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Roopkund …Still a dream by Saswati Ghose

To trek to Roopkund was a dream and when I got the chance, I can’t believe it! I readily agreed to the proposal of my Orkut friend, Kalyan Majumdar and joined their team to visit Roopkund. My dream remains a dream still as we finally can’t reach but what I saw will remain in my memory forever.  We started on the 4th of October, 2009 from Howrah by Amritsar Mail . There were ten members in our group. On the 6th of October, we reached Gwaldam. The weather was cloudy and raining in the morning, but the Sun peeped out of the clouds in the  afternoon. We passed through the beautiful hill stations of Kumayun Himalayas like Almora, Kausani  Baijnath etc. I visited these places way back in 1997.  

Next morning, on 7th October, the weather was bright; we got the majestic view of Trishul peak. The site at sunrise was just amazing. We purchased the ration for the next few days of our trek .We left Gwaldam around 9am towards Wan in two jeeps. The river Pindar was our companion throughout. We stopped at beautiful hilly hamlet of Debal. I have read so many times about this place. Here we had our lunch and then changed jeeps.

From Debal we started again around 1 pm. The scenery was breathtaking. At every turn was waiting new surprises! It was around 3 pm when we were at Lohajung Pass (2850m). Earlier, the trek used to start from Gwaldam but now the motorable road stretches till Wan village. We had a short tea break and then started for our final destination, Wan village. Wan(2437M)is the largest village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. It is divided in Upper and Lower Wan. We reached Wan at sunset and got a room after much persuasion, in the forest bungalow. The bungalow was very beautiful clean and cozy.

 Our trek started on the 8th of October. We started at 6 am. First we offered our prayers in the temple of Latu Maharaj. It is mandatory to offer prayer to Latu Maharaj before starting for Roopkund. Women are not allowed inside the temple. Our trek started through the village roads and the forest area. The path was going up and up. Our destination for that day was Bedini bugiyal (bugiyal means grassland or green meadow), at a height of 12,000 ft and at a distance of 12 kms. Past one week the weather was very

bad and many groups were returning. We took intermittent breaks and proceeded. The path from Gehrali patal was very steep. The whole stretch was through forest but there was no sources of water seen anywhere. Finally around 1 pm we reached Doliadhar, the entrance to Bedini. Here, to the left is the path leading to Bedini and to the right is the path leading to Auli bugiyal. At around 2 pm we reached Bedini bugiyal, the largest grassland in Asia, stretching for 20 kms. From Bedini on can get the view of Gahrwal Himalayan peaks and majestic views of Nandaghunti and Trishul. These two peaks appear as if peeping on Bedini! The shadows of Trishul and Nandaghunti peaks on the water of Bedini Kund will make one spellbound.

 

Our next destination was Pathar Nachuni (3658M). We started on the morning of 9th October, after offering prayers in the small Nanda Devi temple, the Goddess of this area. The view of Bedini Kund and Bedini bugiyal from a distance higher up is amazing, as if some artist has painted a picture.

 Pathar nachuni is about 6 kms from Bedini Bugiyal. The path is not steep and Nandaghunti appears to be coming close to us. On the way there was sudden snow fall for few mins. The snow was like small white balls locally called “Olay “. After 1:30pm we reached Pathar Nachuni. The Kaalidak Mountain was standing like a huge wall. On way we got news that no one is able to reach Roopkund due to heavy snowfall few days back. We decided that we will go till Kailu Binayak Pass.

 At around 7am on 10th October, we started for Kailu Binayak. We are scheduled to come back to Pathar Nachuni and have our lunch and then back to Bedini. The trek was steep. We are going up and up and up as if towards the sky! The scenery was beyond description. Rarity of oxygen forces one to walk at slow pace. Finally at around 10 am we reached our destination, Kailu Binayak Pass (almost 15000 ft). We were spellbound. We are surrounded by the mighty snow peaks of Himalaya on one side and below, like some coloured spots we can see our tents in Patharnachuni. Trishul peak was so near as if we can just run and reach the base. Nanda Ghunti was standing close beside. There are several other peaks standing side by side on the backdrop of clear blue sky. As if some painter has painted the snow white peaks on the canvas of the blue sky! The Roopkund, could be seen at the base of Trishul peak like an oval bowl filled with snow. There is a small stone temple of Kailu Binayak (Lord Ganesh). We offered prayers, thanking God for helping us reach there.

Roopkund still remains a dream but what I saw here will be in my memory forever. If ever get a chance, I will again come back here.