Roopkund – The most popular of them all!
If you are into trekking in India, the Roopkund trek is a must do! It’s got everything going for it. Deep virgin forests, gurgling brooks, breath-taking campsites, miles of undulating meadows, snow and ice and the taste of a great adventure as you climb from 8,000 ft to 16,000 ft in 5 days.
Roopkund, perhaps the most popular trek in India, is almost picture perfect. The Roopkund trail climbs out of splendid dark forests suddenly bursting into Ali and Bedni Bugyal, arguably India’s most beautiful high altitude meadows. Out of the meadows the trail quickly gets into terrific alpine stretches. Climbing on snow to the Roopkund lake is a heart pounding thrill. The beautiful Mt Trishul looms over the setting getting closer as you climb higher, when at a ridge above Roopkund, only air separates the trekker from them and Trishul.
The meadows that make the trek unbeatable
The two gigantic alpine meadows of Ali Bugyal and Bedni Bugyal will blow your mind away. It almost feels like walking into the famous Windows XP wallpaper. Throughout the trek you’re fed with magnificent views of Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nandagunti. Apart from these two, you see the imposing Chaukhamba range, Neelkanth peak, Kedarnath, Kedar Dome and several other high risers on the Roopkund trek.
A great dose of adventure
The Roopkund trek offers the right dose of adventure with a bunch of steep climbs and slippery but fun descents. No roller coaster can give you the adrenaline rush you get as you walk along a sharp exposed ridge towards Junargali, while holding onto a rope. Although this part of the climb depends on a lot of factors such as weather and time of the day, if you want to be within the breathing space of Mount Trishul and Nanda Gunti, this is the place to be.
Apart from all this, the Roopkund Lake also carries an element of mystery with it. The 300 human skeletons at 15,750 feet have intrigued anthropologists, scientists and historians alike. Trek this trail and let our local guides (who happen to be great storytellers) narrate to you the suspense filled stories about the lake and the trail itself.
The base camp- Lohajung
After a glimpse at Tharali, the sight of Nanda Ghunti welcomes you to Lohajung. A village with wonderful views of Didina valley, Lohajung is a nerve centre of 12-15 villages. The name, as the locals say, comes from the myth that Goddess Parvati had a war (jung) with a demon Lohasur here. There is one local store where you can buy jackets, hand gloves, caps, shoes etc. if need be. However, it is advised that you carry all required things for trek beforehand and not rely on this shop. You will have mobile network in most parts of this village.
If you have a day to spare, you can go on a trek to Ajan Top. A sweeping bugyal with a temple perched on it’s top, Ajan Top makes for a perfect excursion. You get wonderful views of Maiktoli from here.
An hour’s drive from Lohajung is Wan —where your trek starts on Day 2. On this drive, you will catch a fleeting glimpse of Trishul before it gets hidden. No matter, your day will end with you seeing the mountain again!
Your Day 2’s trek will be for 4 hours as you trek from 8,000 ft to 10, 000 ft. From Wan, your trek begins with a steep ascent over a cemented trail to a ridge– and then descends down to gurgling Neel Ganga. From here is the winding ascent through dense, beautiful oak and rhododendron forests. A green trekker’s hut and a massive view of Trishul signals your first campsite: Ghairoli Patal. In a few days, you will look up at Trishul peak towering above you over the cliffs of Roopkund!
Your Day 3 starts with a climb through oak and rhododendron forest in the easterly direction. The sun filters in through the forest making you feel like a part of a Lord of the Rings movie set. Suddenly, the forests fall behind and out you pop into the meadows of Ali Bugyal. Take off your shoes to soak in this rolling carpet of green, scooped out of the mountain side. The trek ends at Bedni Bugyal- possibly the most beautiful campsite there is. The sunset colouring the snows of Trishul is a sight you are not likely to forget.
Day 4 is your rest day at Bedni camp. You have climbed from 10,000 ft from the forests of Ghairoli to 11, 500 ft of Bedni. Your body needs time to acclimatise. Trek up to Bedni Top to enjoy the views of the mountains on the other side : Neelkanth, Mrigathuni, Maiktoli, and Chaukhamba..
Day 5’s trail climbs out of Bedni and moves along a length of meadow country to the very last of the grasslands. It is a trekker’s paradise! Ghora Lotani is last of the meadows as it merges into the mountain. The mules (kacchars) turn back here. Throughout the day, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti stay with you. You are entering the alpine zone of your trek soon and the sense of adventure punches into your gut. Right in front of you, is your next day’s zigzag climb to Kalu Vinayak.
Day 6 is crucial. The distance to Kalu Vinayak isn’t much, but you gain altitude rapidly- from 12,200 ft to 14,500. Take your time to climb and get your body used to the thin air. Kalu Vinayak is a small shrine dedicated to a black idol of Ganesha. From here, you can see the Roopkund flank. The lake is inside the tarn of the mountain, hidden from view. Trishul towers over it all. The sight is jaw dropping.
A gradual descent of 2 kms from here takes you to the icy terrain of Bhagwabasa. Standing at Bhagwabasa is like standing on an airplane. The clouds move from below you, buffeted up by strong winds to the mountain side. Trishul and Nanda Ghunti play hide and seek. In front of you is Chandania Kot and Kali Dhak. In the crater of these mountains is your destination: Roopkund.
The climb for next day looks overwhelming. The excitement burns in your nerves!
You are in for an adventure on Day 7! You will start at 4 am, when the moon still shines on the snow peak of Trishul. Put on your microspikes and a climb starts on glistening snow. For two hours, the climb goes on the snowy flanks without a glimpse of the lake. At one point, you will be on all fours! The lake doesn’t show up until the last two minutes of the climb. Over the ridge, is Roopkund. The lake is bigger than you imagined, bigger than what the internet pictures suggest. Cliffs rising above the lake form shadows over it. Your voice will echo in the deathly silence. This is an incredible moment.
The icing to this adventure is the climb to Junargali which you brings you face to face with Trishul. The climb isn’t long but it is steep ! Our technical guides will be there to help you through this section as it requires ropes.
After your heart has taken a fill of Roopkund, descend to the grasslands of Patar Nachauni.
Day 8 sees a quick descent through the meadows of Bedni and down to the forests of Ghairoli Patal. There is a sense of elation pumping through your veins as you run down meadows, oak and rhododendron forests. After a steep ridge descent down to idyllic Neel Ganga, take a break to wash off the grime of the trek. Climb up the ridge to Wan, and spend some time with centuries old Cyprus trees. A short descent later, you are back in civilisation.
Whom is the trek meant for?
This trek is perfect for someone who’s looking for the whole package – Trekking in thick forests, in the meadows and in snow. It is more suitable for you if you have been on a couple of Himalayan treks before and if your fitness levels are high, since it falls in the Moderate-Difficult category. Anyone above the age of 8 can attempt this trek.
Difficulty level & Preparation
The first day happens to be the hardest day of the trek with an ascent of 2600 feet. If you get through this, the rest of the trek is quite easy. The summit day can seem hard for some since the air gets thin, as you ascend to 15,750 ft and you tend to get tired every few steps. This is normal for any high altitude trek and also a good way to build your lung capacity and endurance.
The Roopkund trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty. This requires not only stamina but also a good amount of strength. You cannot think of stepping on the Roopkund trek without preparation.
What are the risks involved?
The base camp itself being at 7,600 feet makes trekkers prone to AMS starting from the first day. It is highly recommended that you go on a course of Diamox to avoid this. If this happens to be your first trek and you haven’t prepared enough, there are high chances that you’ll have muscle fatigue throughout the trek. In case of rain, the trek difficulty almost doubles as the path gets very slippery, so it is important to wear a good pair of shoes. Sometimes, the snow conditions (especially during May and June) can make it hard since the trail disappears but our expert technical guides are trained for worse conditions and dig up a trail in no time.
Day 1: Reach Lohajung; 10-11 hours. Pick up from Kathgodam at 6:30 AM. Cost of cab – Rs.5,500 per vehicle to be shared by trekkers.
Day 2: Drive from Lohajung (7,700 ft) to Wan (8,000 ft). Trek to Ghairoli Patal (10,000 ft); 1 hour drive + 4 hours trek
Day 3: Ghairoli Patal (10,000 ft) to Bedni Bugyal (11,500 ft); 2 hours
Day 4: Excursion to Bedni Top (12,200 ft)
Day 5: Bedni Bugyal (11,500 ft) to Patar Nachauni (12,700 ft); 4 hours
Day 6: Patar Nachauni (12,700 ft) to Bhagwabhasa (14,100 ft); 5 hours; 3 hours steep ascent to Kalu Vinayak (14,300 ft)
Day 7: Bhagwabasa (14,100 ft) to Roopkund (15,750 ft), and further up to Junargali (16,000 ft). Return to Patar Nachauni via Bhagwabasa; 9 hours
Day 8: Patar Nachauni (12,700 ft) to Lohajung (7,700 ft) via Bedni and Wan; 6½ hours trek to Wan plus 1 hour drive back to Lohajung
Day 9: Drive from Lohajung to Kathgodam
Detailed trek itinerary
Day 1: Getting to the base camp – Lohajung
- Altitude: 7,700 ft
- Time taken: 10-11 hours drive. Pick up from Kathgodam Railway station at 6:30 AM
It is a 10-11 hour journey from Kathgodam to Lohajung. Read in detail about getting to Lohajung here.
