The has become India’s gem of the Himalayan adventure scene steadily gaining fame year over year. Roopkund, well-deserving of its popularity, translated into English as “beautiful pond,” attracts backpackers from across India as well as international visitors with its mystery and beauty. You can also visit hampta pass trek.
Roopkund itself is a high-altitude, glacial lake snuggled deep into the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. The 54km trek traverses some of the most stunning and diverse scenery that Himalayan trekking has to offer, spreading the time of six trekking days, in addition to one on either side for jeep transportation back to connectivity points.
Trekkers consistently attest that the views throughout the journey are spectacular, but most come to see for themselves if the gossip of skeletons lying around the lake is true.
lets one rest easy, their only task is to find your way to Lohajung, the small village at 7,700ft serving as the route for this adventure. Several comfortable homestays are available here, and the panoramic mountain views give one a teaser of what is soon to come.
Leaving from Lohajung on day two:
a beautifully-rugged temple can be paused for a time of reflection, after which tourists shift into the valley of dark undergrowth for much of the 11km day. The trail weaves through the sunlight-studded forest guiding up toward the village of Didina gently curving alongside the Neel Gunga.
A homestay and chai stall here offer welcoming hospitality, and many use this point as their lunch break for the day. It’s back into the forest until you reach Tolpani following the cheery opening, at 8,300ft, where many choose to camp for the night. Tolpani is rare, strikingly, and aggressively lush. Everything here is vegetative and green, with a small summer shepherd residence tucked among the stalks.
The following morning, this journey abruptly breaks into the open air atop none other than Ali Bugyal, the meadow that has stolen India’s heart. This high-altitude, rolling, a carpet of neon green grass seems to extend infinitely, gifting trekkers with sights of grazing livestock and beautiful wildflowers throughout.
The rest of this 6km day leads you past a Maggi point up to Bedni Bugyal, the second high-altitude meadow of the day at 11,700ft where several Trishul-laden temples can be found. It is a campsite too.
is gifted possession and rests at the top of the first climb. Again a 6km distance for the day, the trail leads tourists to something almost pass-like, a section just a few kilometers above Bedni Bugyal that opens up the valley view for all to view. Making the trekkers look like ants, the trail etched into the side of the mountain fade into the distance toward Patar Nachauni, the night’s destination resting at 12,700ft can be seen from here.
The halting point of day five is undeniably Kalua Vinayak. Earned by an initial steep climb, this heavily-gifted temple rests among a fascinating view of Kedarnath, Neelkantha, Chaukhamba, Trishul, and Nanda Ghunti. The 4 km trek for the day has brought you to Bagwabasa at 14,200 ft, the official Base Camp for Roopkund.
The sixth-day summit push starts roughly around 2:00 am, and the rocky, iced, switchbacks up to the lake present a 6 km stiff climb for many, often requiring crampons. This night hike aims to avoid sunlight creating a slippery surface from the half-melted ice, but the result is priceless. Roopkund stands before everyone at 15,750ft in all its glory, skeletons scattered in the snow and snuggled at the bottom of the lake.
Now, the bones here are estimated to belong to roughly 300 biologically separate skeletons, which have been carbon-dated back 1,200 years to the 9th century A.D. The mystery behind? No one knows who or why they were there. Theories are ranging from angry gods punishing armies to a freak hailstorm killing migrants, but one fact can be confirmed- they all died from sustaining severe injuries to their skulls.
It is easy to get distracted by this uniqueness, but the true prize of the summit is just 250 feet higher. The crown jewel of Roopkund, Junargali rests atop a magnificent throne of snow. This iron gate is a symbolic gateway between valleys, between a single golden bell from its apex among the glittering white mountains that surround it. This thing, if weather permits, is the perfect grand finale of the trek to Roopkund.
The day ends with a 10km descent back to Bedni Bugyal, from which one descends 11km into the charming village of Wan the next day. Make sure to allow time to chat with the locals there, who may invite you in for a cup of chai, and explore the temples hidden beneath towering pine trees. From Wan, people can arrange a jeep to either Lohajung or another point of connectivity.