Every 12 year a four-horned ram leads hundreds of devotees to this place littered with human remains.What then differentiates Roopkund from an eeriest of place out of Bam Stroker’s imagination is the striking beauty of the backdrop.Standing at 5029 mts,Roopkund has Trishul and Nandaghunti in arresting proximity.
Day 0 : Good evening sir..guide chahiye?
The base of the trek Lohajung can be approached by two ways: via Haridwar or via Gwaldam.It is a town that thrives on adventure tourism and so it is not difficult to manage accommodation, supplies and guides and porters. Take a round of the town in your regular trekker outfit and bingo you have all things ready. A very helpful addition to the services you can avail here is that now you can get good quality trekking gear on rent from Lohajung itself.
Day 1 :
Led by a first time guide we started our trek to Didina rather late at 8:30 as the porters had not been finalised. Like the guide , the porters too were first timers and I was strangely surprised to see them well educated and belonging to well to do family. The trek starts with a downwards journey to the bank of a river which is last source of water before Didina. The gradient becomes tougher thereafter and is compounded by the fact that there is nothing special about the views. We reached Didina at around 1.If on a tight schedule, Bedni can be reached in a single day as we did in our last trip but this time we decided to give the stops time they deserved.You are not alone in the campsite as there are some shepherd huts and villagers collecting jhoola ( fungus found in kharsu trees used in making spices) can be found.It is the last stop where you can enjoy luxury of fire and we didn’t miss out on it.Surrounded by Kharsu trees and awashed by moonlight we sat around the fire , listening to anecdotes which our guide and porters were competing to tell.Surreal surroundings exalted the spirits. The amazing trek had begun on a perfect note.
Day 2: Upar pahuch ke sari thakan mit jayegi sir
We began the tough climb to Ali at around 8. The route to Ali is a treacherous climb through thick Kharsu forest with heavy undergrowth.The end of climb also marks end of tree line and presents the very picturesque Ali Bugyal. Miles upon miles of impeccable green bugyal is a sight beautiful beyond imagination.The view is made more dramatic by Nanda ghunti looming large at the horizon.The long walk to Bedni is through the lush green buggi grass of Ali which has magical effect of making you less tired by each step.
Bedni is one of the most pleasant campsites. Situated at around 3500 mts it is the largest Bugyal in Asia and is a major stop in Nanda Rajjat yatra evidence of which can be seen in form of some bland establishments which distort otherwise perfect landscape. Bedni kund , dry during the summers is centre of activities during the yatra and it is said the reflection of trishul on it is a site to behold.
We reached Bedni at around 3 after having spent considerable time enjoying in Ali.You are almost sure to find some groups camped in the campsite near the stream.There is now a tea shop in Bedni which can also replenish your supplies. Bedni is a wonderful place to spend a lazy evening.We wandered about watching exuberant horses galloping with unrestrained spirits.There is an amazing sense of calm which can only be attributed to such vicinity of the great Himalayan peaks. In the evening the relentless clouds finally dispersed giving way to Trisul peak to majestically dominate the panorama.As the temperature dipped below comfortable levels we took refuge in our sleeping bags and brought perfect day of trek to an end.
Day 3 : Sir apko Pathar Nachauni ki story pata hai?
We started our trek to Pathar Nachauni and Baghubasa in an overcast morning. Pathar Nachoni is around 5 kms form Bedni half of which is uphill and half downhill. Many trekkers prefer to halt for the day at Pathar Nachoni so that they can start tough climb to kalu Vinayak afresh.Legend has it that the fateful King who was on a pilgrimage to Roopkund brought with him dancers to utter vexation of Goddes Nanda.The female dancers were turned to stone by the Goddess as a punishment for not heeding to her laws.The place where the dancers turned to stone is known as Pathar Nachauni. There are many different theories and legends surrounding the whole place and dont be surprised if your guide totally rejects this theory in favour of a completely new one but equally interesting.
There is now a fibre hut in Pathar Nachanu which can be booked at Bedni and provides very comfortable accomodation. We however opted to trek to Bagubasa and started the climb to Kalu vinayak. Uphill route to Kalu Vinayak is a daunting task and leaves you panting towards the end. The ridge also serves to save the Pathar Nachuni side from the winds from which there is norespite once you cross the ridge. As the name suggests there is a small Ganehsa statue of black granite at Kalu Vinayak. All the groups announce their arrival by blowing the shankh which was in in itself a challange to us. A quick tutorial by our guide helped us do our part and pray for safe return. all the peaks were completely obscured by the clouds by then it started to snow pretty heavily once we started towards Bagubasa. We reached Bagubasa in a very inclement weather with visibility limited to less than couple of metres. The weather didnt allow us to look for a suitable camping ground and we hastily erected our tent in a cavelike structure just before Baghubasa campsite.
Baghubaa is a very cold place ravaged by chiiling wind.It is situated just below the ridge at the top of which is Roopkund. Temperature can go below zero even in summers. We too were welcomed by 6 inches of fresh snow when we went outside the tent when the snowfall had stopped.Complete landscape was white and enjoying fresh snow at june was a great experience. In the bitterly cold and uncomfortable tent there was nothing much to do than sleep early and have a good night’s sleep before the ascent to Roopkund.
Day 4 : Sir barf zyada hai lekin Roopkund ho jayega.
The final ascent to Roopkund is a challenging uphill route and is made tougher if you do it in knee deep snow.There are some tricky points on the way and need careful treading.The altitude visibly takes a toll and is manifested as heavy breathing.After crisscrossing way through knee deep snow we finally reached roopkund in about 2 hours. Roopkund is a small lake which is frozen most of the time. The place is littered wih human bones which adds to already intriguing character of the place.The ridge above is called Junargali and is highest point before descending into shila samudra enroute Homkund and Ronti Saddle further up.
Almost snow blinded, we decided to make our journey back to Baghubasa as the whether started to show characterstic detereoration.A chance to glissade down was too tempting to pass even when it was visibly very risky.We took the plunge however and it was definitely one of the high points of already high on adrenaline trip.
The weather turned bad quicker than we expected and visibility reduced to bare minimum. Some tense minutes followed but we were out of the danger zone pretty soon.We were back to safety of the hut(got the hut this day) at around 1.
It was my second visit to Roopkund but at no time it was any less exciting than the first.It has a strange attraction beyond explanation and a leaves an indelible impression.Partly because of an amazing adventure it provides due to the dizzying altitude, partly due to the mystery surrounding the place and mainly due to the second to none landscapes , Roopkund is deservedly one of the most exciting trek of this part of the world.
Day 5 :
Been there done that, it was all return journey this day. We had all kept a good pace and so decided to return all the way to Lohajung in a single day.We trversed the same path till Bedni and from there took the very steep downhill path to Wan.Listening to some great Garhwali songs by our guide and porters we hit the road at around 3.
Sitting on the deck of a truck we started our journey to Lohajung.I saw a last glimpse of a peak- probably Nandaghunti before it disappeared. I felt the same excitement,love and admiration as I did before the trip and as I have always felt. Strange? Ask any mountain lover and he will confirm that it was the most natural reaction.