After a glimpse at Tharali, the sight of Nanda Ghunti welcomes you to Lohajung. A village with wonderful views of Didina valley, Lohajung is a nerve centre of 12-15 villages. The name, as the locals say, comes from the myth that Goddess Parvati had a war (jung) with a demon Lohasur here. There is one local store where you can buy jackets, hand gloves, caps, shoes etc. if need be. However, it is advised that you carry all required things for trek beforehand and not rely on this shop. You will have mobile network in most parts of this village.
If you have a day to spare, you can go on a trek to Ajan Top. A sweeping bugyal with a temple perched on it’s top, Ajan Top makes for a perfect excursion. You get wonderful views of Maiktoli from here.
Day 2: Drive from Lohajung to Wan. Trek to Ghairoli Patal
- Altitude: Drive from 7,700 ft. Start trek from 8,000 ft to 10,000 ft.
- Time taken: 1 hour drive to Wan + 4 hour trek from Wan to Ghairoli Patal
- Trail type : Initial 30-45 minutes ascent to Ran Ka Dhar followed by a 20 minute descent to the river Neel Ganga. A stiff climb of 3 hours from Neel Ganga to Ghairoli Patal.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Lohajung. You can refill your water bottles at Neel Ganga.
Start from Wan, a village situated at an hour’s drive from Lohajung. The initial trail is cemented and through a cluster of houses. 15 minutes into your trek, you will find a cluster of centuries old Cypress trees. It would take four people to circumvent the tree! Try hugging it.
From here, there are two trails you can spot. One goes straight ahead to ridge. The second one acts as deviation to Latu Devta temple. Latu Devta is a local deity, who is believed to protect the area. The mountain folk pay obeisance to him before ascending higher on the Nanda Devi Jat Yatra. Ring the temple bell here for a safe trek before going back to the ascending trail to ridge – Ranaka Dhar. It takes 30-45 minutes to ascend from Wan to Ranaka Dhar.
At Ranaka Dhar, take in the view of Lohajung, Wan and the valley below! The name Ranaka Dhar comes from the battle Parvati had with the demon Lohasur. Their battle, which started in Lohajung, culminated here. The name Ranaka Dhar means “flowing blood”.
From here, it is a short descent to the gurgling Neel Ganga. The bridge on Neel Ganga is an idyllic location to take a breather. Trees overhang the river and the water trips and falls over boulders in the shade. The water here is cool and refreshing.
From here begins the beautiful ascent to the first camp site, Ghairoli Patal. The trail now winds through Oak and Rhododendron forests and the path is strewn with dry leaves that crunch and crackle beneath your trekking shoes. There are walnut, pear, Himalayan roses and other flora you can find on this climb. You may even spot birds like a flycatcher, and magpies. Keep a look out.
This is a trek of about 3 hours that brings you to a clearing with a green trekker’s hut and a welcome sight of Trishul. This is Ghairoli Patal.
- Altitude: 10,000 ft to 11,500 ft
- Time taken: 2 hours
- Trail type: Stiff climb for about 2 hours to Ali Bugyal followed by a gentle trail to Bedni Bugyal.
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water from the camp site.
The trail begins to climb steeply into the Oak and Rhododendron forest. And after half an hour of ascending stoned steps, the trail opens up to a huge meadow. Take the trail to right that will take you to Ali Bugyal.
- Altitude: 11,500 feet to 12,200 ft
- Time taken: 1 hour
- Trail type: Steep climb to the Bedni top.
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water from the camp site.
Acclimatization day at Bedni Bugyal includes a leisurely stroll to Bedni top. From here you get a bird’s eye view of the Bedni Bugyal campsite as well as Maiktoli, Neelkanth, Chaukhambha and Mrigathuni.
Day 5: Bedni Bugyal to Patar Nachauni
- Altitude: 11,500 ft to 12,700 ft
- Time taken: 4 hours
- Trail type: Easy climb at the beginning to a saddle followed by gradual descent to Patar Nachauni
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water from the camp site.
The trail to Patar Nachauni climbs out of the Bedni campsite in a gradual, easy meander. From your Bedni campsite you can follow it with your eye for 3 kms before it disappears into a saddle in the mountain.When you cross the saddle, the trek exposes you to the other side of the ridge. The scenery is differently mesmerizing. For the first time you also see remnants of the winter snow on the mountain flanks (on the other side).
It is still meadow country and below you are the meadows of Ghora Lotani, the last stop for the horses. Beyond Ghora Lotani the meadows merge into the mountain side.
There are two ways to catch the trail to Patar Nachauni and Bhagwabhasa beyond. The easier option is to retrace your steps of yesterday to the point where you left the main trail to get into the Bedni campsite enclave (5-7 mins walk backwards). Get on the Roopkund trail and carry on your hike up and above the Bedni campsite. Another option is to start from your campsite, skirt the Bedni Kund from the right, climb up the slope behind the Kund, and climb further up to the trail from any direction you deem fit. This will save you half an hour to 45 mins of trekking time, but can leave you breathless.
Ghora Lotani makes an excellent campsite. In fact an additional day spent at Ghora Lotani will help to acclimatise to the altitude, plus offer you great views. It offers as good views as Bedni and has the added bonus of a strange sense of isolation. You can just about camp anywhere at Ghora Lotani, but ideally look to camp near the end of the meadows. A clear stream spews out of the side of slope and makes for a very good water source. Another place to camp is Patar Nachauni, where you head up a bit to the saddle and stay in the ecoshelters. The view here is beautiful though a bit exposed to the winds. Here, on your left you can see a trail that heads down to Bhuna and further on to Sitel and Suthol. There is a trail from here to Kuari Pass.
Upwards is your climb to Kalu Vinayak. The saddle signals the end of the meadows.
Day 6: Patar Nachauni to Bhagwabhasa
- Altitude: 12,700 ft to 14,100 ft
- Time taken: 5 hours
- Trail type: A 3 hour steep ascent to Kalu Vinayak followed by a gradually descending trail to Bhagwabhasa
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water from the camp site.
The climb to Kalu Vinayak is a steep zig-zag up the mountain side and will take you to 14,500 ft. The distance isn’t much, and the zig-zag trails makes you gain height very rapidly. Climb this section very slowly. There really is no hurry and even if you are the slowest on the team you can reach Bhagwabasa in comfortable time. Take 10 minute breaks every 15 minutes. This is a crucial height where most trekkers feel the thinness in the air. You get breathless very soon and sometimes even feel dizzy. This would be okay if you did not have to do the Roopkund climb the next day. Most folks climb this section like any other climb and find it difficult to acclimatise to the Roopkund altitude later on. Treat this section as the most crucial bit of your trek.
In climbing time it takes around 1½ hrs to climb to Kalu Vinayak. Stretch it to 2½ hrs, even if you can climb quicker. By doing this, you’ll find your body adjusting to the increased height and the lack of oxygen. Climbing to Kalu Vinayak is a thrill and every time you look up and take a bend on the trail, the ridge line gets closer, drawing you, inspiring you. Around you are the green, sheer mountainside. Below, you can follow the trail that you took from the first saddle over Ghora Lotani and finally to Kalu Vinayak.
Kalu Vinayak gets its name from the black Ganesh idol enclosed in a stone shrine just as you finish the climb from Ghora Lotani. Lots of temple bells and a large plate for you to make a donation. Everyone offers a prayer here for a safe pilgrimage to Roopkund. A donation of Rs 10/- is standard. Some offer biscuits instead. Choose! Beside the Kalu Vinayak shrine and right next to it you hit your first patch of snow.
The trail from Kalu Vinayak to Bhagwabasa is easy and gently sloping downwards. Bhagwabasa is 2 kms away and you can see the Bhagwabasa huts if you follow the trail with your eye. The trail meanders through snow patches. Be careful on these snow patches. In June, by mid-day, they get soft and you can find yourself sinking to your knees in them. Step gingerly, quickly and skip your way across them. Better still, skirt around them.
Bhagwabasa is a cluster of stone huts put up by enterprising locals. The charge is on a bed basis. It could be Rs 150 to Rs 200 per bed depending on the season. On lean seasons the rates could go down to Rs 50. If you are staying at Bhagwabasa the locals will also cook for you at an additional cost. Carry your own sleeping bag – the nights are extremely cold. If you are carrying tents, then don’t pitch camp at Bhagwabasa. Move ahead for another 5 minutes and you get a campsite on your left. This is Hunia Thal, a small clearing. There’s space enough for 4 tents and no more. The place is rocky, but you don’t have much of an option. If the sky is clear and the team is fit, it is a good idea to attempt Roopkund in the afternoon. The next day serves as an additional buffer.
