Roopkund Trek The Mystery Lake:
Roopkund is one of the most beautiful and picturesque trekker’s destination of the Himalayan Kingdom. Nestled in between the ever vigilant Trishul and Nandaghunti, the Himalayan beauty is cuddled in the womb of the majestic Himalayas, at a height of over 5000 mtr. But the main attraction of the lake lies elsewhere. It carries in its depth, a mystery, which has intrigued the mind of thrill seekers of distant past and continues to do so even today. The lake achieved limelight ever since the discovery of hundreds of skeletons in and around the lake, in 1942, by a Forest ranger, H K Madhwal. Where did the skeletons come from? Carbon dating places them at around 12th century. There structure quite different from the aborigines of the area. Was it a royal pilgrimage or remnants of a vanquished army? Or is it some ghastly incident of a mass ritualistic suicide? Though without proper historical facts, the local ballads sing of a story, which is quite enthralling itself.
Roopkund Trek or The mystery lake trek is one of the most famous trek in uttarakhand and is a quentissential trek for every trekker who is passionate about trekking in the himalayas. The roopkund trek is full of mystery and adventure. With beautiful himalayan peaks at every step along with the mystery element of the hundreds of skeletons found in and around the lake, attracts many trekkers for this one of a kind himalayan trek.
We are awarded with the views of different landscapes everyday. views of snow capped himlayan mountains, like Trishul, Nanda Ghungti, Choukhamba, Banderpoonch and many other welcomes the trekker at every turn. Vastness of the ali bugiyal captivates the beholders and makes Roopkund trek, one of the most sought after treks in India.The trek also known as the “Mysterious skeleton lake “or simply “the skeleton lake”, atracts trekkers from all over the world and makes it the most famous destination for trekking in Uttarakhand.
The mystery lake trek can be quite taxing and is rated as a moderate trek. Its mostly a summer trek, and the route remains open from april to june and sep to november. A preparation of about a month is advisable before attempting the trek,especially for amateur trekkers and if he has no prior high altitude trekking experience. Having a highest altitude of above 15,000 feet, Roopkund trek can be difficult for someone with no experience of trekking in himalayas. Inspite of the moderate difficulty, the roopkund trek is still a much sought after trek in iIndia, for its beautiful and varied landscapes. An experience of a life time, away from the emails, phone calls, daily tasks, the deep virgin Rhodedendron and Oak forests, gurgling brooks, breath-taking campsites, and miles of undulating meadows, snow and ice, and the taste of a great adventure as one climbs from 8,000 ft to 16,000 ft.
1. Backpack (45-55 L) with sturdy straps and supporting frame.
2. Knap pack (20L) optional
3. Trekking shoes – no sports shoes. (With Rubber Sole, high ankle)
4. 3 trek pants
5. 4 tees with collar
6. Full sleeves sweater (not too thick).
7. A full sleeves fleece jacket.
8. A full sleeve thick jacket or something similar.
9. 1 pair of thermal inners (optional)
10. Sports socks.
11. Woolen monkey cap
12. Wind cheater Or a light rain coat/poncho.
13. Woolen hand gloves + synthetic glove (water proof).
14. Sun glasses (polarized or UV protected)
16. Cold cream & sun screen lotion (SPF 40+).
17. Lip balm.
18. Carry 2 Water bottles (1 L each).
19. Personal toilet kit and toilet papers
20. Personal medicine kit
a. Coca 30 – 30 ml
b. Crocin – 6 tablets
c. Avomine – 4 tablets
d. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets
e. Combiflam – 4 tablets
f. Disprin – 6 tablets
g. Norflox TZ– 6 tablets
h. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
i.Band aid – 10 strips
j. Eno – 6 Satches
k. Cotton – 1 small roll
l. ORS – 5 packets
m. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
n. Volini Spray(small)
21. Small repair kit consisting of safety pins, needle, thread and string
22. LED Torch with 2 extra set of cells.
23. Camera, memory-cards, batteries etc (carry enough spare batteries. Electricity is not available on the slopes or at the base camp)
24. While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags.
25. Trekking pole/Stick is mandatory.
26. Carry lots of dry fruits, chocolates combinations as snacks. Chewing gums
27. Travel coffee mug n plate
28. Soap Strip
29. One Candle , lighter
Why roopkund is most wanted trek of India?
