Set amidst the benevolent mountainous peaks, the Roopkund Lake remains in the spotlight for its unsolved mystery. It has been nicknamed as the 'Mystery Lake' as the remains of human skeletons and horses belonging to the Palaeolithic age can be seen here.
The adrenaline pumping trek to Roopkund starts from Lohajung, a tiny pass seated at 16,499 feet above sea level in the Garhwal Himalayas. This shallow lake has a depth of about 2 metres and is the most popular lake in the entire Uttarakhand. The lake is nestled amidst panoramic mountain scenery, surrounded by rock-strewn glacier.
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Reach Kathgodam by Ranikhet Express. From Kathgodam, you have two options to reach Lohajung. If you are in a group then hiring a cab to Lohajung is the best option for you. If you want to save money then travel by public transport for that you have to break your journey into two parts i.e. Kathgodam to Gwaldam by bus/shared cab and then Gwaldam to Lohajung. Budget accommodations are available at Lohajung.
Wake up early and take the trail to Raun Bagad, just behind the bus stand in Lohajung. This fairly marked trail descends through the mixed forest and it will take around two and a half hours to reach Ruan Bagad. Alternatively, you can also reach there by taking the road towards Wan village. After a 6 km walk to Kuling village, there is a steep slope towards Ruan Bagad. Hereafter, the climb to Didina village starts after crossing the iron bridge. After a steep climb, you will reach Didina in an hour. Halt at Didina for the night.
Start off early; there are two alternative routes from Didina that leads to Ali Bugyal. Take the trail to Tolapani, where you can find the cluster of shepherd huts. Tolapani can be seen from the valley and it is only 3 km away from here. From Tolapani take the trail that leads to Tolkaan. This meadow trek goes through a series of switchbacks and the thick oak forests. Take the sharp left towards the south and move towards the ridge.
Alternatively, take the climb towards Ali Bugyal without going through Tolapani. If you want to savour the spellbinding views then reach here before afternoon. Relax amidst the natural vistas and have an overnight stay in the tents.
The day four is an easy trek so just follow the straight line ahead of you up to 3 km. Soon you will come across a ridge, from where the view is absolutely gorgeous. Ghora Lotani is a beautiful campsite that offers picturesque views. Pitch your tents here and spend the night by rolling under the cluster of stars.
Gear up to trek on the snow line, this trek will take you closer to an altitude of 14,500 feet and will give you the chills of the weather. Start the trek early as you have to reach Bhagwabasa before the weather becomes harsh. Ascend to Kalu Vinayak, a steep zig-zag way that takes you up to the mountain. It will take one and a half hours to cross this section. Bhagwabasa is only 2 km away from here. The trail towards Bhagwabasa moves through the snow patches and you can enjoy scenic views throughout the journey.
Start traversing as early as 4 am. The sooner you’ll start the easy it will be to make your way through the snow as it will be hard and your feet will not sink in. To reach Roopkund, you have to climb 3 km uphill from Bhagwabasa which will take 3 and a half hour to reach.
On reaching Roopkund, relish a magnificent view of the glacial lake and if the weather is fine then climb up to Junargali. In hardly 30 minutes, you will reach Junargali. You can start off early to return back to Bedni Bugyal via Bhagwabasa. Be careful while crossing this tricky stretch as the snowy slopes may become a problem.
Get ready to make your way back to Lohajung via Wan village. This well-marked trail can be easily crossed. On a clear day, you can have a stunning view of the Trishul peak, while returning back from Bedni Bugyal to Wan village. Walkthrough the dense rhododendron forests; soon you will see a steep descent for the Neel Ganga River.
From here, it will take an hour or so to climb the ridge over Wan village. The total trekking distance to Wan village can be completed in 6 and a half hours. After that, it is an hour’s drive back to Lohajung, where you can stay for the night.
Bid adieu to the exhilarating trekking journey and post breakfast drive to Kathgodam from Lohajung village.
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