At Bhagwabasa, nights turn extremely cold. Inside tent temperatures dip to 1°C. Outside measured at -2°C at 2.30 in the night. These are mid summer temperatures. In September-October temperature will dip further to -5°C or -6°C. Bhagwabasa is windy too. In the wind chill the -2°C feels like -6°C. You need to put on all your warm clothing and then get inside your sleeping bag to brave the night.
Day 7: Bhagwabasa to Roopkund, and further up to Junargali. Return to Patar Nachauni via Bhagwabasa
- Altitude: 14,100 ft to 15,750 ft to 16,000 ft (at Junargali) and down to 12,200 ft
- Time taken: 3 hours to Roopkund + 2.5 hours return to Bhagwabasa + 3.5 hours return to Patar Nachauni
- Trail type: Gradual ascent to Roopkund with the last 20 minutes consisting of steep switch backs. 20-25 minutes steep climb to Junargali. Tricky descent on the switchbacks from Roopkund. Descending trail to Patar Nachuani.
- Water sources: None. Carry 2 litres of water from the camp site before you set off for Roopkund and refill your water bottles before starting for Patar Nachauni.
You need to start your push to Roopkund at 4:00 am. The sooner the better. You need to climb up to Roopkund while the snow is still hard. In the mid morning the snow becomes soft and your feet start sinking in. You want to avoid this. There’s plenty of snow even in the middle of summer.
From Bhagwabasa it is a 5 kms gradually ascending walk to Roopkund. Towards the end the trail climbs sharply through a series of switchbacks and a steep climb over a snowy flank to reach Roopkund. The stretch isn’t long, but the entire stretch is on snow patches. At some parts the slope is steep but most parts are easily trekkable. Those trekking alone need to carry ice-axes to cut steps on the snow.
It takes about 2½ hrs to climb up to Roopkund. Ideally, if you have started at 5.00 am then you are going to get to Roopkund by 7.30 or 8.00 am. The climb is deliriously exhilarating. The last stretch of climbing over the snowy flank on the left requires support of all four limbs, but is over in 10 mins. Roopkund is right over the edge, two minutes away and yet you can’t see it unless you get there.
Roopkund is a crater on the mountain face, a dip at the cusp of the mountain. It is much bigger than what most internet pictures suggest. All around are snowy flanks of the mountain. You have to actually climb down 50 ft to reach the edge of the lake. GPS readings suggest that Roopkund is not more than 15,750 feet. Whatever the altitude, you will feel the thinness of the air. Climbing a few steps takes your breath away.
The Roopkund Mystery
The “Skeleton Lake” has intrigued anthropologists, scientists, historians and the local people ever since. Who were these people? What were they doing in the inhospitable regions of the Garhwal Himalayas? Local folklore has it that in medieval times, King Jasdhawal of Kanauj wanted to celebrate the birth of an heir by undertaking a pilgrimage to the Nanda Devi mountains in the Garhwal Himalaya. However, he disregarded the rules of pilgrimage by boisterous singing and dancing. The entourage earned the wrath of the local deity, Latu. They were caught in a terrible hailstorm and were thrown into the Roopkund lake!
Trekkers must attempt Junargali unless the weather does not permit it. From Roopkund, the sharp ridge line that towers above you is Junargali. It doesn’t take much time to get to Junargali. The route is over snow that gently inclines upwards until it reaches the face of the mountain. After which it is a steep clamber on the mountain face to reach Junargali. The climb isn’t for long; perhaps 250 ft. It gets over in perhaps 15-20 minutes. Care must be taken while you are climbing to Junargali. A rope with you is very handy.
The Return from Roopkund
Start your return by 9.30 am from Junargali, timing yourself such that you are back at Roopkund by 10.00 am and after a brief rest, you are on your way down. Trekkers often find getting down from Roopkund difficult. The snowy slope looks tricky and dangerously sloping. You may need to squat on all fours to negotiate the immediate flank of snow as you get off Roopkund. This is the difficult part but the lower you get, it gets easier progressively. Once out of the switchback descent, it is a easy walk back to Bhagwabasa. However, step carefully on the snow patches. By mid morning they are soft and slippery. Always trek down in small groups. You should reach Bhagwabasa within 2½ hours. There is a 5km descend from Bhagwabhasa to Patha Nachauni which you will cover in 3 hours. You can camp at Pathar Nachauni for the night.
Day 8: Patar Nachauni to Lohajung via Bedni and Wan
- Altitude: 12,200 ft to 7000 ft via 11,500 ft and 8000 ft
- Time taken: 6½ hrs to Wan plus 1 hr drive back to Lohajung
- Trail type: Descending trail right through, gets steep from Gaehroli Patal to Neel Ganga; short ascending stretch from Neel Ganga to Ranka Dhar.
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from the camp site. You can refill your water bottles at Neel Ganga.
There is a sense of elation as you return through Bedni. And the oak forest over Wan is just the icing on the cake that you want. Retrace your path to Bedni Bugyal. Pass the Bedni campsite and take the trail heading to the right and below. 20 minutes later, you get to the tree line and sharp descent that signals the end of the meadows. Watch for the descending trail on your right. The main trail moves ahead to Ali Bugyal.
Run down into the oak and Rhododendron forest. Half an hour into your decent, you get to a clearing. The green trekker’s huts signals Ghairoli Patal. On a clear day, you get astounding views of Mt Trishul commandeering over the area. Rest here and if your team is not in a hurry, step into the flat oak forest on your right. The setting is straight out of a movie set with beams of light streaming in from above and a crunchy cover of brown leaves below. Spend sometime here at the wonder of nature and rejoin the trail.
It is a steep ridge descent to the Neel Ganga. Quicker trekkers reach the river in one and a half hours. The slower ones take two. Take your time because you will rarely see a more wondrous stretch of forest cover. The bridge on the Neel Ganga is an idyllic location to wash the dirt and grime of the week long trek. Trees overhang the river and the water trips and falls over boulders in the shade. The water is cool and refreshing.
From the river it is a short half hour climb to the ridge above Wan village. After spending days in the wilderness, you finally come to a busy civilization. Some welcome it and some hate it. There are many routes to the bottom of the Wan village, and all roads eventually lead down to the road junction (Kasar Bagad) near the hydel project. It takes about an hour and half to get down to Kasar Bagad. It is a steep descent.
There is an alternative longer route to get down to Wan. From the ridge top of Wan, take the main trail that runs to the right. Follow the trail until it reaches the Cyprus trees at the lower Wan village. Spend time looking at the Cyprus trees because they are centuries old. A short descent later you touch the road. You can ask your vehicle to meet you at this junction. From Kasar Bagad regular vehicles ply to Lohajung and you get a welcome cup of tea at Hari Singh Bugyali’s shop. By Jeep, it is an hours drive to Lohajung over a road that bumps and rattles all the way. The thrill of the ride stays for many days to come.
Day 9: Drive to Kathgodam from Lohajung
Depart for Kathgodam. Expected to reach Kathgodam by 7pm.
How to get fit for the Roopkund trek
The Roopkund trek is classified as a trek of moderate difficulty. You cannot think of stepping on the Roopkund trek without preparation. Too many trekkers get on the Roopkund trek with fifteen days of walking practice. That’s dangerous. Roopkund is not a difficult trek but it is not a cakewalk either. Those who come under prepared are almost always counting the pebbles on the trek rather than appreciating the scenery around them. Our trek leaders are compelled to return some of them to the base camp after a few days trek.
Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60 minutes before the start of the trek
The Rupin Pass trek requires a good amount of endurance and stamina. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to get to 10 km in 70 minutes
Before the start of the trek, get to 10 km in 60 minutes.
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each set
This is another area you should work on. The Roopkund trek has something beautiful about it. With every big climb comes a lovely flat section. So the whole trek is like a staircase: A climb, followed by a flat, followed by a climb and then again a flat. If you are going in the months of May and June, you have to walk through snow. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
What to take on the Roopkund trek
- Trekking shoes: You will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.
If you are going for the Roopkund trek in May, be prepared to walk on snow. Here, micro-spikes come in handy and these will be provided by us.
- Three warm layers: Starting from Pathar Nachauni campsite, you experience strong cold winds especially in the months of September and October. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
- Three trek pants: One pair of pants should suffice for this trek. But you can carry one spare pair in case the first one gets wet. Wear one pair and carry one pair.
- Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
- Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.
- Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. These are more important in May and early June. There might be snow at the upper campsites regardless of the season. So carry a pair of sunglasses.
- Suncap: The sun is intense at higher altitudes and a sun cap is absolutely essential to keep your face and neck safe from sun burns.
- Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof gloves.
- Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
- Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
- Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. If you plan to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you do not leave the used wipes/tissues back in the mountains since these are not biodegradable. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
- Two water bottles: 1 litre each
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
Mandatory Personal Medical Kit
- Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
- Dexmathasone- one strip
- Nifedipine- 5 tablets
- Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
- Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
- Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
- Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
- Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
- Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
- Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
- Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
- Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
- Gauze – 1 small roll
- Band aid – 10 strips
- Cotton – 1 small roll
- ORS – 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
- Disclaimer (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
- Medical certificate (to be filled by a doctor) – Download PDF
If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.
Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek –
Trek fee: Rs. 10,950/-*
*GST at 5% is payable on the trek fee
- Accommodation during the trek (camping)
- All meals – vegetarian (starting from dinner at Lohajung on Day 1 and ending with breakfast at Lohajung on Day 9)
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
- Transport to and from the base camp (Kathgodam to Lohajung and back)
- Food during transit to and from the base camp
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1500* plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs 350 per day plus GST of 5%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
- Stay at Kathgodam on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from the inclusions
Terms & Conditions
1. The trek fee includes all cost of the trek from the start at Lohajung base camp to the end at Lohajung
2. Pick up and transport: Indiahikes organizes pick up and drop from Kathgodam on request from trekkers. Trekkers are picked up from Kathgodam railway station at 6:30 am. All trekkers of the batch travel together in Sumo/Bolero vehicles. 5-6 trekkers in one vehicle. A full vehicle costs Rs. 5,500 one way. Participants are expected to share the cost likewise. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost.
3. Backpack carrying: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charge for the entire trek duration is Rs.1500 plus 5% GST. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
4. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.
Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.
Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.
5. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. You should be able to jog a distance of 5 km in 30 mins, 4 times a week. Unable to do so can make your trek difficult. In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
6. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.
7. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.
8. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.
The cancellation charges are as under:
Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.
9. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.
10. Safety Protocol:
a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.
c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.
How safe is the Roopkund trek?
The altitude gain is a risk component in the Roopkund trek. As you go higher the availability of oxygen gets lower. With lower levels of oxygen, managing the climbs is not easy. You really need to climb slowly allowing your body to acclimatize to the lower oxygen levels. It is therefore highly advisable to be on a course of Diamox.
There are three sections that will push you hard. The first is on day one of the trek. You set out from Wan village with a climb to the top of the ridge that hangs over the village. That’s an hours climb easily. Then there’s a lovely descent to the Neel Ganga river. From the river it is an outright climb of 3½ hrs to Ghairoli Patal campsite. Especially for a first day’s trek it leaves your heart pumping. The good news is, it is an excellent preparation for the rest of the days. Plus the Ghairoli Patal campsite makes it worth the climb.
On the fourth day, there is a stiff climb from Patar Nachauni to Kaluvinayak. It is a switch back climb (zig zag) gaining elevation quickly. It is over in two hours. But at that altitude your legs and lungs will scream. On the fifth day, when you climb Roopkund from Bhagwabasa, it is another big climb. It takes about 3 hours to get to Roopkund, usually on snow. The excitement of the day, though, makes everyone forget the climb. There are moderate climbs in between, especially on day two and three, but not something that will stretch you.
At Indiahikes, safety of a trekker comes first. You will experience it first hand on the slope. Your team is accompanied by experienced trek leaders, safety gears, high end trek equipment, high altitude first aid kits and most importantly the right information.
If there is a medical emergency on the trek, your trek leaders are trained to handle crisis, especially related to altitude and medical emergencies. Indiahikes team carries high altitude medical equipment, oxygen cylinders, and other emergency kits.
Most situations are resolved by the trek leader’s intervention. If, however, evacuation is required, it is carried out by the Indiahikes team. The affected participant is moved down to the nearest emergency medical centre as soon as possible. This can take time, even 1-2 days, especially from high camps. Medical expenses, if required, at the medical centre are to be borne by the participant.
What are the risks on the Roopkund Trek?
The Roopkund trek is a moderate difficult one. It goes upto 15,750 ft. And with every high altitude trek comes a flurry of risks – altitude sickness being the biggest risk. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
But we strongly advocate the statement,”Prevention is better than cure.” Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Roopkund trek. Anyone who wants to register for the trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Acclimatisation day at Bedni Bugyal
Often ignored, rest is a very essential to avoid getting hit by altitude sickness. Bedni Bugyal at 11,700 ft is the perfect place to let your body adjust to the thin air. As you explore the vast meadows of Ali and Bedni your body gets ready for the higher altitudes of Bagwabasa and Roopkund.
3. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Roopkund trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein he will be entering details about his health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.
4. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.
5. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much scree or moraine.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Roopkund trek
If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.
First thing you should know is that Roopkund is a Very High Altitude trek. It climbs up to an altitude of 15,750 ft. So it comes with its fair share of risks – altitude sickness, lack of easy exit points, unfriendly terrain and extreme altitude gain.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS is one of the biggest dangers on a high altitude trek like Roopkund. AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.
Where on the Roopkund trek is AMS likely to affect you:
Over years of conducting the Roopkund trek, we have noticed that there are some campsites where trekkers are most prone to be hit by AMS. Let’s take you through the trek so that you know where it is likely to occur and what precautions you can take.
On the Roopkund trek, all campsites are prone to AMS. As you move up the dangers become more. It is because of this reason that we have a slow pace of ascent with a rest day at Bedni Bugyal followed by a camp at Pathar Nachauni before hitting Bhagwabasa.
Though the risks are minimized with the slow ascent, AMS can strike at Bhagwabasa, or at Patarnachauni even on the way back. Most trekkers believe that the fear of AMS does not exist on the way down. The truth is that you may have missed noticing symptoms at high camp and it starts increasing on the way down.
What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.
As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour. If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage.
The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. In addition to that, the acclimatisation day at Bedni helps trekkers get enough rest before gaining more altitude. We have noticed that around 90% of the trekkers get acclimatised by the end of the acclimatisation day.
If you’re not at your 100% at the end of Day 5, then again, report to your Trek Leader. He will make you descend to Wan, where you will be fine.
If you face any of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness, don’t take them lightly. Report them to your trek leader immediately.
If Diamox alone doesn’t work, he might administer Dex or Nifedipine, or perhaps oxygen, depending on the circumstances.
Especially on the Roopkund trek, AMS is very common. While AMS can be treated with medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Exit points on the Roopkund trek:
The safest point on a trek where a trekker can descend to and rest is considered an Exit Point. On the Roopkund trek, there is only one exit point – Wan. The ideal campsite to descend to would be Wan/Lohajung(8000 ft), and if possible all the way down to Debal(5,700 ft). There are no exit points as all campsites fall under the danger altitude of 10,000 ft.
For any advanced treatment, Karanprayag is the closest well-equipped hospital in the area. It is a 4 hour drive from Lohajung. Vehicles will be available at Lohajung.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker.
If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
The video below will help you understand what medicines to administer when and how much. Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.
It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
Garima Jain chose Roopkund as her first Himalayan trek with her husband! She says she will go back a thousand times over to this trek – and her blog shows you why she fell in love with the trail!Read More
Back from his fourth trek to Roopkund, Green Trails Intern Nikshep gives an account of the work that is being done on the slopes. He felt awful to see the sorry plight of holy places. But the enthusiasm of local staff and their awareness of green practices gives him hope for the future.Read More
Trekking tips and advice
How to get to the basecamp – Lohajung
Delhi → Kathgodam→ Lohajung
The Roopkund trek begins Lohajung (8,600 ft), 230 km from Kathdodam. It is a tiny pass, that slips in through the Gwaldam face of the mountain and into the Wan valley. The route to Lohajung is via Almora — Gwaldam — Tharali — Debal — Mundoli — Lohajun
Indiahikes arranges transport from Kathgodam Railway station at 6.00 am on Day 1. The cab fare is Rs.5,500 per vehicle. This will have to be shared by trekkers. You can pay the driver directly.
Take the Ranikhet Express from Delhi. It leaves at 10.30 pm from Old Delhi Railway Station and reaches Kathgodam at 5.05 am.
To reach Kathgodam
Take the Ranikhet Express from Delhi. It leaves at 22.40 pm from Old Delhi Railway Station. This train reaches Kathagodam at 5.30 am.
What happens if you don’t get tickets on the Ranikhet Express?
Ranikhet express is a crowded train and often gets booked many days in advance. Firstly, don’t look for an AC ticket. It is an overnight journey and even sleeper berths are comfortable. Book a Tatkal ticket. Your chance of getting a sleeper ticket in Tatkal is very high. If, for some reason, you still don’t get a ticket on the Ranikhet express, there are two options for you.
Take the earlier day’s Sampark Kranti from Old Delhi, which leaves at 4 pm. Tickets on the Sampark Kranti are usually easy to get as it is a day seating train. Stay overnight in a hotel at Kathgodam and join the team vehicle the next morning. KMVN Tourist Guest Home at Kathgodam is a good place to halt for the night. KMVN is Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, a government tourist guest home, 500 metres from the railway station. The place is decent and clean. You can contact them on 05942-231436, +91 7055715251 or book online at http://www.kmvn.gov.in/
Take an overnight bus from Delhi’s Anand Vihar ISBT to Kathgodam. Volvo buses leave Anand Vihar around 9 pm. It is usually an 8 hour journey. There is no online booking, so arrive a couple of hours early at Anand Vihar to book your tickets. No advanced reservation is required. Try to get to Kathgodam early (by 6 am) to catch the Indiahikes pickup at the station.