Nestled in a saddle between the two Himalayan peaks , Trishul (7,120 m) and Nandaghunti (6,310 m), Roopkund is one of the most sought after treks in India. With its deep and dense forests of oak and pine, vast green meadows, and some thrilling snow climbs, the trek to this picturesque lake is quintessential to all wayfarers. Situated at a height of 5,029 meters this tranquil lake belongs to the Garhwal Himalayas situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Tucked into the remote corners of the Himalayas, the lake also holds a mystery that has intrigued generations of myth busters. Roopkund also known as the "skeletal Lake" or the "Mystery Lake" , had been the center of attraction ever since the discovery of hundreds of skeletons , in and around the lake.
Roopkund derives its name from the local folklore which describes it as the vanity mirror of the local deity, Nanda Devi. Its deep virgin forests, gurgling brooks, breath-taking campsites, miles of undulating meadows, snow and ice and the adventurous climb from 8000ft to 16000 ft truly makes this trek, a truly desirable one.
Why Bedni Bugiyal is the best camp site?
One of the most beautiful alpine meadows, Bedni Bugyal is situated at a height of 3354 m above sea level. It offers the best view of the mighty Trishul (7,124 m). Virgin meadows greets the visitor, beyond the horizon. The serene Vaitarani Lake also known as the Bedni Kund is home to the rare Brahma Kamal flower. Scenic mountains, , deep valleys, and lofty peaks, offers the most memorable sunrise and sunsets. With the enormous western flank of the Trishul and Nanda Ghunti overlooking it, Bedni Bugiyal is surely a heaven on earth.
What is Ali Bugiyal?
Auli bugiyal, also known as "heavenly terrace", is one of the largest bugiyals in India. Constricted by the coniferous forests of oak and deodhar, auli bugiyal dress up its blossom, after the melt of snow in april-may. It lies in a elavation range of 2500-3000 metres, and is in the backdrop of, Nanda Devi, Kamet,Mana Parvat, Dunagiri mountain, Hati parvat, Bethantoli and Ghora parvat peaks of The Himalayas.. It also offers the mesmerising sunset views.
How difficult the trek is?
Roopkund is a quite high altitude trek. It climbs to 15,700 feet, which is higher than Mt Blanc, Europe's highest summit. Though the trek can be rated as moderate to challenging, there are very few trails in our country, which is as safe as Roopkund trail for beginners, and still climb to such a high altitude. The high altitude sometimes affects causing AMS; however our trained leaders and guides are well qualified to handle such situations and take care. If one prepares himself with physical activity for at least a month before this trek, it would not be so much difficult to trek this trail.
What is the average temp?
Day: 13° to 20°C. Night: 2° to 7°C. Temp at highest camp, Bhagwabasa: Day 3°C to 10°C. Night: 3° to -10°C.
When can I find snow?
Roopkund Lake is covered with ice for most of the time during the year.
What is the difficult part of this trek?
Difficult part of this trek is the weather, which is unpredictable and makes the trek challenging. But our guide would help you to understand the weather and decide on the proper course of action. Sometimes due to snow level it becomes difficult to walk and the trail becomes slippery, however use of crampon solves that.
Is trekkers hut available other than tents?
Trekkers huts are few in numbers, a prior booking might be necessary
- Day 1: Kathgodam to Dewal
- Day 2: Dewal to Didna
- Day 3: Didna to Ali bugiyal
- Day 4: Ali Bugiyal to Pathar Nachauni
- Day 5: Pathar Nachauni to Baguabasa
- Day 6: Baguabasa to Roopkund back to Bedni Bugiyal
- Day 7: Bedni Bugiyal to Wan
- Day 8: Wan to Kathgodam
Includes and Excludes
- • Transport from Kathgodam to Kathgodam
- • All necessary permits
- • Accommodation (trekkers hut, Home stay, camps, Tents)
- • Food while on trek (Veg. And Non Veg)
- • Trek Leader, Guide and Support staff.
- • First Aid.
- • Personal equipments : Sleeping bag, Sleeping mat
- • Insurance.
- • Entry fees
- • Food during the transit.
