Uttarakhand: Roopkund and Hemkund - A Traveller's Guide


 The Roopkund Hemkund Trek:

Roopkund, the heaven on Earth, is 63 km away from Gwaldam and is accessible by trekkers by taking a walk. The hilly tract to Roopkand is tough and is not for all. Only passionate and trained trekkers should take risk to visit Roopkund. However, Tourists and Trekkers who reach Roopkund get an impressive opportunity to gaze at the class-apart natural wonder. An appealing façade of nature can easily be discovered by the tourists who stay here for some time. Besides colorful wild flowers, Brahma Kamals bloom in numbers on the valley of Roopkund. It’s advisable to carry a tent and foodstuffs for 8-10 days. Hire a hauler and a guide alongside as well from Gwaldam as you won’t be able to hire a guide anywhere on your entire journey to Roopkund later. Nevertheless, Tourists’ Rest Houses are there in Debal, Lowerjung and Wan. Besides Debal, most of the other places arrange rooms in dormitory systems for the tourists and trekkers.

Pahariganj Gwaldam was once famous for the long-drawn-out precincts of tea gardens. The place now houses a lot of apple gardens instead of tea orchards though. These protracted gardens look interesting and inspiring. Tourists can enjoy the scenic beauty along with the salubrious climate of Gwaldam. The spectacular Trisuli (7015) has a definite appeal to the eyes of travelers and can also be best viewed from the land of bewilderment, Gwaldam. The sights of Nanda Devi and Nanda Ghunty from the Gwaldam Bus stand are truly treats to the eyes of the travelers. Kedar and Chaukhamba are also standing with their soaring trunks one after the other to showcase their panoramic prettiness. If you want to witness the agreeable bird’s eye views of these snow clad mountains and their enthralling peaks, then it’s not a bad idea to climb up the hill, placed right beside the travelers’ Rest House. The Forest Rest house on the way to the Travelers’ Rest House is famous in the vicinity for pretty surroundings and breathtaking ambiance.

Besides the Travelers’ Rest House and Forest Rest House, there are a number of places where tourists’ can comfortably spend their nights at. Among all these hotels, Hotel Trishul, Hotel Nature Treat, Gold Star, Vinay and Nanda are noteworthy.

Watch the finery of nature while walking towards the Tibetan Colony, about 1 ½ km away from Gwaldam, to witness the Tibetan cultures and traditions. The holy Durga Temple, near the Tibetan Colony, is another attraction for the spiritual travelers.

To access ruins of the very old and distinguished fort of Chand dynasty, tourists have to trek for 4 km from Tal which is connected by bus to Gwaldam and is only 4 km away from Gwaldam. Tourists would definitely remember the wonderful sights of Kumaon and Garhwal from the premise of the ancient Chand fort.

The heavenly haven is Debal, located at an elevation of 1350 meters, about 12 km away from Gwaldam. The crests, Nanda Ghunti and Trishul are the flanked pearls on Debal. The mouth of Koel and Pindar Rivers is only 1 km away from Debal and is another enticing destination nearby.

Tourist Rest House of GMVN, Forest Rest House, Dharamshala, Sainik, Nanda Devi, Kiran and Raut are the places where tourists can stay comfortably at.

Buses run carrying travelers of Roopkund along the banks of the Pindari River to Debal through Gwaldam. In case of unavailability of direct bus to Debal, you can change a bus at Tharali. Buses from Debal regularly ply to Delhi, Hardwar, Haldwani and Pithoragarh.

Spend the 1st night in Debal before traveling to Lowerjung (Mandoli), situated at an altitude of 2100 meters, about 16 ½ km away from Debal. Stay at the Lowerjung Rest House during the 2nd Night of the trip. The name of Lowerjung has been derived from the name of the Deity Lohajung. She is residing on her throne in the temple here.

The Koel Ganga River starts its journey from Bidalgaya Glacier. Jeeps travel through Mandoli along the banks of the Koel Ganga River. Buses are also traveling to Mandoli.

You can stay at Wan village during the 3rd night of the trip. Wan is only 14 km away from Lowerjung. Due to the scarcity of food and water on the way, it’s suggested to carry these along with you.

Trekkers and tourists can stay at Tourist Rest House or at PWD Bungalow or at Forest Rest House or at any other privately owned hotels. The holy temple of Latu Maharaj, placed beside the waterfall, is pulling crowds in huge numbers every day. Wan is the terminal village of this road. Three roads are going to Roopkund from Wan. It’s advisable to travel through the opaque forest to Mandoli. Trek on this route and cross Tithakthar, located at an altitude of 10, 000 feet, to access Bedni Bugyal (3554 meters), about 10 km away from Wan. The meadow of Bedni Bugyal houses Shepherd Hut, Trekkers’ Hut and Forest Log Cabin where tourists can stay overnight during the 4th night of the trip. It is believed that Vedvyas had scripted Ved, the Hindu epic, sitting on the holy premise of Bedni Bugyal. A small temple, made up of stones, is the divine residence of Devi Durga. The idol is made by commingling eight metals. Pilgrims who travel to Roopkund stop here to sacrifice sheep. Most of the pilgrims visit here during the month of Bhadra (The month according to the Hindu calendar year) as a fair is organized. The Bedni Kund with blue water is source of Nile Ganga River. Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Neelkanth, Chaukhamba and many more riveting peaks are visible from the land of Bedni.