Lohajung → Kathgodam → Delhi
The Roopkund trek ends at Lohajung. We arrange transport from Lohajung to Kathgodam Railway Station. This cost is not included in the trek fee and it costs Rs.5,500 per cab (Tata Sumo), which is shared by trekkers. You will reach Kathgodam at around 6 pm.
If you are travelling further from Kathgodam, you can book your transport post 8 pm, keeping two hours as buffer time in case of road blocks in the mountain roads.
What you see on the Kathgodam to Lohajung drive
The drive is a nice prelude to the trek and has number of things to watch our for. 20 minutes after you leave the plains of Kathgodam, you hit the largest lake in the Kumaon region! The drive takes you around the Bhimtal lake. There is a lovely water spot halfway around the lake. Good place to fill your bottles with cool mountain waters and take a good view of the lake. The shade is very inviting too.
At Bhowali, you see the diversion to Nainital, a hill town saturated with tourists. Pick up fresh apricots, and mangoes (if they are in season!) from here.
The modest Kainchi Dham ashram falls on the way to Almora. It is difficult to fathom that this nondescript ashram by the riverside attracted the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg! Steve Jobs visited the ashram in 1970s to understand his own vision for the future. If you use an Apple product at least you know where the inspiration is coming from!
Right before the bend to Kainchi Dham is a dhaba with the most delicious aloo paranthas. Try these!
Four hours from Kathgodam, perched on a ridge, is the massive hill town of Almora. It is so massive– it is almost a city! This is a transit point for trekkers and pilgrims alike. If you have time on your way back, make your way to Tagore Bhavan. It is said that Rabindranath Tagore wrote his collection for children (Shishu) here.
About an hour from here is the idyllic village of Kausani. This is where you get your first glimpse of the mountains you are going to see up close: Trishul and Nanda Ghunti. You can see Chaukhambha, Neelkanth, Mrigathuni, Nanda Devi and Panchachuli. It is an excellent place to take a break if you want to break your road journey over two days.
If you have a day to spare, explore the tea gardens of Kausani and don’t forget to pick some of this exquisite tea. In any case your car drives through these tea gardens.
A little ahead of Kausani, are the temple ruins of Baijanth. These shrines were built during the time Katyuri kings ruled the area: 7th to 11th century. One of the shrines lean like the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
An hour later, you are in Gwaldam where you get your first view of Lohajung. Gwaldam exists on the border of Kumaon and Garhwal region. This makes it culturally unique among the villages of Uttarakhand. Gwaldam is at a height and can get cold!
At Tharali, you get a glimpse of Nanda Ghunti and meet the Pindar river. The narrow road climbs rapidly, passing through Debal to get to Lohajung in about an hour and a half. Keep your woollens handy. Lohajung is already around 8,000 ft and in the evenings are cold.
If you want to reach the basecamp by yourself
If you would like to save costs then a combination of bus and shared jeeps is a good option. Take the first early morning bus out of Rishikesh that is heading to Badrinath. By mid-afternoon you should be at Karanprayag. Get down here and take any bus to Tharali. Any bus/jeep to Gwaldam will go via Tharali.
If bus is hard to come by, take a shared jeep available near the Karanprayag bus stand. Tharali is by the Pindar river and is about 44 kms from Karanprayag (2 hrs). From Tharali you won’t get much of bus options, but you can get plenty of shared jeeps that can take you to Debal. From Debal, take another jeep to Lohajung.
At Debal (Debal to Lohajung: 24 kms) Contact our transporter, Raju Shah Ji on +91 8979 321 600. He will help you with an onward transport to Lohajung
What you see on Rishikesh to Lohajung drive
This journey, while not as scenic as Kathgodam to Lohajung route, has a unique experience to offer. To watch the meeting of two rivers in prayags. All of these confluences are steeped in myths of the region.
In the beginning of your journey, you will see the holiest of the prayags: Devprayag. Alakananda and Bhagirathi meet to give birth to Ganga.
The next prayag you will see is when the emerald green Mandakini meets the Alakananda. The difference in colours of the rivers is stark! A dip at Rudraprayag is supposed to clear pilgrim of their hurdles.
The famous man-eating leopard of Rudraprayag was shot by Jim Corbett here. It is marked by a signboard!
By mid-afternoon you should be at Karnaprayag. Karnaprayag sees the feisty Pindar river meet its match with Alakananda. It is said that Karna got his invincibility (his armour) after meditation at this confluence. Another story says Krishna cremated Karna’s ashes at this confluence after the war.
The route to Tharali goes through quaint villages alongside Pindar river and climbs to Debal. You will reach Lohajung in half an hour.
Here’s what trekkers have to say about trekking with Indiahikes
“Yes its was awesome , nice camp sites also got very good support and help from all staffs and crew members at all levels of camps ,wonderful experience”- Sudheer K Y, batch of June 2016
“Loved it. Very innovative and effective. People need to be informed about not using water in coco-peat toilets though.”- Devarsh Kotak, batch of June 2016
“Trek was overall a good experience. Though the distance covered on the first day was a little unexpected.” Prathna Gandhi, batch of June 2016
” ‘Magical’ is one word, which I feel would justify my trekking experience! As this was my first high altitude trek.. It will always remain Special! :)” – Akshay Sai M, batch of June 2016
“The trek was memorable. We found everything during the trek, be it greenery, snow and rocks. The surrounding throughout the trek was breathtaking.”- Ajeet Jain, batch of June 2016
“Amazing, brilliant. The efforts put in by indiahikes is commendable.”- Saurav Gupta, batch of June 2016
“Trek experience was really wonderful. Cooks and people who set up the tents have a great job given the conditions in the Himalayan region. Apart from the very good IH staff, IH also has good contacts with the local people which will benefit the trekkers.”- Vidyashankar, batch of June 2016
“The trekk was very well organized. Hats off to all the India Hikes people who made this happen on time. The hot served food in the cold mountains was the best and yummy. Good luck to India Hikes.”- Karthik YS , batch of June 2016
“It was an awesome experience. I loved it!! Special thanks to SJ our trek leader!!”- Jairaj, batch of June 2016
“Liked the trek very much .”- Jaya Chikkalli, batch of June 2016
“Loved everything about it!very well organised. Everything was smooth and professional. Very nice to see that u take good medical precautions.”- Sonia, batch of June 2016
“It was an amazing experience worth its place in memory.”- Arjun Lal, batch of June 2016
“It was amazing. Trek leaders and all the background staff along with kitchen staff took care of us all the way.”- Ajay y bharadwaj, batch of June 2016
“The Trek was just Awesome and all the members had cherishing memories of the trek. The food was again superb with very good services / facilities were there during the Trek. The medical preparedness was outstanding.”- Chaitanya Trivedi, batch of June 2016
“The trek was amazing. Was happy with the preparations and other arrangements. What I felt was missing is the list if things that we should not carry, like we had carried lots of plastic bags for food items which then atleast I carried back to Mumbai and did not disposed of over there.”- Arti poddar, batch of June 2016
“My trek went awesome… And beautiful bcz of the Nature… There wer no difficulties faced may be Bcz of the good guidance and good food I guess…”- Bhavana Mehta, batch of June 2016
“It was good. No changes to be suggested”- Annapurni, batch of June 2016
“The trek was awesome. The trek lead took great care of each person. Though it was Bhim’s first batch as the lead, he did a great job. Indrajeet also was amazing as the Assistant trek lead.”- Aparna Mitta, batch of June 2016
“A thrill fill awesome escape to the hush&rush from city. I have been trekking for more than 2-3 years, this was the highest altitude i gained. Would like to pay special thanks to the trek leader SJ (SomuJeet if m not wrong as he was referring himself and SJ only) for his outstanding behaviour and care towards the team. Thank you Indiahikes.”- Ashar Khalid, batch of June 2016
“It was a beautiful trek. Loved every aspect of it. The trek is well broken down in to 5 days. The food kept us going and the people were very helpful.”- Sahil, batch of June 2016
“This was my first Himalayan trek and I think nothing more a first timer can expect than this. The high ranges of Himalayas, lush green Meadows, sound of rivers flowing through valley, mountains covered with snow and chill wind. Every day I start trek, I witness new version of nature. No question that reaching the summit is best part but journey is not less awesome than you would expect. Its true that you wont understand the trill until you experience it! and Roopkund was that experience for me.”- Ashish Nangare, batch of June 2016
“This was my first trek. It was awesome. The IH took care of all of us like family members. The arrangements were very neatly done. Thanks to the whole IH team.”- Deepica K, batch of June 2016
“Very interesting and full of knowledge.Ash for cleaning is not very good option because on high altitudes oil doesn’t come out. Instead of it you can wash utensils with water stream and use tissue paper afterwards. Coco peat toilet – is a good option but I didn’t try.”- Rajesh Kumar, batch of June 2016