- • Any kind of personal expenses.
- • Personal equipments : AXE, Trekking Pole, Crampon,
- • Mules or porter to carry personal luggage.
- • Anything not specifically mentioned.
THE HISTORY OF ROOPKUND:
The story begins with the birth of, Nanda Devi the radiant progeny of the “Chanda” dynasty, in the Kumaon kingdom. As she came of age, the plaudits for her beauty and grace, travelled far and wide. Captivated by her, a king of “Rohilla” a tiny kingdom sent an ambassador to the Kumaon kingdom, seeking the kings blessing for the hand of her daughter. Angered by the audacity, the King of the Kumaon ousted the ambassador. The young King of Rohilla, aggrieved by the insult, attacked and subsequently defeated the Kumaon kingdom. Meanwhile, Nanda Devi, unknown to all, had already started for the Himalayas. Once there she immersed herself in rigorous penances. Pleased by her austracities, Lord Shiva accepted her as his bride. The alpine peak, which came to be Nanda’s abode, is the Nanda Ghunti. And the place of Nanda’s penance came to be known as “Nanda Kot” Finally, the divine weapon, vigilant at the entrance of “Nanda Ghunti”, The “Trishul”.
When men and women of flesh and blood, achieve immense feats, they become legends. And with time legends become gods. Nanda Devi was no different. She became the revered deity of the entire north India and the Himalayan kingdom. The kings of the “chanda” and the “katturi” dynasties, who were ardent followers of Nanda Devi, erected many temples in her name, in the Garhwal-Kumaon regions. The devotees of Nanda Devi celebrated The Nanda Devi Jat every year in the Nanda Devi temples spread across Garhwal and Kumaon. The festival commenced on the day earmarked for the Devi’s visit to her maika or parents’ home and culminates with the return to her husband’s home. The Choti Jat Yatra was celebrated at the end of August or early September, starting from Wan and ending at Bedini Bugiyal. Later in the 15th century AD, king Shesh pal of Chandragarhi combined all the Jats into one royal pilgrimage and started celebrating the farewell journey once in 12 years. Shesh Pal added the word “Raj (royal) in Nanda Jat” and announced the participation of royal family and royal priest in the journey. He instructed priests and patrons associated with this ancient tradition to assemble and put their heads together to draw a time schedule for the retinue to reach the scheduled spots on specific auspicious dates. The objective was to reach Homkund on Nandashtami, falling sometime around August - September and Kulsari on the succeeding new moon for performing special rituals related to worshipping of the Goddess. After performing special worship of the other Goddesses-Bhumial Devi (Goddess Earth). Utrai Devi and Archan Devi - all popular deities of the region, he preserved a meticulous record of the Yatra programme to escort Goddess Nanda to her in-law's place after every 12 years. He entrusted his royal priests residing at Nauti the responsibility to execute the Jat with the help of royal patronage and local people. The king also authorized his younger brother settled in the nearby village of Kansava to represent the royal house in this Yatra and help the priest perform all rites and rituals connected with this event. Mean while the Head priest, dreamt of a four horned ram, which will be born in a Kumaon village, and would guide the entourage to Lord Shiva’s home at the base of Trishul. Upon finding the auspicious ram, it was handed over to the head priest along with a specially made umbrella namely ”Ringol-Ki-Chatoli” which would be used to cover the palanquin of Nanda Devi, which housed an idol made of gold. Hence the journey started. The image of the Goddess and offerings are taken in a procession, accompanied by bare footed devotees. The followers observe self-control. Partaking of food prepared according to prescribed religious instructions only and participates in fervent rendition of devotional songs and dances.
Mystery Beyond The Skeleton Lake:
The story of Jasodawal.
