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Roopkund Trek: Beginners Guide

The Roopkund Trek, set in Uttarakhand, is located at an elevation of about 5,028 meters. It takes you through the mystery lake of Roopkund which is well known for the numerous ancient skeletons found in and around it.

Climbing the snow-covered mountains, crossing streams, and walking through the dense forests are all parts of this 8-day-long trek. Hailstorms play the role of unwanted and sudden guests during the Roopkund Trek and make it risky.

Roopkund Trek

It is rated as an easy to moderate trek by the trekkers. All the challenges it offers are worth taking to witness the delightful sight of the picture-perfect mountains.

Roopkund is located in the Chamoli district and lacks permanent human settlements about its high altitude. It remains inaccessible for about 5-6 months due to continuous snowfall. 

About Roopkund Lake

Roopkund Lake is a glacial lake that sits amidst the Nanda Devi National Park forests in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. It is about 2 meters in depth. It is located at a height of around 16,500 ft. Usually, the lake is frozen but when the ice melts, hundreds of human and horse skeletons are seen inside and around the lake.

Reportedly, they were first seen in the 19th century. As per research conducted in the past, the skeletons belong to the native people who died due to a hailstorm. The hailstones are believed to be the size of cricket balls.

Another story mentions that an avalanche was the reason, though there is no clarity about what happened. Thus, it is said to be the “Mystery Lake” or the “Skeleton Lake”. 

About The Route of The Roopkund Trek

The Roopkund Trek can be started from any one of the two base camps- Lohajung village or Wan village. The latter route is shorter while the former offers more picturesque scenery of the Ali Bugyal.

The trek covers a distance of about 38 kilometers. The area is well known for its Hindu pilgrimage sites-the highest of which is Nanda Devi. The Roopkund Trek offers a bird’s eye view of the spectacular peaks of Trishul, Kedarnath, Ridragaira, and Chaukhamba.

These are a sight to behold. The sacred and crystal clear water of the Bendi Kund is truly a treat to the eyes. 

Along the journey of the Trek, you will make your way through the dense Oak, Pine, and Rhododendron forests. Frozen glaciers and mountains covered with snow and meadows are all a part of the diversity of landscapes that the Roopkund Trek has to offer.

Also rewarding is the insight into the lives of the residents of the village which introduces you to the rich Pahari culture. 

Although the wildlife is scarce there, you might come across birds like the fork-tailed Himalayan Magpie or the Lammergieries. This trek is an opportunity to travel to some of the remotest villages in the state of Uttarakhand. 

Best Time to Visit the Roopkund Trek

The Roopkund Lake remains frozen almost throughout the year. The Roopkund trek can be your travel destination anytime between 

  • May and June – This is the best time to visit if you want to witness the colorful flowers that bloom in the area, the melted lake, and the skeletons. The sky is clear and camping can be enjoyed under the sun. 
  • August and September-  If you wish to treat your eyes with the snow spread like a carpet all over the landscape,   you must visit in the post-monsoon months. 

However, it is not advised to trek during the monsoon season because the Roopkund Trek route receives heavy rainfall. It is prone to landslides and unexpected roadblocks. 

Packing for the Roopkund Trek

The quintessential items on your packing checklist before you visit the Roopkund Trek include :

  • Backpack and rain cover 
  • Walking stick
  • Personal medical kit
  • Plenty of energy-giving snacks 
  • Water bottle/ thermos
  • Flashlight / torch
  • Trekking boots
  • Day bag with rain cover
  • Insect repellent spray/ cream
  • Raincoat and other clothes appropriate to the weather conditions
  • Tents 

Ensure that your backpack is lightweight while packing all the required items. 

Conclusion 

The Roopkund trek provides 8-9 days in the lap of nature enjoying the scenic beauty, away from the hustle-bustle of the busy city life. If you are looking for an activity to kick your adrenaline and give you memorable experiences to cherish throughout your life, The Roopkund Trek must be on the top of your bucket list !!

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