Roopkund Diaries : Day 1 – Kathgodam to Lohajung 2

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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.

along the way

along the way

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.

Bus Route

Kathgodam–>Bheem Tal–>Almora–>Kausani–>Gwaldam–>Dewal–>Lohajung

gelling along the way

gelling along the way

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.

sleepy destination

sleepy destination

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.

the journey begins

the journey begins

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.

guys..excited???

guys..excited???

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.

for the aching back..

for the aching back..

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…..


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2 thoughts on “Roopkund Diaries : Day 1 – Kathgodam to Lohajung

  • Rohit Post author

    Hi Mahbub

    Great Choice indeed..Roopkund is the quintessential Himalayan trek..

    I would suggest you to do it through a trekking company. I did it with ‘Trek the Himalayas’.(https://www.trekthehimalayas.com/).

    Even ‘Indiahikes’ (https://indiahikes.com/) is a good option, but they route which they take misses Ali Bugyal, which I feel is probably the most beautiful stretch of the entire trek.. ‘Trek the himalayas’ goes through Ali Bugyal.

    Both TTH & IH take care of everything, i.e, daily meals & lodging for the entire trek. There’s a trek leader and a group of porters who guide you throughout. They take you in a batch of apprx 15-20 people..

    Another thing I’d like to mention..There are two seasons to trek to Roopkund. If u like walking on snow, then u should go in May-June season. Whereas if u prefer greener surrounding and wish to see the skeletons, Sep-Oct would be the right season. I went in September..

    Hope this will help in planning your trek….

    Rohit…

  • Rohit Post author

    TTH & IH arrange buses to pick up the enrolled trekkers from Kathgodam Railway Station for Lohajung or Wan. But the buses leave by 6-6.30. So if u r reaching by 9.30, u need to stay at Kathgodam for the night and leave the next morning. There are plenty of hotel options in Kathgodam..