Trekking in the Himalayas is always an amazing experience. Although when you talk about trekking in the Indian Himalayas, the levels go up a notch. The Mountains of India have always been the abode of gods, sages and hence magic! Yes! No one can say whether a story is the truth but I wish to stay in an oblivion. I wish to believe that all these were true and dwell in the realms of their fantasies. One such stories out of the realms of fantasies is that of Roopkund Lake.
Roopkund Lake – Significance
Roopkund Lake is one of the most famous glacial lakes in India. The scenery, the altitude, it’s location make up for it’s being the best but what makes it stand out is it’s history. The Lake which carries hundreds of human skeletons is bound to attract attention and audiences. And that is how it has been!
Each year thousands of trekking enthusiasts visit to marvel at the scenic beauty of Roopkund Lake and unravel the mysteries with their own eyes.
According to the folklore; King of Kanauj, Raja Jasdhava was expecting a baby. Elated and thankful for the occasion he set off on a pilgrimage with an entire procession. As the local belief goes, a pregnant woman or a menstruating woman is an impure person. The pilgrimage (Nanda Devi) and Roopkund Lake are on the other hand the purest havens of deities. So for an impurity to step in the lands of gods is blasphemy and calls upon a catastrophic outcome.
The King was also accompanied by apparently three of his concubines. Yet another class of impure creatures as prescribed by the stories of the folklore. Although even then the King knew or was informed about the concubines being so. Eventually the king got them buried alive at a place called ‘Pathar Nachuni’ which gets its name from the same incident. ‘Pathar’ or big rocks were placed on them. ‘Nachuni’ implied women who dance.
The Hailstorm and Blizzards
All the blasphemous acts would not go unnoticed. As a result when the procession arrived the lake, they experienced a hailstorm. Where the size of the hailstones was bigger than ever, apparently as big as a cricket ball. That explains the cracking of each skull present at the lake. Everyone died and there skeletons well preserved by the snow and altitude serve as mystically glorious visual.
P.S – These are speculated stories. The cause of deaths finds a close resemblance to the one in the story. Although scientists have corroborated the cause of death by cracking of skull the story and the exact origins of the people are still uncertain.
The trek to Roopkund Lake is arguably one of the most beautiful treks in India. Although in the recent past it has lessened. Owing to the drastic increase in foot fall and permanent campsites established by companies like India Hikes. The trek ranges from dense rhododendron forests, huge meadows, flowering fields, giant boulders, snowy trails and endless horizons.
It is a 6 – 8 day long trek and honestly there are definitely more than one itinerary that you can follow. I personally would suggest the following itinerary for moderate to fast walking people.
Roopkund Lake Trek Itinerary
Day 1 – Kuling to Didna
Day 2 – Didna to Ali Bugyal
Day 3 – Ali Bugyal to Pathar Nachuni
Day 4 – Pathur Nachuni to Bhagwabasa
Day 5 – Bhagwabasa to Roopkund Lake to Bedni Bugyal
Day 6 – Bedni Bugyal to Wan
Day 7 – Wan to Lohajung for departures
How to Reach?
To start the trek one needs to reach Lohajung village. The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam (211 Kms). The most used mode of transport to reach lohajung is personal cars and small vehicles or tempo travellers as they call it in India.