Besides its rivers, rivulets and streams, Garhwal is famous for its high altitude lakes, which hold up a mirror to the awesome peaks that surround them. Not one of the most beautiful, but certainly the most fascinating lake in Garhwal Himalayas is Roopkund, the mystery lake. At an altitude of 4777 metres.
Roopkund :- This has got to be one of the most romantic spots in the Himalayas- acres in the meadow scooped out of lush mountains cape, a steep ridge arching up into the dusk, and above it, the enormous western flank of Trishul. From this perspective, and scarcely 5 km away, every cornice and crenellation. And the sun sets in the deep valleys of the west, its vast wall of snow and granite turns gold against a darkening sky.
Roop kund is situated at a height of 5029 Mts. above main sea level on the lap of the Trisul Massif. This is usually called as the ‘Mystery Lake’ since human skeletons and remains of horses were found here. There are two versions to the remains; one that they are remains of soldiers under General Jorawar Singh on a mission to Tibet, another that they are remains of people on a Yatra to the Trisul base, about 200 years ago. The lake is magnificent and enchanting, surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow clad peaks. The route passes through lush green grassy land and conifer forests clinging onto the slopes of hills. The trek thereafter winds its way along the Pindar River on rocky face. Then to round off this trek, one can approach Home kund via Shail Samudra glacier
Apart from lakes and peaks, the trek passes through one of the best Bugyals the alpine meadow of the area, i.e. Bedni have long been related to myths and mysteries. Even today, the local people witness the presence of fairies. According to a popular belief the Vedas were written in sylvan haunts of Bedni. Regularly visited and worshipped temple of Goddess Nanda Devi is situated amidst the meadow.
A 12 Nights 13 days trip which involves trek to one of the high altitude Himalayan lakes and spiritual journey to one of the four most sacred place and source of second most important river of Northern India.
Region : Garhwal & Kumaon Himalayas
Duration : 12 / 13 Days.
Altitude : Max.. 4650m
Grade : Moderate
Day 1. We have a long mountain drive of nearly 232 kms today, following the Pindar River to the town of Debal. We turn off here and climb up a steep mountain road which takes us to Mandoli at the start of the trek. Mandoli is a delightful village built in the traditional Kumaon style with stone roofs and carved wooden supports. We camp here at an altitude of 2134m.
Day 2. In the morning our team of porters will arrive and we will set off on the first stage of our trek. We have a steady climb up to the Lohajang Col at 2590m which we cross to reach the valley of the Bedni Ganga. We descend on the north side of the pass down to the river before climbing back up to the little village of Didina (2439m) where we camp.
Day 3. Today is a steep trek through oak trees and large stands of bamboo up to Ali Bugyal. From here we can enjoy an expansive view of the Garhwal peaks. We continue trekking through thick forests as far as Bedni Bugyal (Bugyal means meadow in the local Garhwali dialect). Very occasionally the brown Himalayan bear can be encountered on this section of the trail, but it is an elusive animal. From Bedni Bugyal we have an excellent view of the various summits of Trisul (7120m) and the peaks of the north of Garhwal. Bedini Bugyal is a charming green meadow adorned with a myriad of colourful flowers. There is a lake situated in the middle of the meadow where Hindu pilgrims come to bathe, and nearby is a small temple.
Day 4. The trail continues easily over rolling grassy hills to the meadow at Bagubasa 4000m (which means place of flowers in the local dialect). This is a wonderful camping place with the high peaks of Trisul and Nanda Ghunti becoming more prominent.
Day 5. From Bagubasa the trail crosses a grassy ridgeline which drops from the southern flanks of Roopkund from where we descend to the village of Bhuna (3500m). The trail is somewhat steep in places but the hillsides are covered with luxuriant forests of rhododendron and giant ferns, and rare snow leopards have sometimes been seen in this area.
Day 6. The trail now drops down through the village of Kunol into the Nandakini Valley which drains the waters of Roopkund and the Trisul massif. After following the river of the same name we arrive at the village of Sutol (2192m). Our campsite for the evening is located just before we reach the village, in a delightful meadow by the river.
Day 7. We begin the morning with a stiff climb out of the Nandakini valley heading towards the watershed which marks the divide with the Brithi Ganga valley. Climbing up through these remote villages we may be lucky enough to see various large birds of prey including lammergeyer, eagles and griffin vultures. Before us we can gaze over a classic Garhwal landscape of rolling green hills with distant snow-capped peaks. Our destination for the evening is a campsite in a terraced meadow above the village of Ramni (2450m). A long day but a rewarding one.
Day 8. From Ramni we begin to follow part of the route that Shipton and Tilman took during their pioneering exploratory trip to the Rishiganga gorge and the inner sanctuary of Nanda Devi. We have a gentle ascent through open grazing meadows interspersed with occasional shepherds huts. These gradually give way to thick forests of oak and rhododendron. After lunch we have a steep descent to Jenjapani village and our campsite (1850m) in the gorge of the Brithi Ganga river.
Day 9. We cross a wide suspension bridge and make a steep climb out of the gorge to the ridge at 2300 metres. The path levels out and contours around the valley side, crossing several small tributary rivers and waterfalls including one which offers a great opportunity for a shower. After a steady climb we arrive at more grazing meadows where from we get our first view of the Kuari pass. Shortly after this we reach our camp at the meadows of Satoli (3050m) where there are a variety of shepherds huts.
Day 10. An early start today as we head to the Kuari Pass. We begin with a steep climb which eases off as we approach the base of the pass. The Kauri pass is not difficult and the trail which zig-zags up to the top is well constructed. From the crest of the pass at 4268 metres we are rewarded with an incomparable view which so moved Eric Shipton over 60 years ago. The mountains are arranged before us in a magnificent arc including Nanda Devi (7816m), Dunagiri (7066m) and Changabang (6864m). To the north we can see the Chaukamba range including Nilkanth (6598m) and the distant Zanskar range with the distinctive peak of Kamet at 7756m extends towards the border with Tibet. We descend for a few hundred metres on the north side of the pass and camp in a meadow at 3800m with a fantastic sunset view over Nanda Devi.
Day 11. On our last day of trekking the trail descends continuously downhill through small villages and cultivated fields to Auli. Once a small, obscure village this is now Indias premier ski resort, although there ought not to be snow here when we pass through. If the ski lift is operating, it may be possible to ride the last 500 metres down to the village where we stay in a local hotel.
Day 12. After breakfast, we drive to Rishikesh. O/N – Hotel / Camp.
Day 13. Departure to Haridwar railway station or drive to Delhi Airport. Trips end.
Cost: US $ 1289 per person (for group of 2 pax )
4.08% government service tax and permits fees extra.
COSTS include: Road transportation from Rishikesh to Rishikesh by car, Accommodation in Medium Class Hotels (where applicable) on a twin sharing basis, all Meals, tents on twin share basis, cooking tent and utensils, table and chairs, permits and entrance fees, English speaking guide, cooks and porters/mules. We serve variety of food on our trips which includes Indian, western and Chinese.
COSTS exclude: Accommodation in Rishikesh, Personal Insurance, all alcoholic beverages and Expenses of personal nature.