“Considering the fact that this was my first Himalayan trek, It was just fabulous. It was way better than I had imagined. The trek, trail and the IH team were very good. Trek guide (Biruji), Sweeper (Gopal), ATL (Jude) were all very entertaining and ready to help at all times. Oshank (TL) did a great job in keeping the trekkers motivated and engaged during the entire trek duration. He was extremely resourceful and available for any assistance at all times. I am very glad to have been a part of this trek team.”- Utsav K Prakash, batch of June 2016
“The entire trek was well organised by India hikes.in the entire trek we got glimpses of the different shades of nature may it be in the lap of the vast green meadows or in front of the mighty trishul or in the colourful rainbow amidst the windy and snowy day of pathar nachauni or at the serene sight of roopkund.each and every day welcomed us with exquisite gifts from nature.thanks to the trek leader guides staffs technical team and my team members to make this journey a memory to cherish.”- Chandreyee raha, batch of June 2016
“Nestled comfortably in my 3 BHK apartment amidst a concrete jungle, I dreamt of deep virgin forests. I dreamt of luscious aroma of rain-soaked leaves, vast expanse of alluring meadows, blue rippling brooks, magnificent stretch of rugged meandering terrains and unconfined snowy flanks. I dreamt of waking up in breathtaking camp sites, seeing picturesque villages drenched in sunshine and confronting spine-chilling frigid winds. But oh boy! Howsoever surreal it may seem, Roopkund trail has it all. From tall oaks to stunted rhododendrons, from clamant Pathar Nachauni to idyllic Ali Bugyal, from gurgling Neel Ganga to tortuous Kalu Vinayak. Trek to Roopkund is a wholesome experience. It certainly packs a punch. I have tried to capture my complete experience in my blogpost here – http://abhijeetkumarsinha.blogspot.in/2016/05/travel-dairy-81-roopkund-strolling-in.html”- Abhijeet Sinha, batch of June 2016
“One of the ” Second-to-none ” experience of my lifetime. Saw every kind of possible weather conditions. Experienced nature at its peaceful, serene and harsh conditions. Met the right kind of people. Learnt the true meaning of discipline from the trek leaders and grew stronger as a human being. And the best part is this was our second wedding anniversary and Sushant (trek leader) managed to surprise us with a cake at 14000 ft high. Truly a priceless experience.”- Rakesh Karkera, batch of June 2016
“Trek was just awesome, right time , right weather, right people, very well organised.”- Pradeep, batch of June 2016
“It was very good as it was my first trekkGood support staff and concerns for environment”- Satyendra Singh, batch of June 2016
“Wonderfull…awesome…..The eco bag concept really nice moove…swachh parisar….”- Prashanth y, batch of June 2016
“I loved it, beauty of mountains and meadows mesmerized me.”- Shivanand parashar, batch of June 2016
“I had an amazing experience with Indiahikes. The arrangements made were quite well coordinated and organised. It was good in terms of food, tents, guides and most importantly, the trek leaders. They made the best attempts, instructed us aptly and took good care of us.”- Asmita Pant, batch of June 2016
“The trek was amazing. One of the most memorable experiences i have ever had. Really enjoyed my journey throughout.”- Saee Rohankar, batch of May 2016
“Overall I loved the trek. To start with i liked the amount of info on your site about trek regarding trek, fitness, things to carry, AMS, etc. convey my regards to documentation team. The email communication since the day i booked for trek is very pleasing. Very quick responses and timely emails with required info or follow up. In the trek, i would say few words about everyone. Salman is an amazing trek leader. He knows where to have friendly talk n serious talk. How to be with guides, kitchen staff and how to be with trekkers based on situations. He always had an eye on everyone overall the trek. He gives that feel of safety to everyone unknowingly. Harsh had been a great support to salman n entire trek team. Always been a call away. He became one of us. He is very composed, calm n cheerful person. Heard he literally taken someone along to summit. Our guide yogeshwarji is such a sport and very cheerful person. He enjoyed trek as much we did, literally ran down the mountains at times of need. Great support for trek leader. Our sweeper balbeer has such a patience n will to wait n pull the people along, carry their bags when they fail to, only the tailenders would know. A friend of mine told me that i would lose 4 to 5 kgs in such a high altitude trek, but honestly it is no surprise if many of us had put on weight at the end of the trek. Such was the food throughout the trek. It just blew everyone’s mind how they cook such yummy food in such harsh weather n locations. Convey our sincere thanks n warm hugs to all the kitchen staff and double thanks to gulab jamoons at bhagwabhasa site. Thanks won’t be enough for the effort salman and entire staff put in at patar nachauni site in return. They literally ran around in rain with ghastly and howling winds to serve us hot dinner in our tents and to give us good night sleep by tightening n gaurding our tents. Everyone of us had to think hard to suggest any improvement but i thought of one. Number of tents at bendi bugyal n next level sites were less than the tents at gheroli patal. So at bendi bugyal some of us had to adjust with 4 persons in a tent or two i guess. May not be due to number of tents but becuase of odd number of girls in the batch, we had to allocate tents such a way. In any case it would be great to have a spare tent in store or plan as per the people in batch. Fortunately or unfortunately one guy had to return from bedni bugyal due to health reasons so we didn’t have it in next camp sites. Just a feedback becuase you asked :)”- Vasanth kumar Anke, batch of May 2016
“This trek was a complete package with amazing experiences. The trek leaders and the technical team of India Hikes did a fabulous job. I will always cherish this.”- Pooja Chheda, batch of May 2016
“The trek was amazing the beauty the mountains the weather the service that you provided was exquisite I thank Salman, Harsh and the entire team on the camps that made this trek special for me.”- Rushabh Bhide, batch of May 2016
“This was first Himalaya trek for me and with India Hikes it was an awesome experience. Arrangements, management, food everything was great.”- Medha Rashmi Singh, batch of May 2016
“The trek was amazing. The help and guidance provided by the staff is above expectations. I would like to thank Dushyant, Jude, Bhagat Chacha, Krishna and other staff(especially the staff working behind the curtains) who have helped through out the trek without which this trek would not be as wonderful. It is really good that indiahikes team respects all the local staff by introducing them to us and encouraging them. A small gesture can certainly win hearts. The commitment showed by the staff to follow Green trails is remarkable. There are the ones who follow Green trails just for the sake to show the world and then there are the ones who actually commit to it and this commitment is really shown by India hikes.”- Sravan Ch, batch of May 2016
“Trek was one of the unique experiences of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment spent on the mountains. I would like to give full credit of this wonderful trek to our trek leader Dushyant and his team especially Bhagat chacha, Jude and Krishna. All my valid/ in- valid demands related to food were taken care of by Dushyant.( I don’t prefer onion in my food).”- Bhawana Bhatt, batch of May 2016
“Trek ‘oopkund ‘ was an awesome experience. India hikes team and trek lead had done a great job in facilitating every thing of need during the trek to the trekkers. In spite of bad weather conditions whole trek team was truly dedicated to their work and they managed every single thing in a great way.”- Anuj Bhatia, batch of May 2016
“It was my first trek in the himalayas and i did not expect so much of arrangements at that altitude. Things were just awesomely managed and the care to make sure the trail is left clean and undo the damage being done is commendable.”- Santosh Pawar, batch of May 2016
“Trek was simple amazing. each day’s schedule was so neatly planned and executed with very good TL, ATL and Guides. Facilities were at its best with accomodation, toilets etc. Food was at it’s tasty best. Fun games to get to know the group better are simply cool. It was a learning and loving experience to trek with India hikes. Cheers.”- Srikanth Thorthi, batch of May 2016
“This was my first Himalayan trek and I must admit it that for the first time in my life I did something which took me out of my comfort zone. Not only this trek helped me to learn a lot of things but also helped me to inculcate discipline in my life. The beauty of this trek for me was to understand that what persistent efforts and pushing yourself to do a bit more can help you achieve. I have never had such feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction in my entire life. To be able to see Roopkund lake was like my DREAM and the trek that i needed to do was like the EFFORT. Definitely I have learnt about the amount of effort you need to put in to achieve your dreams. Also I have surely grown in confidence and feel motivated. Obviously to see Roopkund lake was one of my dreams but it is not the only. I just wish that I could apply the learning’s to achieve all my other dreams and continue trekking as much as possible because even a small trek can work the wonders for you. Thanks.”- Abhishek Jain, batch of May 2016
“I loved the trek,if I could change something,i would have liked to extend a day or two,nothing else.”- Uday shah, batch of May 2016
“Roopkund is indeed one of the favourite treks for the variety of scenery one gets to see and the altitude one gains in quick time without realising.”- Sirish Patra, batch of May 2016
