Roopkund is also known as the Skeleton lake, worldwide famous for the old skeletal remains found in and around the lake. During the open season, hundreds of trekkers explore the secrets of Roopkund lake and the legends that make rounds. Roopkund trek is an ideal alpine trek of Himalaya with the pristine view of high Himalayan peaks. The lake is nestled at 4700 meters in altitude and some parts of the hike can be challenging. But if you organize yourself properly then hiking to the lake becomes a pleasant experience.
Considered, one of the best moderate treks in world, Roopkund lake goes through forested terrain for the first day and then quickly reaching Bedni bugyal meadows. The Bedni meadows are worlds’ largest and truly a remarkable place.The views from this place cannot truly be mentioned in words. It is just out there for to experience. From Bedni to Bhagubasa is a long walk, but not so steep. From Bhagubasa to Roopkund is a serpentine climb of 2 km. One cannot camp at Roopkund, so retreating back to Bhagubasa is the most viable option. For adventure seekers, one can continue on this trail and can reach Jeuragali pass and further to Shila samudra on the foot of Trishul peak. The experience of camping at Shila Samudra is also breathtaking.
Trek to Roopkund lake is highly advocated by travel experts. It is a must trek for someone seeking Himalayan mysticism with lots of hiking opportunity.
ROOPKUND LAKE TREK DETAILS
- Difficulty: MEDIUM
- Trek Distance: 50-55 km
- Trek Duration: 8-9 Days (ex-Rishikesh)
- Location: Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
- Best Time: May-June & September-October
- Nearest international airport: New Delhi, India
- Nearest domestic airport: Jolly Grant, Dehradun, India
Equipment Checklist for Roopkund Trek
- Footwear: Trekking Boots (snow and water proof), normal walking boots, and floaters. Few pairs of warm/woolen socks.
- Luggage: Backpack (50-60 liters), Daypack, Duffel bag.
- Clothes: Waterproof breathable jacket & pants, Jacket (synthetic or fleece of down feather), insulated pants (Synthetic), Poncho, Sweatshirt, inner thermal (upper & lower), fleece, t-shirts, cotton trekking pants, shorts.
- Gear for Hand & Head: Liner glove, Bandanna, Sun hat, Woolen caps, Face mask etc.
- Accessories: Sunglasses/Goggles, anti-glare glasses, water bottle, hydra pack, Headlamp with spare bulb and extra batteries.
- Trekking Gears: Emergency tool kit.
- Protection and First-Aid: Sunscreen, toiletry kit, water purification tablets, Zip-lock bags, ear plugs, first-aid and all essential medicines.
- Camping Equipment: Tents, sleeping bags (extreme -5 to +5 Celsius) with liner, trekking poles, water bottles, Sleeping mat, etc.
The Story of Roopkund Lake
Roopkund has been a hotbed for rituals and ceremonies. Even today locals visit Roopkund lake for their annual ceremony. Once every 12 years the auspicious Nanda Devi Raj jat also passes through this same trekking route.
Rookund got its name because the queens and princess of the local rajahs used to see their faces (Roop) in this still water lake, hence the name Roopkund (lake).
The mystery of skeleton has also been unearthed to some degree. It is said that about 400-500 years ago, the local Kings of the region went to Roopkund lake for an annual ritual. The entire trekking party got caught in an extreme hailstorm, killing almost every one of them. The carbon dating of the skeletal remains has verified the bones to about 500 years old.