Thursday, 9 June 2016

Roopkund and beyond - May 2016

This year our trek target was Roopkund, a mystery glacial lake at the altitude of 5029 mtr (16499 ft) nestled in the high mountains of Uttarakhand Himalayas. This beautiful lake is surrounded by peaks of Mt. Trishul, Mt. Nanda Devi and Mt. Nanda Ghunti. Each year multiple trekking organization plan for 2 session Roopkund trek. 1st in the summer (early May till late June) and another on Sep till early Nov. In the Summer time one can get snow where as in the autumn session trekkers can find beautiful green bugyaland different Himalayan wild flower including ‘Bramha Kamal’.
There are many truths and myths exist in and around Roopkund.
Till date people can find lot of human skeletons, flesh, wooden artifacts and leather slippers near the lake. It is being said that due to heavy rain mass death happened around the 9th century AD.
We started our journey on 20th May 2016 from Kolkata and reached Lal Kaun on the next day. Our guide Mr. Man Sing arranged a Cab for us. It was a 10+ hours drive through some magnificent roads of Kumaun Himalaya. We crossed Kathgudam, Haldwani, Bhimtal, Bhawali, Almora and reached Kashi in the noon for lunch. Bhawali has a nice fruit market and we bought some local fruits. After lunch the roads were even more beautiful via Kausani, Gwaldam, Tharali, Debal, Mundoli and Lohajung. We find some man maid forest fire just before reaching Lohajung.
Man Maid Fire near Lohajung
We didn’t get any room at Lohajung and our guide arranged a homestay at Wan. So after completing the police check post entry we proceed further towards Wan. By that time it was complete dark outside and we were passing through some hill bends and jungle. After passing Kulling village, our bolero took a turn a sharp bend and suddenly we find a Himalayan Leopard in front of our car.  It was the 1st time we saw live wild tiger and to add more surprise it started running in front of our car for ~10 sec before jumping and disappearing into the hill slop. Somehow I managed to click my cam once but it doesn’t have any evidence.

Our itinerary:

May 20: Morning train from Kolkata
May 21: Reached Lal Kaun in the morning then 10 hours car journey to Wan
May 23: Moderate and long trek for 6-7 hours from Wan (7662 ft) to Tol Pani (~ 9000 ft) via Didna village (8045 ft). Initially decent then accent
May 24: Stiff accent till Tol top and then gradual accent till Ali Bugyal (11320 ft) then gentle walk on meadow till Bedni Bugyal (12818 ft) – 5-6 hours 
May 25 – Bedni Bugyal to Pathar Nachani (12818 ft) with gentle accent – 3 - 4 hours
May 26 - Pathar Nachani to Baguabasa (14117 ft) via Kalu Vinayak. Initial 2-3 hours extreme accent till Kalu vinayak and then gentle decent till Baguabasa for 45 minutes.
May 27: Baguabasa to Roopkund and beyond and back to Ghaeroli Patal via Bedni Bugyal.
Baguabasa to Roopkund: 3 hours stiff Accent
Roopkund to Juragali: 40 minutes climbing
Roopkund to Bedni: Took 4 hours for us
Bedini to Ghaeroli patel – 1 hour decent
May 28: Ghaeroli patel to Wan – 2-3 hours decent till Neel Ganga then 30 minutes Up and gentle walk finally for 1 hours
May 29: Wan to Lal Kaun and return train at the evening

Trek day Details:

Trek day 1: Wan (7662 ft) to Tol Pani (~ 9000 ft) via Didna village (8045 ft)
Lets start
We have started our journey in the morning around 8 AM. 1st we go down to Neel Ganga and then start going up till Didna village. It was a very hot day. We reached Didna village in the noon around 12:30. We took a long lunch break in Didna and then stared for Tol Pani (another 1hour and 30 minutes accent). In the afternoon we reached a beautiful jungle village called Tol Pani. We pitched our tent and went for some fire in the evening.
Tol Pani Tent ground
Day 2: Tol Pani to Bedni bugyal (12818 ft) via Ali bugyal (11320 ft)
We had a decent sleep last night as the weather was not so chill and we were tired. Today we need to travel from Tol Pani to Ali bugyal and then to Bedni bugyal. Ali bugyal is one of the biggest and beautiful meadows of India. There is one small shop at the end of Ali bugyal. It took us around 2 hours to cross the Ali bugyal from Tol top.
Ali Bugyal
We reached Bedni bugyal in the late afternoon and it started raining. Fortunately we pitched our tent before the weather get worse. After the rain it was a complete different weather at Bedni with fresh snow on the top ridge and wild horse running behind our tent and a group of 300+ sheep along with the shepherd crossing the valley.
As per myth, all 4 Vedas were written in Bedni bugyal.
Sheep crossing our tent at Bedni

