The renowned French novelist, Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
There are few experiences that open up not just your eyes and heart, but also your lungs and mind. The trek to the mysterious skeletal lake ‘Roopkund’ definitely did that to me.
Located in heart of Chamoli district of Uttarakhand State, India, Roopkund Trek is a 8 day journey into the Garhwal Himalayas, starting from silhouette villages, to misty forests, passing through gorgeous lush green meadows (Ali and Bedni), onto the rocky terrain in Pathar Nachuni to valley of Brahma kamals, and finally, to the mystery laden Roopkund lake, which till date remains an enigma.
In order to solve the puzzle surrounding the hundreds of skeletons scattered around the lake, various expeditions have been made by scientists from all over the world. It has even been documented by the National Geographic team, which has only contributed in making the trek legendary, in the truest sense of the word..
Roopkund Trek is one of the most popular and recommended high altitude trekking destinations in the Himalayas. And for me, it was a beginning of an addiction of spending days in unspoilt nature.
6 of us registered for the trek through ‘Trek the Himalayas’, with a burning desire of venturing deep into the realm of Himalayan fantasies, and returning with lifelong memories…
So, let the magic unfold….one more time….
Day 1 : KATHGODAM – LOHAJUNG
Drive : 210 kms
Altitude : 7662 ft
To reach Loha Jung, our base camp and a tiny little hamlet in Chamoli district, I took an overnight train journey from New Delhi to Kathgodam.
From Kathgodam, it was close to a 10 hour bus journey, cruising along the Kosi River, glimpsing through the snow capped mountains which were coming closer and closer. Slowly the calm waters of Kosi River gave way to the blustery Pindar River.
The journey turned out to be enriching in many ways. The sights were mesmerizing indeed. We started in the Kumaon area of Uttarakhand, and slowly ventured into Garhwal.
Apart from capturing the natural beauty that the beautiful state of Uttarakhand has to offer, the journey also helped the entire batch of 15-20 trekkers to gel with each other. After all, this small batch of strangers was going to be like a family for the next week, in the midst of nowhere.
Moving through the narrow hill roads, we finally reached Lohajung around 18:30 pm.
Loha Jung is a tiny little village, tucked away in the laps of the Himalayas. Had it not been for the Roopkund trek, it would have still have remained hidden away from the outer world.
At the base camp, we were formally introduced to our group which generally consists of 15-120 members excluding Trek Leader and local guides and of course lifeline for the campers i.e. support staff (consisting of cooks, helping hands, luggage carriers). My group included people from all over the country like Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ranchi, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Nagpur, Varanasi.
After an update on how the trek would look like, we chatted over hot pakoras and tea. It felt great to be surrounded by these like minded people, many of whom had already successfully completed many well known treks.
Our home stay was really a simple yet cozy affair. The rooms were clean, and the beddings looked as inviting as ever. The bus journey was long and tiring. So there I was, on my bed, with droopy eyes, but a spirited self, all ready to welcome the next morning, and start my ascent into the grand Himalayan world…..