Friday, August 5, 2016

Just Another Trek - Roopkund

Nature - just like in those windows wallpapers

Travelling – It leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller. 

One of the most clichéd quotes on travelling right? But it is true! It does that to me and I am sure a lot of others would agree with it too. But a lot of times we don’t get to hear those stories because a lot of people don’t really write or speak much about it. When I started this blog it was to share my travel stories and to inspire others to share theirs. One such moment has come today! A friend of my brother is a trek junkie and after completing many Sahyadri treks, he has recently started his Himalayan adventures and today is sharing his most recent trek experience on my blog!!


The Experience –


We knew it will be anything but easy
Still shaken due to the cloudburst news some days back, and nervous of meeting and trekking with twenty something new faces, I met my trek team at Kathgodam station and started our journey to the base camp at Lohajung. Little did we know that this ten hours’ drive would give us the taste of the first adventure of our trip. Hardly half way through the journey, I heard a faint rumble and soon our car stopped. Landslide – extremely common in the region but to see the road gone completely and mud and trees reclaiming the path ahead of us was a jolt to reality – the might of the Himalayas. Traffic and our driver’s urge to have a cigarette saved us in a way and we took a detour to reach Lohajung with a two-hour delay. Day one was just about getting acclimatized to the surroundings. The actual trek began on day two!


Green everywhere
Huddled up, and excited we began our trail with a 40 minutes’ car ride ahead of Wan and then the steep climb. I finally knew why we are asked to exercise and stay fit before such long treks – it is tiresome. Crossing Neelganga we finally reached Ghareoli Patal – our first camp. Green everywhere, forests dense and visible around the horizon and occasional clouds and mist –enough reason to fall in love with nature.


Bedni Bugyal Campsite
Next morning, we left for our next campsite-Bedni Bugyal. Soon, the forest began to thin down. On the way, we were told stories about how the place got its name. Bugyal basically means meadow. It is said the Vedas were written over there near a small pond called Bedni Kund. Hence the name Bedni(Vedni) Bugyal. And guess what - it is Asia’s largest meadow! This day was comparatively easier than the previous day due to the gentle ascent. It took me a while to soak it all in. We sat there on the lush green grass of the meadow, admiring one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever witnessed. The clouds parted and it seemed like we were looking through a portal into heaven. But that wasn’t possible, because we felt like we were already there. Bedni Bugyal was even more beautiful than I had seen in the photos. The meadow and the sunset connected all of us (trekkers) to nature but more importantly to ourselves and to each other as well. Our mutual love for trekking and nature, and those hours of walking somehow was taking away the ‘strangeness’ of those new faces.


Waking up to this!
Next day, the trek got difficult. There was fog almost everywhere our trek guides (of Indiahikes – they are awesome by the way) anticipated rainfall but we got lucky and reached Ghora(Horse) Lotani(return) – a place after which horses don’t go ahead - pretty much on time. And this marked the end of the greens and start of the rocky territory. High Altitude was here, and this was where our will power would be tested. Steep valley on one side and mountain on the other and fog around – pretty much like movies. With a lot of caution, we managed to reach our next campsite – Pathar Nachauni before lunchtime. Due to the windy, foggy weather and tiredness of the group the day’s trek ended here and we had the local special momos to celebrate the completion of half our trek that day! Okay, maybe it is not of much importance but I loved the momos.


The meadows
Next morning, we had our oxygen level and heart rate readings checked (this actually happened twice everyday) and left Pathar Nachauni campsite. But first it was time for Kalu Vinayak temple and Bhagwabasa where we were told how Pathar Nachauni got its name. There was a king who was on a pilgrimage on this route circa 800 A.D. Apparently, he made Lord Shiva upset, so he turned all the dancers of the King (Apsaras) into stone. Mythology is funny, period. By evening, the weather had cleared up and we got a clear view of Mt. Trishul and Nanda Ghunti close by, well technically.


We just didnt want to stop
But all of that changed that night. At 2 am, I woke up to the sound of rain! We were supposed to leave for Roopkund at 4 am! I woke up at 4:30, but the rain still had not stopped. As a trekker, climate often ruins your plans, I knew that but this was the first time I was going to face the scenario. 6 ‘o ‘clock, the rain stopped and we were 2 hours behind schedule. With all hopes of melting snow not posing an issue for us reaching our final destination – Roopkund, we started our walk and nature appreciated our efforts I guess. The weather cleared up and there was sunlight! Stones, steep ascents, streams on the road and finally I saw Roopkund emerge behind a small slope.