Jasodawal was the king of Kannauj. His queen, Ballavah, who was from the Garhwal region, was a fervid devotee of Nanda Devi. For some reason the goddess got enraged with Ballavah, and as a result tumultuous misfortune befell the kingdom. With drought, famines and epidemics raging through the kingdom, the king sought out the help of the royal priests, who suggested the king partake in the “Raj Jat” in order to please the Goddess. The journey which was supposed to be done in immense sincerity and penance turned to merriment in the hands of Jasodawal. Instead of treading barefoot, he wore shoes. Instead of reverence and fasting he engaged in debauchery and gluttony. Even the royal dancers were for entertainment. This angered the deity so much that she turned the dancers to stone, forging the everlasting name “Pathar Nachuni” to the place, which is still present to date. In spite of these the journey continued. On reaching the shores of Roopkund, the entourage camped for the night. But the final straw was drawn, when queen Ballavah, who was pregnant, delivered a child, which was strictly forbidden while on “Raj Jat”. The Goddess was so enraged at the outsiders defiling her mountain sanctuary, that she rained death upon them by flinging hailstones as hard as irons. The party wee no place to flee and there remains, still lie on the shores and in the depth of Roopkund.
The immediate assumption (it being war time) was that these were the remains of Japanese soldiers who had died of exposure while sneaking through India. The British government, terrified of a Japanese land invasion, sent a team of investigators to determine if this was true. However upon examination they realized these bones were not from Japanese soldiers as they weren't fresh enough. Some British explorers to Roopkund and many scholars attribute the bones to General Zorawar Singh of Kashmir, and his men, who are said to have lost their way and perished in the high Himalayas on their return journey after the Battle of Tibet in 1841. Many historians linked the corpses to an unsuccessful attack by Mohammad Tughlak on the Garhwal Himalaya. Still others believed that the remains were of those of victims of an unknown epidemic. Some anthropologists also put forward a theory of ritualistic suicide. But no one was able to provide any confirmed fact. For decades no light could be shed on the mystery.
However, a 2004 expedition to the site seems to have finally revealed the mystery of what caused those people's deaths. The answer was stranger than anyone had guessed.
As it turns out, all the bodies date to around 850 AD. DNA evidence indicates that there were two distinct groups of people, one a family or tribe of closely related individuals, and a second smaller, shorter group of locals, likely hired as porters and guides. Rings, spears, leather shoes, and bamboo staves were found, leading experts to believe that the group was comprised of pilgrims heading through the valley with the help of the locals.
All the bodies had died in a similar way, from blows to the head. However, the short deep cracks in the skulls appeared to be the result not of weapons, but rather of something rounded. The bodies also only had wounds on their heads, and shoulders as if the blows had all come from directly above. As if hit by some massive hail stones. So is the legend of Nanda Devi true. Was Jasodawal really the cursed king? It’s a mystery which still remains unanswered.
Pant Guest House, Debal, Chamoli
Uttarakhand, India, Pin: 246427
Bankra, Dakhinpally Howrah, Pin : 711 403
West Bengal, India
Himanshu from Mumbai writes:
"Totally chilled out and fun people with good enough experience to guide you through those tricky heights at the same time giving you your space. Expect great food plans, fun and a lot of warmth. Good people to trek with!"
Pradip Malakar from Mumbai writes:
"The best days of my life is when i am in the mountains.Wetrekkers made my roopkund trek even more memorable.Their hospitality and support is there USP.They make things so comfortable and fun that the entire experience just stays with you forever i had an wonderful experience with wetrekkers.i am always ever to go for treks with them."
Sandeep from Odisha writes:
"While on the way somewhere i read " Take nothing but memories, Leave nothing but footprints", which literally happend to me. Roopkund was my first trek.I can still feel my first step on snow and the immense impression of the alluring valley over powered my nerves,brains and heart. I never realized this trek with wetrekkers would actually change the way of my life. My team was an extraordinary one. Congratulations "team wetrekkers" for such well management, awesome food surprises and specially the 'on the tent lantern arrangement' (which was my favorite), i loved it. loads of thanks."
Manti from Bangalore writes:
"This time it was the most awaited "the mystery lake", and as always a great idea to go with wetrekkers, i decieded to pack my bags again. Thanks a million tons, Its was almost impossible to reach the Junargali Top but the Team, the trek leader and the crew members made it possible. There were other individual n different company's team too, on return could learn that many couldnt make it to the distinct Junargali top, I felt it so right to choose wetrekkers as my trek partners."
A/C Name : Wetrekkers
Current A/C No : 916020035442426
Branch Code : 2013
IFSC Code : UTIB0002013
Branch Address : 31/7 Ramcharan Seth Road,
Howrah - 711 104