The Skeleton Lake (Roopkund, Uttarakhand)

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The best part about trekking is that you go through a lot of phases or emotions – excitement, exhaustion, regret, amazement, cheer, ambiguity, thirst and hunger and maybe all of them in the same day. But when you lie down at night in your tent with the torch pointing to the roof, you think to yourself and tell yourself that you made the right decision by embarking on this journey and that gives you so much confidence and satisfaction. Trekking is more a game of the mind and spirit than of the physical body. As you climb higher, you let go of your fears and your inhibitions and let nature take charge. With lesser and lesser things under your control, you submit to nature and that’s when you experience bliss. The 8 day walk to Roopkund is such that at every moment, you are deeply connected with nature – the one outside as well as the one within. 

Why you should visit: The journey to Roopkund is not a casual walk in the park, its a 7 to 8 day experience that has the ability to change your perspectives about a lot of things.Every single day in the trek has something unique to offer be it the terrain, the vegetation, the challenges, or the views. Best part is that each single day is surreal. The route passes through Ali Bugyal, a place which is often referred to as Asia’s most beautiful grassland. You cant help but feel free once you are there. In addition, Roopkund trek has the mystery element too and you may either feel the creeps or be amazed when you find human skeletons floating in the lake.

Things to do: Alone time with nature, stargaze into nothingness, experience the mountains glitter under the moonlight, establish friendships that will last you a lifetime.

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Best time to visit: June to October.

Accessible from: An overnight ride from Delhi takes you to Kathgodam. Reach early morning and embark on a day long journey by road to Loharjung, a small town tucked neatly in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand. Since Loharjung is the roadhead, journey from here will be on foot for the next 7-8 days. The route goes from Lohargunj to Didna to Ali Bugyal to Bedni Bugyal to Bhagwabasa to Roopkund.

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Something extra: There is a lot of mystery on this trek. Before reaching Bhagwabasa you reach Kallu Vinayak, a small shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha, marking an end of all discomforts. The folklore goes that despite the small size of Lord Ganesha’s idol, it’s impossible to lift. Besides, the stories behind the skeletons in Roopkund are enough to give you goosebumps. Although a lot of speculations, no one can claim for sure as to why there are skeletons of more than 300 people from different races near the lake. Some people say it was an intense hailstorm, some say it was the Yeti.

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Narrated by: Suyash Pandey, @NaashPaati (instagram)

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