Roopkund is scenic trek in the Himalayas and a journey beyond imagination! Through the route, the trekker can feast on varied landscapes and finally summit at the Skeleton lake 15,696 ft above sea level!
My buddies and I summited Roopkund on 6th June 2014. We did this trek through 'Trek the Himalayas' (http://www.trekthehimalayas.com/TTH-Treks/Roopkund-Trek/). You can read about the trek here. Till date this has been one of my most memorable travel milestones. Not only was the trek a feast for the eyes (don't scroll down until you read further!), it was also a test of willpower and overcoming adversity.
Scroll below for a photo essay of the trek.
***Statutory warning: The photos below are stunning and contagious. You may want to do a Himalayan trek real soon***
|Where it all began! Delhi bound in Rajdhani express!|
|View from our breakfast halt enroute Loharjung from Kathgodam station|
|Views enroute Loharjung from Kathgodam|
|Playing with cute kids at our night halt at Loharjung|
|Villages throughout the trail|
|Posing at not quite the "One Tree Hill"|
|River crossing - With a little help from friends - somewhere between Loharjung and Didna village|
On the 4th day we gained considerable height as we left the Ali Bugyal to get to Ghora Lotani. The initial hike took us over a ridge where the wind was relentless. We experienced lack of oxygen and thinning vegetation. As the ridge ended, the hike eased out and brought us to a clearing from where we could see rows and rows of snow-clad mountains! Our target, Roopkund, was somewhere there. Thereafter, we walked through arid mountain face where only miniature flowers grew. However, the rocks at the edge of the trail were stunning and seem to form patterns in the mountain.
Our campsite at Ghora Lotani was at the edge of the mountain. We could see a zig-zag trail, our route for tomorrow. That itself was enough to make us apprehensive, yet give us a high!
|Starting from the start. Passing through the Bugyals briefly.|
|Need I say more?! View from the clearing!|
|Posers will be posers|
|Walking the last stretch until our base camp!|
|I found my spot|
|Burst of colour in an arid landscape!|
From rock brown landscape, to trail sprinkled with snow, to the glacier crossing and ultimately blowing the conch at Kalu Vinayak temple, day 5 was a roller-coaster. The trail seemed extremely busy and our trek leaders were focused on getting us to our final base camp at Bhagwabasa before lunchtime. After Kalu Vinayak, we struggled to walk through snow and it was a respite to get to the base camp. The tents were pitched on snow, the wind was blizzardly and soon after lunch we practiced hiking with our additional gear (gaiters and crampons). There would help us keep the snow from entering our shoe/ give us grip with the spikes to successfully summit Roopkund.
The sunset from Bhagwabasa was magical. Thereafter, we had an early dinner and hit the bed (more like sleeping bags) by 8. Setting our alarm clock for 4 am, we prayed that night, as much as for a successful, injury free summit as we did for good weather.
|Our campsite. Snow snow everywhere!|
|Funkiest cap award goes to....!|
|Pitching out walking stick and the trekker cap. Truly gearing up for Summit day!|
|The scariest loo. Yes, those are bathroom tents. Trust me, you'd rather go out on the snow than those tents.|
|In the meantime, the sun began to bid us adieu|
|This is what magic looks like from 4,304 mtrs above sea level!|
|Sunsets like these!|
|Walking on the edge to catch the last glow of the sun!|
|As Bhagwabasa slept,,,|
Day 6: Roopkund conquered!
We slipped, walked some more, gave us and walked some more. A display of sheer determination and teamwork later, 18 of us conquered the Roopkund summit! Everything around us, including the Skeletal lake of Roopkund was frozen. At 15,696 feet above see level, the feeling of victory was unmatched! Our trek leaders/ support staff were kind enough to bring us breakfast of hot porraige at the summit.
Everything thereafter is a blue, except my the incessant fear of falling off the cliff while descending!
|My buddies and me! Celebrating birthday with Godiva!|
|Definitely not the most flattering photo :P|
|Killing it with the pose!|
|The victorious gang!|
|Roopkund summit - you beauty!|
Day 7 and 8: And we all trek down!
I don't like descents. As we descended over next two days, my knees were very unhappy, though my body preferred the warmer nights. The landscape changed constantly - snow, brown mountain sides, bugyals, lush trees, foliage and finally to Wan village (passing through Pathar Nachunia). On the way we met some friendly villagers, passed by campsites of other trek groups and adorable kids who wanted toffees (we were warned against giving them sweets by our trek leader). In true trekker's style, I took only photograph's and left only my footprints here! Indeed a memorable trek and physically grueling too!
|Bedni Kund at Bedni Bugyal|
|Temples made with stones at Bedni Kund, Bedni Bugyal|
|Transition moment, from mountains to Bugyals!|
|One last look at the trail we left behind!|
|Our final view of the snow-peaks made for a pretty reflection!|
|Stone temples at Bedni Bugyal|
|Wishing on a temple bell!|
|Campsite set-up by another trek group at Bedni Bugyal!|
|Portraits of locals|
|The road, not quite, less taken|
|Rivers want nothing more than to meet the Ocean!|
|River water caught in action!|
|Arriving upon this temple after leaving the river behind|
|Step farming near the village|
|As we inched closer to Wan village....|
|... it almost felt like coming back to reality|
|The "Namaste" kid!|
|Such pretty cheeks!|
|The shy one...|
|The dish antennae explains it.|
|Wilderness gave way to Wan village!|
|The village boy|
Pillars along the way
|Moments of glory|
|Beating the odds|
Photo credit: Me and fellow trekkers!