“Awesome experience.”- Shabarish Mitta, batch of May 2016
“It was phenomenal. It pushed my physical boundaries and helped me challenge myself.”- Nitin Goud, batch of May 2016
“Absolutely loved everything about the trek. Apart from the scenery which is a given in any case, i loved every initiative taken by IH to take care of trekkers.”- Aditya Bhat, batch of May 2016
“Loved the trek. Green trails was a brilliant initiative and i hope atleast most of the people will follow it regularly in their lives as well. The sweeper makes sure noone is left behind. Really good care is taken for everyone and it is impressive.”- Anupam Sarkar, batch of May 2016
“It was a great experience! Kudos to the entire team. Special thanks to Bhim(TL) and Indrajit(ATL) they were thoroughly professional yet very friendly and caring. They ensured that the trek goes smooth in every possible way. There were instances where the team went out of their way to ensure trekkers safety and comfort. Instance 1- It was starting to rain in Patar Nachauni, we had to collect our sleeping bags. Sitting in the tent we wonder how to go out and get our sleeping bags without getting wet. Before we could realize Indrajit storms by delivers 3 sleeping bags and says “close your tent quickly” Instance 2- At Bhagwa Bhasa, there’s a bad storm, as we sit in the tent we are really scared hearing the tent flutter haphazardly, we are sure the tent is going to fly. Suddenly, we hear some noise(somebody is securing the tent) and we hear Bhim’s reassuring voice “tent worst case phatega, udega nahi daro math”. These are tiny little things which make the best. I can go on to quote several such instances, but will stop here. The feedback would be incomplete without mentioning Pradhanji and Krishna, they were the most positive set of people I’ve met in my life. Overall a great show.”- Madhu Revanasiddappa, batch of May 2016
“The Trek was really awesome. This was my first high altitude trek. I was curious about each and everyday. It became very special since I made to junarkali as well. Thanks to IndiaHikes and my trek leaders Indajeet and Bhim”- Praveen Kumar NB, batch of May 2016
“Roopkund was an experience for a lifetime! The sheer variety this trek has to offer is incredible! You climb through forests, windy meadows, some rocky terrain, snow and sometimes you have no idea where you are going as you simply walk through clouds! The sun, rain, hailstones and strong winds leave you humbled by their vigor. And of course, the breathtaking views of Mt Trishul and Nanda Ghunti make everything worth it. The temples and stories on the way keep you intrigued and sometimes lead to the most interesting conversations and lessons. There is never a dull moment here and what can be better than experiencing nature in all its glory , with Indiahikes! The people and their passion for what they do is praiseworthy and inspiring! Overwhelming in all, this trek leaves you hungover for days to come!”- Samhita Balekai, batch of May 2016
“A Fabulous Trek and enjoyed it all the way through. Speak for the Team as well who had a wonderful Trek to the Sumit as well. Walking on Snow was the biggest highlight….we have some fantastic locations in India.”- Balasubramaniam S, batch of May 2016
“The trek was excellent… Special mention of my trek leader SJ. Sir you are a legend in the making, the way you lead us and took care of us 26 is beyond words…We really missed you in the last briefing.”- Md Amjad Hossain Khan, batch of May 2016
“Support , motivation and Maintaining in high altitude is very good. One word i can say Superrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.”- Ashok S B, batch of May 2016
“Wonderful .. Challenging .. Fell in love with himalayas for life”- Narayan, batch of May 2016
“It was fantastic.i loved green meadows and desolate paths of pebbles and I can’t forget starry sky and of course frozen roopkund where I left my heart.”- Uday shah, batch of May 2016
“Awesome!! I loved it 100%. I really appreciate IH for this. Green Trail was not in words there was action also! keep it up!”- Santosh Patil, batch of May 2016
“The trek was really awesome. Managed very professionally. It was real fun to meet new people on this trek and make new friends.”- Prince Dmello, batch of May 2016
“The trek was amazing, the size of the group was just right. The locations for the first 2 campsites (Gherauli Patal & Bedni Bugyal)were perfect. The food was delicious and the staff preparing and serving the meals were very attentive and considerate. The local guide, Bhuvan Singh (Pradhanji) has an unlimited stock of local folklore which he shares tirelessly. The sights and isolation from the outside world worked wonders for me. This is going to be a lifelong pleasant memory for me. Thank you India Hikes! P.S. A special mention for Bhim (trek leader) and Indrajit (Asst. trek leader), they are a big asset for your organization, both have become friends with the entire batch and were very attentive toward the safety and health of the participants.”- Apurva Barot, batch of May 2016
“Very well indeed. Right from the drop off at WAN to the last day pick up from WAN & drive back to Lohajung, it went off almost perfectly. There were no glitches at all. The quality & quantity of food was more than adequate. The toilet facilities were above par, and even in high wind conditions the staff made sure that all the toilet tents were available for the trekkers. Coordination among IndiaHikes staff was always above expectations, and they ensured that the safety of the trekkers was never compromised, even for an instant.”- Sanjay Budhwar, batch of May 2016
“The best out there so definitely recommend”- Sathish Malagi, batch of May 2016
“I loved it. The most important and exhilarating and learning experience of my life. I got to know who I was and who I could become. And what I could achieve.This trek gave me back my self confidence. Unforgettable and wonderful. This trek opened up a whole new world for me. Dreaming of more such treks with you.”-Aparna Sridhar, batch of May 2016
“Roopkund was a great trek, Very systematically arranged by IndiaHikes . The Trek Leader and all the back-end staff put lot of effort in ensuring our safety .”- Deepak Singh, batch of May 2016
“It is awesome. Super experience hard to explain in words. Carrying eco bag is great idea, even if we are not picking up at least we will not throw paper or plastic waste. Campsite tents toilet(except baghwabasa ) was really in good condition considering the camp location.”- Arun Rao, batch of May 2016
“Amazing trek. Very much obsessed with the trek leaders! How they help, they care, everything no words to describe Soumya Mitra’s dedication towards the fellow trekkers!”- Jasraj Kothari, batch of May 2016
“It was a well organized trek, all the camps were nice with good quality, but the base camp facilities were not up to mark,there was a dormitory with out toilet/bathroom, one common wash room that to without hot water to bath,specially without bolt,…. Please make arrangements for hotwater atleast at the end of the trek (because of no bath in trek for 6 days)”- Suresh, batch of May 2016
“Awesome. I really enjoyed every moment I spent during the trek. The IH members are really friendly, caring and motivating.”- Krishnendu Sengupta, batch of May 2016
“forest walk, meadows and snow walk all are nice.”- Naga Raju M, batch of May 2016
“It was an awesome experience, learnt a lot of new things,the trek went well ,food was amazing hit the spot.the guide were very friendly but firm.was my first and I guess the best exp”- Siddharth Gupta, batch of May 2016
“The Roopkund trek was a first of its kind for me. The trek helped me appreciate the beauty of the Himalayas in a new way. Trails running through forests, meadows, barren mountain sides, and snow. The physical challenges made me almost feel like I am earning myself the right to enjoy the natural beauty that presented itself before me. The climb from Lohajung to Roopkund of over 8000 ft is spread over 3.5 days and the return over 1.5 days. The climb is gentle in some places and steep at some others. The micro-steps that we were taught by Arjun Majumdar of Indiahikes came in very handy for many of us, especially at the higher altitudes where the atmosphere becomes rarer. The key is to move very slowly but continuously, so that you are never out of breath – the age old ‘slow and steady’ proverb. Keeping the body fit from beforehand (exercises to increase lung capacity) also helps in enjoying the trek better. In terms of lodging, Didina is the last place where the comforts of civilization are available. The next three days is when the real fun begins. There is an option between staying in a tent and an eco-hut. I chose tents on all occasions. In spite of the daily exertions and the warm sleeping bags, sleeping in unfamiliar conditions might result in sleep discontinuities. However that would not affect the regular person much in terms of the next day’s trek. I realized that eating and drinking sufficiently to keep the body systems running normally is also very important. Summing up, it was a great experience and I am very thankful to Indiahikes for making it even more memorable, with their actions and arrangements which showed how much they cared for each of the trekkers.”- Arnab Dhabal, batch of May 2012
“Roopkund trek has been some experience!! It was one of those trips where I actually missed the hills, after I came back home.Being a first time trekker, the 5 day long trek was full of learning & new experiences in the wilderness. Every step that I took just made my belief of never giving up, even stronger. Even people who don’t have the stamina (as in my case-even after following 80% of the India hikes fitness regime), but have a positive & strong will power, can make it to Roopkund & back. As in my case- slow & steady won the race- with patience!! Paying attention to the instructions really helped.
