Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Transcendental Ecstasy - The Journey to Roopkund (Part 2)

 Transcendental Ecstasy to the Abode of Gods - Roopkund  (Part 1 - Roopkund Introduction)

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Part 2 - The Journey

My GHNP trek was done almost an year back, and I was literally going mad for not going to the Himalayas for over an year. Trekking in the Himalayas requires a lot of planning and preparation. 

I got to know about the Roopkund Trek from an organization called India Hikes. I decided not to let go of this chance, and asked my friends for their confirmations. Some accepted initially and rejected later and some rejected initially and accepted later. After all the additions and subtractions, finally eight of us decided to backpack for the trek.

The eight planets that revolved round Roopkund were : 

1. Ambika

2. Bhargav
3. Karthik
4. Kusuma
5. Jyothi Ganesh
6. Umesh
7. Satish
8. Yours Faithfully (Arjun) 

Namma Payana (Our Journey) :

A) Registering for the Trek

After working on all possible scenarios, we decided our dates of trekking. Accordingly seats were booked with India Hikes (IH), and eventually we got the confirmation about the trek. This was the first step of our trek, and all were excited as though they had conquered Roopkund in the first step itself :)

The dates of the trek was from 16th - 21st June, 2014. 

B) Booking of Transportation

Since, the first step was done, the second step was to book the transportation. Now this was a herculean task. We were in a dilemma whether to book a Train or Flight. After a lot of permutation and combinations, and moreover getting a good offer by Go Air, we booked the round trip to Delhi by flight. 

Date of Departure : 14th June, 2014

Date of Return      : 23rd June, 2014

We then booked the Ranikhet express from New Delhi to Kathgodam (onward journey)  and Kochuveli express from Haridwar to New Delhi (return journey)

C) The preparation:

1. Purchasing of the items was done with full spirit, a couple of weeks before the trek.

2. Preparing for the trek was a huge task. We could collect as much information as possible from all the websites and from experienced people who have been to Roopkund. Few of the team members almost purchased the entire equipments as though they are going for an expedition !!!
3. Running / Jogging was a daily routine for the members (with their new shoes) :)
4. The list goes on ....
5. I have written about all the necessary list of things and other tips in my last blog of the series. 

Finally the D-day arrived. After the usual bye-bye from our family members, we set off on our exciting journey to Roopkund.

We all decided to meet at Kempegowda International Airport(Bangalore) by 6.45 AM and met there accordingly (8:10 AM was the flight).

   (L to R : Bhargav , Ganesh , Ambika , Satish , Umesh and Karthik... As usual, I am behind the camera :)   )

Namma Bengalooru Airport

Kusuma had been to Sar pass trek, and she joined us at Delhi for Roopkund trek. She was a Superwoman of our team :)

The Akasha Payana :

For few of the members, the flight experience was a first timer. Some enjoyed, and some enjoyed more :)

 Bangalore as seen from above

Modada Olage - In the middle of Clouds

Arriving at New Delhi

The 2.5 hours of magical journey through the metal bird was amazing and came to an end in no time.


Day 1 : New Delhi   (14th June , 2014)


After coming out of IGI airport, we roamed for a while in search of a public transport. The roam finally turned out to be a long walk to the nearest bus stop. 

Kusuma was about to meet us by noon, since she was coming from Dharmashala after completing the Sar pass trek. Initially we had planned to visit Akshardham, but later the plan changed. 
Our train in the night (Ranikhet express) was scheduled to depart from Old Delhi station. Hence, we decided to keep our backpacks in the cloakroom of the Old Delhi station. 

By the time we went there, it was noon. We went for lunch at COMESUM restaurant which was very near to the Old Delhi railway station. The lunch at COMESUM was never Awesome :), just to stuff something was the main criteria. Later Kusuma too joined us. We had to take revenge on her, and hence made her to eat at COMESUM again :)

Later, all of us decided to visit India Gate and walk all the way through Rajpath until the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. The fresh rains, that lashed Delhi for some time, made the environment very pleasing.

India Gate :

The India Gate, originally called the All India War Memorial, is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of the ‘ceremonial axis’ of New Delhi, formerly called Kingsway. The names of thousands of soldiers have been inscribed on the walls of India Gate.

Cyclist at India Gate  - have added an orange filter

A beautiful walk along the Rajpath, was very refreshing. The lawns were lovely and well maintained. We tried many varieties of chats and Ice creams on the way. 

