal – Lohajung.

Day 2Lohargunj to Didna Village

Trek 6.5 km.
7,662 to 8,045 ft.
Reach Didna before lunch.
accommodation in village home stay.
No local market but Network is available.
Till ruan bagad bridge gradual descent (4.5 km).
Refill your water bottle at ruan bagad bridge from Neel Ganga river.
After ruan bagad bridge 2 hours of a steep ascent to Didna Village (2 km).

Day 3 Didna Village to Ali Bugyal

Trek 10.5 km.
8,045 to 11,320 ft.
Accommodation in tent.
Carry water and ors both.
Reach Ali Bugyal by late noon.
Keep your wind and waterproof handy.
Tolpani is the last point for drinking water.
First half of is through oak and rhododendron forest (Steep ascent).
Second half of the trek is through big alpine meadows (gradual ascent).

Day 4Ali Bugyal to Patar Nachauni via Bedni Bugyal and Ghora Lotani

Trek 7 km.
11,320 to 12,818 ft.
Easiest day of the trek.
Accommodation in tent.
Reach Patar Nachauni before lunch.
Ali Bugyal to Bedni Bugyal (gradual ascent 2 km).
Bedni Bugyal to Ghora Lotani (gradual ascent 4 km).
Ghora Lotani to Patar Nachauni (gradual descent 1 km).
Spend some time at Ghora Lotani good for acclimatization.
Ware proper clothing (this is the place where most of the trekkers get AMS).

Day 5Patar Nachauni to Bhagwabasa via Kalu Vinayak

Trek 4 km.
12,818 to 14,117 ft.
Accommodation in tent.
Reached Camp site by lunch.
Patar Nachauni to Kalu Vinayak Tempel .
(first 1 km is gradual ascent and rest 1.5 km is steep ascent).
Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabasa (gradual descent 1.5 km, become tricky in may and June ).
There will be snow on the trail in the month of may and jun and in sep and oct it will be a rocky trail.

Day 6Bhagwabasa to Roopkund to Patar Nachauni

Trek 10 km.
14,117 to 15755 ft.
Accommodation in tent.
Start your trek by 4:00 am.
Climb to Roopkund is 3 km.
Challenging day of the trek.
Carry energy bars, ors and water.
Breakfast will be at Roopkund top.
Reach Bhagwabasa back by lunch time.
Reach Patar Nachauni camp by evening.
In Aug, Sep, Oct can see skeleton but no snow.
In May and Jun snow will be there but can’t see the skeleton.

Day 7Patar Nachauni to Lohajung via Bedni and Wan

Trek 15 km.
12,818 to 7,662 ft.
Accommodation in guest house.
Patar Nachauni to Ghora Lotani (1 km gradual ascent).
Ghora Lotani to Bedni Bugyal ( 4 km gradual descent).
Bedni Bugyal to Doliya Dhar ( 0.5 km gradual walk).
Doliya Dhar to Ghaeroli Patal ( 3 km steep descent ).
Ghaeroli Patal to Neel Ganga ( 4 km steep descent ).
Neel Ganga to Ranka Dhar ( 1 km moderate ascent ).
Ranka Dhat to Wan Village road head ( 1.5 km gradual descent).
Wan Village to Loharjung ( 45 minutes drive, road condition is not good).
Route :- Patar Nachauni – Ghora Lotani – Bedni Bugyal – Doliya Dhar – Ghaeroli Patal – Neel Ganga – Ranka Dhar – Wan Village – drive to Lohajung.

Day 8Loharjung to Kathgodam

10 hrs drive.
Drive 210 km.
Reach Kathgodam by 6:00 pm.
On the way to Kathgodam at Kausani you can buy herbal tea and some souvenir.

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