The trek was made comfortable as well as informative by India hikes. The staff was very supportive & encouraging, which always kept us on the move. We always felt safe with them. Everyday had a new surprise around the corner- from lush green small farm lands, to oak forest, meadows- Ali Bugyal & Bedni Bugyal, rocky terrains to snow peak mountains- Kalu Vinayak & Bhagwabasa to Roopkund! Each morning we were greeted by a warm smile & hot ‘black tea’- which in turn prepped us to get ready for the trail ahead, on time. Before we began on our treks for the day & whenever we reached our camps after the rigorous long-scenic walks, we were welcomed by Babloo Bhaiya & his group with hot snacks & enough food that put a smile back on our faces (maggi especially)! The stay & the food had the much needed warmth we all needed- throughout the trek, helping us rejuvenate ourselves for the next day to come! The snow sliding experience was awesome! Cudn’t stop smiling the whole time! Arjun Sir had rightly said, ‘you will come back a changed person once you complete this trek!’ True, thanks to Indiahikes its been an adventurous journey all along!”- Ditisha, batch of May 2012
“The trek began in a very familiar fashion for me. The whole first day of trekking I was wondering in my mind if I was trekking to Sar Pass. Since Sar Pass is one of my favourite treks in the Himalayas, I couldn’t help but compare the Roopkund trek till Bedni Bugyaal to Sar Pass in Parvati valley (HP). Even the Didina village had a strong resemblance to the Grahan village. I found Ali Bugyaal and Bedni Bugyaal to be larger versions of the Mingthach and Nagaru meadows. I am still unable to decide what I liked more, Sar Pass or Roopkund, and I am not sure if I will ever find an answer to it. But I guess that is the beauty of Himalayas which never fails to amaze you. Ranikhet express reached Kathgodam station from Delhi in the morning at 6. India hikes had arranged for our pick up from Kathgodam to Lohajung. We were 4 of us and met the rest of our group at Lohajung. I never thought this trek would convert a group of strangers from different parts of the country into friends-for-life in a few days. I am saying this because each time any individual went through pain or suffered any sickness, the whole group got hurt. And we overcame all the hurt only because of the moral support that we gave each other. Adding to all this I was pleasantly surprised by the services offered to us by Indiahikes- the delicious food, the kettle that never ran out of hot tea, soup, snacks, lunch packs, chocolate bars etc. The instructions and rules laid down by Indiahikes in front of us were so simple and clear that instead of fearing any dangers while trekking we could enjoy each and every step. Even the safety measures were explained to us at the beginning of each day considering the situations we could face that day. Though the trek was extremely enjoyable from Lohajung till Patra Nachauni, I personally thought the further portion of the trek till Roopkund was tough. This was mainly because of the snow. Although we were provided with cramp-ons to walk on the snow, the steep ascend and lack of oxygen made it tougher on the body and subsequently on the mind. But nevertheless we finished the trek on a very high note. The Roopkund trek has given me one of the happiest and best experiences of my life and it has made me fall in love with the Himalayas even more. Every step towards our destination showed us many different views of the Himalayas, each more exquisite than the former, much like a woman’s mind, beautiful yet mysterious. Every day of this trek gave my mind and my soul a much needed rejuvenation, being secluded from the busy world that I am back to now. I hope that all the positive energy and peace that I felt generated within, stays with me till the next time I am pulled in in the magnetic field of the mystic Himalayas.” – Vaishali, batch of May 2012
“This was my first high altitude trek and it was nothing short of AWESOME. I couldnt’ complete because of AMS was a different matter altogether. The serene beauty of the Himalayas is a feast to the eyes!! Indiahikes did an awesome job arranging the trek. This trek changed the way i look at things. After seeing the local people do their work, I feel like i don’t do an hard work at all :). The huge mountains and the meadows and the forest brings a humbleness in you!! The experience was just amazing. I could meet so many great persons. I went with just one friend of mine and came back with a bunch of them. Thanks indiahikes for an awesome trek and life experience!!” – Hari, batch of May 2012
“Roopkund trek has everything you can wish for – majestic forests, sparkling rivulets, endless grasslands & awe-inspiring snow peaks. Every day the scenery changes and challenges the trekker to “Come & Conquer”. Then there is the feeling of Exhilaration & “Yes!!! I did it” when you look back. Roopkund is described as a Moderate to Difficult trek, but it will be ‘moderate’ only if the fitness regime given by Indiahikes is strictly followed. This being a High Altitude trek, your body needs to be capable of reaching the 15000+ heights while coping with new terrains everyday. Its very helpful to keep your backpack light. The food is basically what you get from local produce of wheat & veg – so its rotis/paratas with aloo subji most of the time (also gives the high calories needed), sometimes the Dal/Chawal is a welcome addition. Eat light and drink lots of water since this really helps. (I had an upset stomach from Didina so I dint dare eat till I finished the trek. I lived on water, Rasna, ORS, candies and hot adrak chai for 3 1/2 days till I reached Basecamp again) My suggestion would be to ‘Go slow’ – so your body gets acclimatized of course, but also so that you can stop & take a lot of photos, soak in the pristine air and feast your eyes on everything you see around you – who knows when we’ll get to see Nature at its purest again. If you want to stay connected to the world beyond the Bugyals & the snow-capped Himalayas, carry an Idea SIM as only these work there (intermittently but its there). Wrap your batteries in your socks/woolens as the cold seeps away the charge. A torch is essential for the nights. May-end gave us very good weather & no rains. Dressing in layers in the most sensible. Keep your ponchos ready for showers. You can dress light for walking through the forest. You may need your jackets on the Bugyals if its windy. Night at Bedni campsite is definitely chill, so put on your thermals. Bhagwabasa & Roopkund need your thermals, woollens, cap/hat, jacket, gloves and most of your clothing to keep warm. You need goggles on the snow slopes of Roopkund – less strain on your eyes. Dont attempt foolhardy things like sliding down the snow slopes on your own without the knowledge of your trek leaders – Its dangerous & life-threatening. But be assured that in case you slip, they are always there to help you up. Last but most important, listen to your trek leaders & local guides – they give sound advise which will definitely help you during the trek.” – Sarita, batch of May 2012
“Well!!! To begin with, a big THANK YOU to the Indiahikes team. The entire trek was very well organised. We never had any difficulties at any point of time and every thing went on very smoothly.
Initial two days of the trek were very exhausting but the landscapes were beautiful. Especially after reaching Ali Bugyal. Walking through the meadows was a heavenly feeling!!!! After a couple of days of struggling we all got the hang of it(trekking) from day 3. Reaching KaluVinayak temple was kind of a milestone, as it the marked the beginning of snowline. Day5 was the best of them all. Having left to Roopkund by 4:30, we had high energies and our minds fully focused on setting our feet on Roopkund. After reaching Roopkund, there was no limit to our excitement and happiness. We were on top of the world. Little did we know at that point that we had the gas left in us to reach Junargali. We set our targets to Junargali and with some extra push, we reached the peak. There we were, standing, looking at each other’s face, completely spellbound by the beauty that mother nature had to offer us!!! It took us a good 5 minutes to realize what we had accomplished. After a few snaps we left to roopkund. The trial down was quite dangerous. But we had a lot of help from the IndiaHikes team in getting down. The slides from the hill was the most exciting thing that we have done in recent times. We reached Bhagwabasa with much satisfaction. From Bhagwabasa to Bedni was a long walk which pulled of all remaining stocks of energy. Final was a the easiest and one of the most beautiful. The forest had much to offer and it was quite difficult to keep the cameras wrapped inside the bag. Finally after reaching Wan it was a quite journey back to Lohajung. The entire trek has thought a lot of precious things on survival and life in general. How to optimize your water reserve, how to trek on snow, how to keep your body warm, how to pace your trek, how to survive in dangerous conditions, never say die attitude, fearlessness…With respect to our batch. It was fantastic. Gujarat gang was just awesome. I had never seen such high-spirited people in my life. Even after completing 6-7 hours of hectic trek, there they were, laughing, singing, shouting, ….Awesome !!! I dont know where they had piled up their energy stocks 🙂 Hats off to them!!!! All in all a wonderful experience. The best experience of our lifetime !!!! One last thing and most important thing. A big big Thank you to Dinesh Bhai!!!! Our Trek leader, motivator and guide. If it wasn’t for him many would have dropped out much before reaching Roopkund!!! He inspired us all the way to complete the trek and all the credit must surely to him !!! Thank you once again Dinesh Bhai. Waiting for more such experiences with Indiahikes!!!” – Bhashyam, batch of May 2012
“From flower sprinkled meadows and gurgling brooks to snow blizzards and hailstorms, nature showed me its myriad faces. From its fury to its glory, it showed it all. An experience that humbled me and at the same time fulfilled me. A catharsis, a chrysalis, a genesis. My senses soaked in the magnificence of nature in its untouched raw form and my soul soaked in its quietude.It was a journey which took me to beautiful vistas outside and challenged my faith inside. It was a test of will and a test of humility. If its possible to live a dream, then that is what I can say my experience of trekking to Roopkund was – LIVING A DREAM. Though I had never trekked before but I always had a deep passion for the mountains, which pulled me to sign up for this trek. The resulting experience was so intense that words can never be enough to explain it.” – Nidhi Agarwal, batch of May 2010
“The Roopkund trek has given me the best and happiest experiences of my life to date, it has made me fall in love with the Himalayas. Words cant describe the views I got, or the feeling of crossing new terrain every day. Every day my mind was given a bath and a massage – leaving it completely rejuvenated at the end of the trek. On the physical front, i have a new confidence and know that my body is capable of much more than i thought. Especially the trek on the ice, this was most exciting. On the social side, the trek has converted a group of strangers to friends-for-life in the matter of 8 days. One month after the trek i still talk of it with as much excitement as if i had done it yesterday. Adding to all this, the service that Indiahikes provides – the delicious food at 14000 feet, the kettle that never runs out of hot tea, the ever smiling porters who get the tents up before we reach the day’s camp – all this gave me trek a 5 star experience. And i know i will keep coming back for more.” Sandeep Janardhan, batch of June 2009