Rashtrapathi Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan  is the official home of the President of India, located in New Delhi, India. It may refer to only the mansion (the 340-room main building) that has the President's official residence, halls, guest rooms and offices; it may also refer to the entire 130 hectare (320 acre) President Estate that additionally includes huge presidential gardens (Mughal Gardens), large open spaces, residences of bodyguards and staff, stables, other offices and utilities within its perimeter walls. The main palace building was formerly known as Viceroy's House.


The beautiful architecture provided us a lot of photographic opportunities. The time passed very soon and before we could realize, it was night and we were about to depart Delhi. Immediately we rushed to the Old Delhi Station in a metro.

Bannada Kaaranji

 The beautiful evening came to an end, and we were at the Old Delhi station to board the Ranikhet express. The train welcomed us with a loud horn, and it took us some while to settle down. 

Ranikhet express is considered to be the best train, for people going on a trek to Roopkund.


Day 2 - Kathgodam to Lohajung (15th June , 2014)

Lohajung - 8300 Feet


The chilling wind in the morning woke us up, and we realized that the train had already stopped at Kathgodam. The jeeps were standing near the railway station, which were ready to take us to Lohajung.

The route :
Kathgodam - Bhimtal - Almora - Kausani - Gwaldam - Tharali - Lohajung

The route to Lohajung from Kathgodam, was very scenic. Unfortunately the clouds had covered the entire valley, which made the visibility less. We stopped at a small hotel near Almora for breakfast and it was delicious. 

Pindar river would give us company for some part of the journey.

3D Picture -  Image Courtesy : Bhargav

Lunch was done near Gwaldam. It was in a small hut, and the taste was similar to a big hotel. One of the best lunch , I had ever eaten.

Finally after a long drive , we reached Lohajung at around 6.30 PM. 
The registration for the trek and other formalities were done by 7.00 PM and we were given a briefing about the trek later followed by delicious dinner.

The usual introduction with fellow trekkers helped us to have a good interaction later on.

We were a group of 26 people who set on a journey to the Magical Lake of Roopkund. 

The trekkers were from :
1. Mumbai - A bunch of young law grads
2. Ahmedabad
3. Hyderabad - Three musketeers from Hyderabad who now works in Delhi
4. Delhi - Solo trekker who works in a Banking sector
5. Chennai - Solo trekker who works in an Finance sector
6. Bangalore - 
i)  An IIT Couple. 
ii) Our Team who are also unfortunately working in IT Sector :)

Day 3 : Lohajung to Didina (16th June , 2014)

Didina - 8550 Feet


The early morning whistle by the team members of India Hikes woke us up and we were all ready and excited for the actual trek. 
The breakfast of Oats, Bread and Porridge was a great source of energy to start with. 

The sighting of Himalayan Bulbul and Black Lored Tit, made my day memorable (because these birds are endemic to only Himalayas)

Later, we were briefed again about the day's trek and few people including myself and my sister Ambika volunteered for Eco Friends of the valley. We were given an Eco bag, where in we had to collect all the plastic items that were found enroute to our next destination and dump it in the bag. This is a great initiative by India Hikes, which helps the place and the forest to be a plastic free zone and be more eco friendly.

I also request all the trekkers to be more matured enough to leave nothing but your footprints. Make the valley a plastic free zone. Remember that Nature wants nothing from you , but you in turn want everything from Nature !!!

The route which we took was called as " Lord Curzon trail " . 

The trek is a gradual descent from Lohajung until Neel Ganga river, and an ascent towards Didina. This part of trek is little tiring for the beginners.

Lohajung Valley 

Stream that joins Neel Ganga

At the first break point - Urban kid Ambika with Himalayan kids

The distance we had to cover was 8 kms (Lohajung to Didina). After almost 5 kms of descending down, one can view the beautiful Neel Ganga river. Soaking the feet in the cool water is very much refreshing. All the pain and tiredness washes away, and you are as energetic as before. A small break near the river is much needed.

The crystal clear emerald water of Neel Ganga river is a treat to watch.

Crossing the rocks and enjoying the river flow is only to be experienced.

Narrow Crossing 


We reached Didina village in the afternoon(probably 12.00 noon) and few other trekkers came after an hour.

