Roopkund is a lake situated at a height of 5029 mts. in the lap of the Trishul Massif, hidden below a ridge on the periphery of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.
It is often called the “Mystery Lake”, as in it lie some 300 corpses dated to the 14th Century AD, well preserved due to the cold and only seen when the lake thaws. There are two versions for these remains; one, that they are the remains of soldiers under General Jorawar Singh’s army which was on its way to Tibet, the other that they are the remains of people on a pilgrimage to Trishul base about 600 years ago.
High-up in the Himalayas, the Roopkund lake, surrounded by rock-strewn glacier and snow clad peaks, is a marvelous sight. The starting point of our trek is Mundoli village situated in eastern Garhwal Himalaya. To get to this starting point all trekkers are required to initially reach Kathgodam by over night train from Delhi.
Take the overnight train from Old Delhi Railway Station to Kathgodam (Train No. 5013, Departure 22.40 hrs. IST)
Arrive at Kathgodam railway station 06.30 hrs. Received by Wayfarer escort and transferred to a waiting vehicle after a short break. Drive to Ranikhet (90 kms. 3 hrs.) for quick wash and change at Snow View Hotel. After refreshing ourselves we continue with our drive. Our destination is Mundoli village (1750 mts. 115 kms.; 4 to 5 hrs.) The drive to Mandoli is across a scenic countryside past the hill towns of Kausani, Baijnath and Gwaldham. We camp here for the night.
Mundoli to Wan (2439 mts./13 kms.. 5 to 6 hrs.) : Today’s walk is not difficult but a bit long. Stepping out of Mundoli we trek up to Lohajung Pass (2,133m). From here a clear path leads northwards to Wan (2439m). The ascent is quite gradual. At Wan the campsite is beyond the Forest Rest House on a ridge that offers marvelous views of Trishul peak.
Wan to Bedni Bugyal (3354 mts./8 kms.; 4 to 5 hrs.) : The trail from Wan ascends to Bedni which is acres and acres of meadow scooped out of lush mountainscape, a steep ridge arching up into the dusk, and above it, the enormous western flank of Trishul. The spot is absolutely romantic and the campsite is divine.
Bedni to Begubassa (4667mts./9 kms.; 5 to 6 hrs.) : Today is a tough day. The trail from Bedni ascends to the remote village of Begubassa, where we camp for the night.
Begubassa to Roopkund (5029mts./5 kms.; 3 hrs.) : It is an easy day and by mid-day we are at Roopkund. The campsite is at the tip of the lake. We have the entire afternoon to explore the surrounding area.
Roopkund to Bistola (4570mts./7 kms.. 3 to 4 hrs.) : We follow the same trail to descend from Roopkund. Our overnight camp is at Bistola.
Bistola to Ali Bugyal (3300mts./10 kms.; 4 to 5 hrs.) : Ali Bugyal is another Alpine like meadow that is just as charming as Bedni. We camp here for the night.
Ali Bugyal to Didana (2700 mts./8 kms.; 3 to 4 hrs) : The descent from Ali to Didana is easy and we pitch up close to a river.
Didana to Mundoli and drive to Ranikhet : From Didana we retrace our steps to civilization. The walk to Mundoli is less than 8 kms. and this takes around 3 hrs. At Mundoli, after refreshing ourselves, we board a waiting jeep that drives us back to Ranikhet (115 kms./ 5 hrs.). We check in at Snow View Hotel for the night.
Ranikhet to Kathgodam (90 kms.) : Today is a day when we can chill out and relax. Late afternoon we board a vehicle that drives us to Kathgodam. There is also the option of leaving Ranikhet after breakfast and driving to the legendary Jim Corbett Park. The train to Delhi departs from Kathgodam at 20.40 hrs.
The optimal timing for our trekking trips is between May 1st and June 30th and between September 1st and October 15th. Both seasons have their attractions. During the month of May the spring flowers bloom at the margins of the snowline while the weather is generally settled barring the occasional pre monsoon storm that can blow up at any time. Day time temperatures can rise to the mid 20s even at altitudes while at night they can fall to 0 degrees C. The post monsoon season is a time of settled weather with clear views of the mountains.
Day time temperatures will still be quite warm, upto 20 degrees C during the middle of the day, however at night the temperatures will occasionally drop below 0 degrees C.