Day 3: Bedni bugyal to Pathar nachani (12818 ft)
Today is a relatively easy day of the trek with some gentle walk through green meadow with wide open snow peak. We reachedPathar Nachani around 11 AM in the morning. Again we are extremely lucky and just after entering under a shade the place was hit by a snow blizzard and the area become full white within 30 minutes.
There is a myth in Pathar Nachani (‘Dancing Stones’). One king was watching royal dances and forgot to pray Goddess Nanda Devi and she cursed those dancers to transform into stones. There are 3 big holes near the place and locals believe that those dancers who transformed into stones are buried there.
Valley with Snow and other one in Green
Day 4: Pathar Nachani to Baguabasa (14117 ft) via Kalu Vinayak
This day is not so lengthy but initial few km till Kalu Vinayak is stiff up and then from Kalu Vinayak to Baguabasa is gentle decent. We reached Kalu Vinayak in ~3 hours and our guide did some rituals there. There is a small stone temple and God Ganesha was placed inside.   
Legends said that while going to Kailash (Trishul), Devi Parvati took a dip in Roopkund lake and ask Lord Ganesha to stay at Kalu Vinyaka as guard.
From Kalu Vinayak you can see the snow peaks all around and Baguabasa tent ground is also visible.
Our Tent ground at Pathar Nachani after snowfall
Great Kalu Vinayaka Temple
Our team at Baguabasa
Day 5: Baguabasa to Roopkund and beyond and back to Ghaeroli Patal via Bedni Bugyal
This is the toughest day of the trek and we started for Roopkund and Jurhagali pass at 3:30 AM. The entire area was under snow and we had to use crampons to proceed further. It was a stiff accent and took almost 2 hours and 30 minutes for us to reach Roopkund lake (we were bit quick). 
Human skeletons at Roopkund

We didn’t stop at Roopkund as our target was Juragali Pass. So we keep climbing. But due to extreme hard ice it was quite difficult for us to go up. In between our guide also had a free fall of 20 mts and we decided to return from there. It was only 75-80 mtrs from the pass top.

At Roopkund
We returned at the lake around 7:30 AM and took some photographs. Our support member (Balbir) digs some snow and shows us human skeletons, flesh and leather slippers on 9th century. They were still alive and intact.
I forgot my sunglass at tent and was not able to see anything and hit by snow blindness. Balbir and Man sing alternately provided their sun glass to keep my sight active. We start descending and reached Baguabasa camp ground around 10 AM.
Abhijit with Man Sing and Balbir
We thought to return till Bedni on that day but somehow our energy was high and we decent further till Ghaeroli patal. It was quite late by the time we reached Ghaeroli and should not be advisable to target Ghaeroli on the same day.
Full team in Front of Ghaeroli Patal tent ground
Day 6: Ghaeroli Patal (10200 ft) to Wan
Final day of the trek and the easiest day. We started late and spend lot of time in the Neel Ganga river bank. Then we went to LatuDevta temple and reached Wan village in the afternoon. Wan is one of the most picture perfect village I ever see.
Finally returning time @ Deewan Singh's Bolero

Important Information:

Lal kaun/Kathgidam to Lohajang car: 9/10 hours (wan is 40 minutes more)
Car fare from Kathgodam to Lohajung: 5.5 K to 6 K depending on demand
Permit: Lohajung police check post entry and Permit required (permit generally done by Guide)
Mobile network: Idea, Airtel and Vodaphone network is available in few specific places like: till Didna village and Ghaeroli Patel, near Bedni Bugyal, Pathar Natchani and behind the fibur hut of Baguabasa

Our support team:

Guide: Man Sing from Wan (+919639804040)
Man Sing's web portal:
Supporting guide cum cook: Balbir Sing Bist
Both way cab (Bolero) and Driver: Deewan Sing Bist from Wan (08937899939)


  1. Good write-up with all the information.

  2. Great Description and Pics Goba da..One should not have difficulties to complete this trek,after going through the detailed description.

    I really missed it..

    Great going Sir...Hipp Hipp Hurray for "Trek Zone"..Proud to be associated with the same..


    1. u r always welcome bhai..we miss you...