Didina is a small sleepy village on the high slopes of the mountain which is disconnected with the rest of the world. The people here are very energetic and hospitable.

We ordered some Omelette and Egg Burji along with all time favorite Maggi. 

Didina Village - homestay

That evening, we all went to the forest to collect some firewood inorder to make camp fire at the night. The rains had made the wood wet and it was a great experience to bring the woods that day.

 Camp Fire

The sky was clear by the night and Bhargav tried his hands on Star Trail photography.

Distance covered :  8 kms
Altitude gained   :  300 feet (Lohajung : 8300 feet to Didina : 8600 feet)
Time taken         :  7.30 AM to 1.00 PM (Leisure pace including breaks and the time recorded by the last person to reach)
Snow Peaks        :  Not visible
Water source      :  Many on the way
Toughness          :  Moderate to Difficult
Vegetation          :  Thick forest


Day 4 : Didina to Bedni Bugyal via Ali Bugyal (17th June 2014) 

Bedni Bugyal (11800 Feet)

Didina to Bedni is a gradual ascent through thick forests and meadows, later a normal walk along the Bugyals (Meadows).

Bedini Bugyal is a Himalayan meadow, situated at an elevation of 11800 feet in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state of India. Bedini Bugyal falls on the way to Roopkund near Wan village. Trisul and Nanda Ghunti are clearly visible from here. This lush green meadow is adorned with blooms in a wide range of varieties. There is a small lake named Vaitarani (Bedini Kund), situated amidst the meadow. The rich flora of the area includes 'Brahm Kamal' or Sauseurea Obyallata.

A small waterfall

While climbing to Bedni, this is the last water source that is available(Only till Bedni). At bedni there is water available. The trekkers have to plan accordingly in this stretch.

The road to paradise

 Flame of the forest

 In the woods ...

 Tired trekkers(Arjun,Karthik,Ambika,Shobith)

A lonely sentinel

Ali Bugyal ...

The breakfast having gone nowhere , our stomachs began to growl and legs began to sink.  Before our body became silent, we had to eat something and rest for a while . Inderji (our Guide) had bought some delicious Chapathis. We ate them sitting in the meadows and we were lost in the sight of the expanse of the lovely Bugyals.

 The arrival of Bedni

Colorful tents at Bedni

As and when you think that the grasslands are over, you get to see a new one emerging out.

Our arrival at Bedni marked the start of fresh rains and cold wind. The vast area of charming Green Carpet is a treat to the eyes. The lovely himalayan backdrop makes this place a real heaven.

Flying Disk

Trekkers who find it hard to trek until Roopkund, must at least make a point to visit Bedni Bugyal.

Distance covered : 12 kms
Altitude gained   :  3200 feet (Didina : 8600 feet to Bedni : 11800 feet)
Time taken         :  7.30 AM to 1.30 PM (Leisure pace including breaks and the time recorded by the last person to reach)
Snow Peaks        : Trishul and Nanda ghunti (slight glimpse as it was cloudy)
Water source      :  A small source just after Didina and nothing after that
Toughness          :  Moderate to Easy
Vegetation          :  Thick forests to Grasslands 

Day 5 : Bedni Bugyal to Pathar Nachauni (18th June 2014) 

Pathar Nachauni (13000 Feet)


The trek is a gradual walk along the Bugyals until Pathar Nachauni. The views enroute is breathtaking. It is covered with beautiful meadows and rocks that form the part of an ecosystem.

The story :

Once upon a time King Jaiswal of Kanauj went to meet Goddess Nanda accompanied by his pregnant wife, ministers, a big platoon and even the dance troop. King was amazed by the beauty of the Himalayas and he camped at many places – feast and binge drinking followed, which was inappropriate for a pilgrimage. Goddess Nanda became unhappy and she appeared in the dreams of the king to warn him about the excesses. The king regained his senses and it was the unfortunate dancers(Nachauni) who had to bear the brunt of king’s anger. Some say they were buried alive and sent to Paathal (Pathal Nachuni), others think they were turned into stone (Pathar).

So some say, it is Pathal Nachauni and some say it is Pathar Nachauni. But never the less the beauty is beyond the stories.

The rains had lashed the valley whole night and we got up a bit late. We were fresh and ready by 8.00 AM to start the trek.