Clear waters of the small glacial lake - Roopkund. Yes this is the lake!
It was surreal. Just standing there, living the moment. The majestic lake to one side and an “above the clouds” view on the other. It was a short 100m path down to the lake. The lake of bones was here. Did you know these bones are dated to 9th century and still no one is sure of whose bones are they? Completely intact human skeletons, some of which still have skin attached to them. Creepy yet fascinating right? It made me wonder about the stories behind the lake and left me completely baffled.  Any ways, we could not make it to Junargali though as we were late and the snow had started melting. So we decided to come back after this once in a life time view and experience.


Happiness is here
The experience would stay with us forever, and the wondering about what happened at this lake would puzzle us all the time but at the same time all the memories we created, friends we made during this trip are priceless and maybe the best part of the journey. Guess that is what travel is about – connection, be it a place or people. And in my case it was both thanks to this fab trip organized by Indiahikes.

Have you been to a trip that has turned you into a storyteller? Let me know in the comments below.

One last campsite

About the Writer -
Shardul Prabhu is a second year student of chemical engineering at Thadomal Sahani College of Engineering, Bandra, Mumbai. His love for mountains has taken him on several local treks in Sahyadris and two Himalayan treks so far. (Brighu lake before Roopkund) He says ‘Trekking has made me realize that it is only when you go to the mountains, you realize how small you are in front of nature.’ Though not a blogger, he chose to share his experience at Roopkund because it was so different from the other treks he had done and because he wanted to express his gratitude toward Indiahikes staff.

That sense of achievement


28 comments:

  1. Very well described..Awesome photography skills..Wow.highly appreciate the same..

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  2. I was feeling like I myself was on Trek with all You guys while reading.Kudos to Excellent Weiting Skills of Shardul Prabhu.Keep Treking & Share Awasome Experiances like these.
    Thanks

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  3. Beautiful photography! Nicely written! I hope you write more!
    Sonia Mehendale

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  4. You must encourage the new writer to write more. Great pictures

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    1. I hope a lot many people like Shardul decide to share their travel stories :)

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  5. Amazing blog!! And the answer to your last question is my Ladakh trip. It's changed me as a person. Mountains truly teach you how small you are on front of nature!��

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    1. Thanks Ira :) And Ladakh truly is a wondrous place. I hope to do Spiti and Ladakh together soon :D

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    2. Ira ! Looking forward to the next trek and you're coming with me !

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  6. Surely an experience...grt..awesum clicks..nature hv so many flavours to show..

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  7. Awesome.. An experience speak from Photos.

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  8. Very well articulated. Will definitely drive people to take up such trips.
    Do take up such treks periodically and keep sharing ur experience. Looking forward. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks a lot ! I would love to share more experiences.

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  9. Awesome yaar.... Write up & clicks both. All the best. - Yogesh Raut

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  10. Shardul....really great.beautiful photo graphy, nicely narrated experience. All the best from my family and JNPT.

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  11. Shardul, very well written..I am glad that you have shared your experience by writing and awesome photography. Proud of you my child..

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  12. वाह्ह्ह झक्क्कास अनुभव नि लिहिलंय सुद्धा किती छान ...... जायची उत्सुकता मात्र खूप वाढली हे वाचून ....

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  13. Shardul ur write up and photography both are mind blowing... just can't believe the little one Shardul in front of my eyes few years back.. has grown up and sharing his mesmerising experience so effectively... proud of u dear!!!

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  14. This looks like an amazing experience! I loved the photo (who doesn't!) and I feel like, for a few moments, I was there with you. In these moments I am so sorry I can't go hiking (due to a medical issue with my knee).

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  15. These pictures are lovely and I can't tell you how much I want to be in these pictures. Not that I am great at trekking but I love the mountains and Himalayas are beautiful.

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    1. Prerna even I wanted to be in these pictures the minute I saw them!!! An You love trekking, seen that on your blog already :D

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  16. Its a lovely write-up, please have a look to www.roamanch.com, a destination discovery website that helps travellers find the right destinations according to their choices and help them plan their holidays in a hassle free manner.

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