Bogua Basa, about 8 km away from Bedni Bugyal, located at a height of 4400 meters, is going to be the halt for you during the 5th night of your trip. A temporary tent here would solve the problem of overnight staying. Climb up 500 feet to access Bagua Basa after crossing Rani- Ka- Surela. Pathar Nachani on the way to Bagua Basa draws attention of the tourists as well. There is a story attached to the history of Pathar Nachani and its name. The emperor of Kannauj was once going to a pilgrimage through Pathar Nachani. But, he was amazed with the scenic beauty around and had decided to stay there. He had started enjoying with dancers. The deity was certainly not happy with the emperor and had cursed him. The natural disaster then had taken place. Three of the emperor’s dancers suffered due to the anger of the emperor. They were buried alive sadly here in Pathar Nachani. According to the popular belief, all three of them are now staying here as stones. The name of Pathar Nachani had been derived from this ancient story.

Kailu Vinayak, about 1 ½ km away from Pathar Nachani, is a famous pilgrimage spot for the spiritual crowds who believe in worshipping Ganesha. The deity Ganesha is residing in the tiny holy temple which is artistically built using black stones. The trekkers’ hut in Rani- Ka- Surela can be accessed walking 3 km downside. It is the place where most of the tourists stay overnight at while accessing Kailu Vinayak. The cave of Swami Pranabananda, about 2 km away from Kailu Vinayak, is another place to stay at. All of these destinations are accessible through tough roads. Hence, heart patients and aged people shouldn’t try to access. Even though it’s tedious, but the roads to all these hilly destinations offer some of the unforgettable experiences. Rhododendron, Brahmakamals and variety of wild flowers bloom at the roadsides. These beautiful flowers along with the panoramic views of appealing snow clad mountain crests, such as, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti please everyone.

The mysterious Roopkund, about 4 km away from Rani- Ka- Surela, is located at an altitude of 5029 meters. The hilly seventh heaven, Roopkund, looks mesmerizing as it’s placed on the banks of the oval-shaped Lake. Positioned on the lap of nature, Roopkund, has given the birth of the Rup Ganga River. Ices float on the water surface of the captivating Lake throughout the year.

According to a story, the Snowstorm that had taken place before 700 years had taken a toll on many. The dead bodies of more than 300 sufferers are still visible at various cracks of the ices. Inhabitants believe that they were the companions of the Kannauj emperor, Jashadoyal Singh. Opinions regarding this historical event vary though.

The most interesting part of this imposing spot is that, the surrounding snow covered mountains which encircling the lake to protect it. The mind blowing sights of the peaks, such as, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti, appease the souls of the nature lovers. The River Nandakini has started its voyage from this glacier.

The procession that runs from the Nauti village of Karanprayag, to Roopkund once every 12 years during the Raj Jay Yatri festival is an amazing thing to witness. The golden idol of Nanda Devi travels along with countless devotees on her very own silver palanquin in the procession. Another contiguous diminutive divine temple on the banks of the Lake, houses the holy power Haraparvati.

Hemkund, located at an elevation of 4000 feet, is accessed through staircase from Roopkund and is 5 km away from Shilasamunder. Coming down through the scattered stones, Shilasamunder is accessed. It’s not more than 10 km away from Roopkund. The Shilasamunder glacier has been formed from the nearby Trishul mountain peak. Many know Hemkund as Trishul pilgrimage as well.

Dodang Pass, about 2 ½ km away from Hemkund, is located at an elevation of 14200 feet. It’s not more than 12 km away from Shilasamunder. Natural wonders and roadside enticements on this way would enthrall one and all for sure. It’s true that the natural grandeur here would attract you and force you to stay here for some more days. At the end of your trip, you can come back to Gwaldam through Ali Bugyal. It takes approximately 4 days to come back to Gwaldam through this route.

For staying in tune with nature for some more time you can visit Ronty, located at a height of 5884 meters, from Hemkund or Dodang as well.

Sutol (9 km from Hemkung), Ghat (26 km from Sutol) and Nandaprayag (19 km away from Ghat) are the other coveted neighboring places which are accessed by innumerable tourists every year.

How to reach: The nearest railway station of Roopkund and Hemkund is Haldwani which is accessible by trains from Lucknow, Bareilly, Kathgodam and Kolkata. Buses ply to Gwaldam from the Haldwani railway station. Roopkund, about 63 km away from Gwaldam, can then only be accessed taking a walk.

Where to stay: Roopkund has not come up with any hotels yet.

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