The whole day was cloudy and Bedni Kund had dried up. My dream of taking the picture of Trishul and its reflection in the Kund had also vanished

We met a high altitude doctor , Dr. Vivian at the Pathar Nachauni campsite. He is a critical care emergency doctor there. The presence of these people is a huge help to the trekkers. They save a lot of lives. 

Hats off to them !!!

Trek towards Pathar Nachauni

Campsite at Pathar Nachauni

After taking a small break at Pathar Nachauni, we were set for an acclimatization trek. The term High Altitude Trek, actually started from now on. We were to climb a small hillock and return to the tents. The trek was beautiful with cool weather.

Colorful trekkers ...

 At the summit


The first patch of snow

Distance covered : 7 kms (Including acclimatization walk)
Altitude gained   :  1200 feet (Bedni : 11800 feet to Pathar Nachauni : 13000 feet)
Time taken         :  8.30 AM to 12.30 PM (Leisure pace)
Snow Peaks        : Nothing (it was cloudy)
Water source      :  No source on the way
Toughness          :  Easy
Vegetation          :  Complete Grasslands

Day 6 : Pathar Nachauni to Bhagwabasa (19th June 2014) 

Bhagwabasa (14350 Feet)


The morning was completely cloudy as usual, and small patch of sunlight was seen here and there. The whole place was wet and slippery because of the heavy rains.

When the rains are lashing heavily and we are sitting inside the tent, the "Pat-Pat" sound that it makes on the tent gives a beautiful feeling which one has to experience.

The winds were so strong that they were blowing the tents away. All were scared to go to the toilet tent :)

The trek started at 8.30 AM after the breakfast. We were to go till Bhagwabasa that day. The route goes through Kallu Vinayak temple.

 Siblings at Pathar Nachauni

The weather was clear for some time, and we could see the path to Kallu Vinayak temple. But in no time, the mist covered up the entire valley and we were isolated again. 

After a small patch of grasslands, we enter the world of rocks. This is the beauty of Roopkund trek, as one can get to see all kinds of vegetation.

The trek is an ascent until Kallu Vinayak temple. A challenge for many trekkers.

Rocky Terrains

Honey (Our trek leader)

 Kallu Vinayak Temple

Once we reach Kallu Vinayak temple, the feeling of accomplishment is seen in all the faces. Trekkers usually blow conches, that is kept in the vicinity of the temple. This invokes a feeling of one becoming closer to the almighty in the Himalays. Wow ... what a feeling it is !!!

On the way to Bhagwabasa

Small Huts at Bhagwabasa

We reached Bhagwabasa around noon and the dinner was ready. Hot food and a cold weather makes the combination out of the world.

Tents at Bhagwabasa

After the lunch, we went for an acclimatization walk. And skied while coming down.

The sunset was visible just for 1 minute and all the shutterbugs came out to shoot the beauty of Nature. This was when we got the proper glimpse of Trishul and Nanda ghunti.

Sunset at Bhagwabasa : Chaukhamba in the backdrop - Image : Ambika

Distance covered : 4 kms (Including acclimatization walk)
Altitude gained   :  1300 feet (Pathar Nachauni : 13000 feet to Bhagwabasa : 14300 feet)
Time taken         :  8.30 AM to 12.30 PM (Leisure pace)
Snow Peaks        : Nothing (it was cloudy) - Small glimpse of Chandaniya kot
Water source      :  No source on the way
Toughness          :  Difficult to Easy
Vegetation          :  Nil

Day 7 : Bhagwabasa to Roopkund and back to Pathar Nachauni (20th June 2014) 

Roopkund (15875 Feet)


The summit day - also the D-day - had finally arrived.

We were waiting for this particular day for a long time. We had to cross rivers, climb mountains , crawl under trees .

The day started at 4.00 AM. We were all excited and set to trek to the mystery lake.
The hot oats and milk was also ready. After the consumption, the mystical trek started.

Why should we start the trek so early ?
This is because, once the sun starts rising, the heat would melt the snow and thus making the walk hard and difficult

 Enchanting mountain views on the way to Roopkund

First sight of the lake

 Roopkund Lake - The final destination

White Carpet

An unforgettable moment for the royal challengers

The team who made it possible...

We were also ready to go till Junargalli pass, but due to the inhospitable conditions, we could not go there.

We reached Roopkund lake by 8.00 AM and stayed till 8.30 AM around the lake. We then returned to Bhagwabasa.

After the lunch, we headed back towards Pathar Nachauni.

