Our memories of the Roopkund trek in the Garhwal Himalayas will be cherished forever. This was the first of many firsts. Our first seven-day Himalayan trek took place at Roopkund. For the first time, we were totally out of our comfort zones. It was also the first time that we traveled or trekked with a group.
We weren’t great at trekking seven years ago. Before Roopkund, we had done the Buxa Fort Trek, a day hike in West Bengal. Yes, we participated in the Amarnath Yatra in that year’s July.
Trekking in Roopkund: The Skeletal Lake
It is also known as Skeletal Lake or Mystery Lake. This question remained unanswered for quite some time before I went online to find out. This glacial lake, at an elevation of 16499 feet, actually has hundreds of skulls. From where did this skeleton come? How could such a tragic day have resulted in such a high death rate? Undoubtedly, the solutions were ambiguous. Roopkund Lake in the Garhwal Himalayan Region is full of urban legends and mystery.
Folklore about Roopkund Lake, and its mystery
In 1942, a British forest guard found thousands of skeletons near Roopkund Lake. These skeletons have been studied by scientists, historians, and anthropologists in the Himalayan snowy regions. There are approximately 300 to 600 skeletons. Why are so many people dying? A sudden hailstorm in mountains could be the cause. It could also be that cracks were found on skulls, supporting the theory that hailstorms are responsible.
Many theories have been put forth about these bodies. Some researchers believe that General Zorawar Singh from Kashmir and his men returned to Tibet after an unsuccessful attempt in 1841 to conquer Tibet. This is evident by the skeletons. They didn’t know how to get in, and they were never found. Some believe the bones may belong to Japanese soldiers who were killed while moving through the area during World War II.
Roopkund: Lake of Reflections
- According to legend, Goddess Parvati killed Mahisasur in Kali when she was incarnated close to the Bedni Kund.
- Goddess Parvati wanted a bath after feeling unclean from killing demons during Lord Shiva’s journey to Kailash. After all, she had cleaned up the mud from the ground! Lord Shiva created the Lake for the Goddess to please her lover. The goddess submerged herself into the lake’s azure waters, and she saw her beautiful reflection.
- The Lake was named Roopkund because of its beauty.
- The Goddess took a dip, while Lord Ganesh, her son, stayed watch at the spot, now known as Kalu Vinayak. From this spot, you can see Roopkund Lake for the first time.
- Bhagwabasa is the name of the “abode for the tiger” language. At this point Goddess Parvati was separated from her Tiger and was heading to Roopkund for a bath.
What is the best time of year to hike to Roopkund Lake
Due to the climatic changes at Roopkund, only 3-4 months per year are available.
It is up to you to decide whether you prefer to walk through thick, white snow or open fields.
If you plan to snowshoe, you must visit the area between May and June.
The best time to trek is from mid-September through October. This is because of the stunning scenery and less crowds. The snow is melting at this point, so you may see skeletons near the lake. Everything depends on how at ease you are.
What is the weather like in Roopkund right now?
Your campsites’ temperature will vary from 5deg up to -1degC in the day to 3deg up to -4degC at the night during the months of May and June.
How can you get to Roopkund
You will be asked to gather at Kathgodam (or Lohajung) as the start point of your trek.
By air: Uttarakhand’s main airport is the Jolly Grant Airport. Also known as Dehradun Airport. The Dehradun Airport is the main entry point for the cities and towns of Yamunotri (Kedarnath), Mussoorie Haridwar Rishikesh, Mussoorie Haridwar, Rishikesh and Mussoorie). Dehradun Airport is well connected to all major Indian cities.
Dehradun is a good place to continue by bus, train, or car to Kathgodam.
Train: The Kathgodam railway station, which is closest to Roopkund, is the nearest. There are two options: You can travel directly from Delhi or Dehradun by train to Kathgodam. Rishikesh and Haridwar also have train stations, which are easily accessible from Roopkund.
By car: Volvo buses run the night between Delhi and Kathgodam. You can also split your journey by stopping in Haridwar or Rishikesh or any other nearby town.
Are you ready for the Roopkund Trek?
The trek is moderately difficult. You might feel out of breath due to the steep climbs and zigzag paths. If you’re not used to walking for extended periods without feeling tired or need to gasp for air, you might consider switching to a shorter trek. Each trekker will spend between 5-6 hours depending on the weather. However, anyone who is fit enough can do this trek. You should not have any type of heart disease or respiratory problems. To have a smooth experience while trekking, you must be in good physical condition. Roopkund Treks last between 7 and 8 days. Most of your questions about the Roopkund Trek are answered. Trekking is a magical experience. If you love the mountains, we urge you to take this thrilling journey at least once.
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