I am writing this postcard to you from the Junargali Top perched at an altitude of 16,000 ft floating amidst the clouds. My hand trembles with elation and cold weather as I record my experience. The air above here is unadulterated. So is my joy.
Mt. Trishul stands tall in its sheer beauty in front of where I am sitting right now. I know my tryst with Mt. Trishul is ephemeral but its beautiful face is what I’ll never forget my whole life.
Though what I’m feeling right now is utterly indescribable, I will still try to pen down what I’d like to believe the best experience of my life. I have finally found my answers to why they call Roopkund -The mystery lake trek a beautiful trek.
Roopkund is famously known for the high-altitude lake with mysterious skeletons at its bottom. However, that is not the only thing that will leave you awestruck.
Right from the start, the trail casts a spell on you that I don’t think would lift even after the completion of the trek. As you march forward, you get far away from the urbanization and get in touch with the rural lifestyle passing local villages on your way.
You forget the long, bumpy ride from Haldwani to Lohajung the previous day as you start your trek from Tolpani walking along Neel Ganga in the forests. The sunrays sifted through the sieve of tall green trees.
But wait till you reach the meadows of Ali and Bedni Bugyal. The pulchritude of the meadows will literally take your breath away. I have only imagined such place in my dreams. As far as my eyes reached, I was greeted with the vast, undulating meadows. Far away, opposite to me lay the trail to Brahmatal Trek, the place where Lord Brahma meditate for long years.
The famous peaks of Nanda Ghunti, Trishul, and Neelkanth are prominently visible from Bedni Bugyal site. But these aren’t the only three peaks you will see from this point. I was surrounded by other lesser known peaks too. Boy, I was charmed.
Day by day, my curiosity to see the mystery lake piqued. I could not wait to lay my eyes on the lake. There are many theories and myths about where the skeletons came from. But who knows for real. And, that’s not the only mystery that will riddle you on the trek. On the whole trail, we were picking along the local folklore and forgotten stories.
Since all great views come after hardships, so did this lake. My team started early in the morning on the summit day as the trail was steep and arduous. It was still dark and the slippery snow only made it difficult. But once you lay eyes on the lake, you forget every pain in your body.
There it laid in all its frozen glory.
There lay the mysterious skeletons too. I wondered what they thought of the passers-by. I feel everything we see on the trek, the peaks, the river, the bones, they are not inanimate. They conversate with each other in the language incomprehensible to us humans.
You must think the trek must be over here. I have seen the lake and spotted the skeletons everyone down there had been talking about. But, it’s not.
250 ft above the lake is Junargali Top, the place where I am sitting right now. While many people conclude the trek at Roopkund, Junargali should really be the culmination. There is an iron gate here which looks so poetic.
It feels like a passage, maybe a gateway to heaven or self-discovery. Who knows?!
I urge you to come here and experience everything I have. The journey may seem arduous but it’s all worth it.
I will send you postcard from another adventure.
The gypsy soul
By Dhaarna Kukreja
A gypsy with a heart of a writer, Dhaarna has just stepped into the world of trekking and she is falling in love with the mountains with one Himalayan trek at a time. When not trekking, she can be found talking and thinking about the food all day long. Also, a cinephile.