Distance covered :  10 kms 
Altitude gained   :  1500 feet (Bhagwabasa to Roopkund)
Time taken         :  4.30 AM to 2.30 PM (Bhagwabasa to Roopkund to Pathar Nachauni)
Snow Peaks        : Tishul , Nanda ghunti , Chandaniya Kot , Chaukhamba
Water source      :  No source on the way
Toughness          :  Difficult to Easy
Vegetation          :  Complete Snow

Day 8 : Pathar Nachauni to Wan (21st June 2014)


This was the last day of our trek. We started the day with mixed emotions that the trek was almost over.

The team started around 7.30 AM from Pathar Nachauni and reached Bedni Bugyal by 9.30 AM.

The weather was very bad when we started at Pathar Nachauni, and gradually it got cleared when we reached Bedni.

 Trishul as seen from Bedni

 The meadows and the forests

At last, we came back to the forest line from the highland vegetation. The day was very colorful as we crossed many landforms from Snowy Mountains to Grassland meadows to the forest cover and finally the village Wan.

 White collared Blackbird

Karthikeya temple 

Neel Ganga on the way - Image courtesy : Bhargav

We met small kids on the way, who would salute trekkers for a chocolate. We gave many chocolates and dry fruits to the local kids enroute.

Wan Village

The beautiful trek came to an end much sooner than expected. We came back to Wan village, ate maggi at a local shop before going back  to Lohajung. The India hikes people had arranged for a transport, that takes us to Lohajung.

We reached Lohajung around 5.30 PM, and shared our experiences with the new batch of trekkers who had come for the trek.

Specially thanks to the great Inderji and Kalam bhai (Father son duo) who are a real source of inspiration and motivation to the trekkers.

Inderji and Kalam - The saviours 


Day 9 : Lohajung to Haridwar (22nd June 2014) 


We had arranged for a car, that took us from Lohajung to Haridwar. We wanted to see the Ganga arti , and hence took this route.

Route : Lohajung - Karna Prayag - Rudra Prayag - Rishikesh - Haridwar

Haridwar  also spelled Hardwar is an ancient city in the state of Uttarakhand, India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres (157 mi) from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadw√°ra.

Bhagirathi Alakananda sangama at Dev Prayag

We reached Haridwar at around 5.30 PM after crossing the huge traffic jam that had occured at Rishikesh. 
Once we reached the holy city, we went to the famous Har ki Pauri to view the Ganga arti.

Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag (Allahabad) is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda. This is manifested in the Kumbha Mela being celebrated every 3 years in one of the 4 places, and thus every 12 years in Haridwar. 

 Ganga Arti - Images : Bhargav

Amidst the Kumbha Mela, millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate in Haridwar to perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganges to wash away their sins to attain Moksha. Brahma Kund, the spot where the Amrit fell, is located at Har Ki Pauri and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.

We ate the local chats and dishes before hitting to bed at night. 


Day 10 : Haridwar to Bangalore (23rd June 2014)


We could not believe that the trip had came to an end, and this was the last day of our trek. Early morning we set out to Har ki Pauri again to take a holy dip in the Ganges to see the Aarti again.

Early morning Karthik , Bhargav and myself made a point to take bath in the Ganges and perform the Pooja rituals in the river.

 Sunrise at Haridwar

Har ki pauri

The train towards Delhi was scheduled to depart early in the morning, hence we left the place soon. 
We reached Delhi around noon , had our lunch before heading to the airport.

Delhi Departed...

 Bangalore arrived ...

The journey which started with an exciting Hi-Hi 10 days ago, ended with a disappointing Bye-Bye very soon. This marked the end of our beautiful high altitude trek to the Majestic Mystical lake of Roopkund.

 Transcendental Ecstasy at the Abode of Gods - Roopkund (Part 1 - Roopkund Introduction)


  1. Hi, Liked your blog and the writeup, the work with images is quite catchy. Came here from Shobhit's blog. Regards, Ankit Bhatia

  2. Hi Arujun.. I have recalled our trek to Roopkund in 2012 October with Summiters Adventures a Bangalore based professionally organised.
    I you would like to explore more Himalayan trek Plz visit www.Summiters.net for more information..


  3. Awesome pics kano, especially the camp fire and the woods one :-)
    Keep going :D
    Am waiting for more adventures.....



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