An Alpine lake hidden in the cradles of giants like Mt.Nanda Ghunti and Trishul in the Garhwal Himalayas at almost 16000 feet. Add to it a trail a trail that changes everyday, keeps it's trekkers on foot, and that is Roopkund. From starting from a local village , where you can see the true Garhwal lifestyle , to walking on the biggest high altitude meadow of India, Roopkund has it all. Not to mention the thrill of snow line and walking up the slope on the day of the lake visit , which is dangerous and exciting at the same time. All in all, it is justified that why till 2018 , Roopkund was the most popular trek of India , with a step count of almost ten thousand Trekkers a year.
But this was also the reason why it got banned from the trekking world.
Bedni Bugyal and Ali Bugyal , the two of the biggest Meadows of India are of high value to the people of Uttarakhand. Even from environmental point of view, it's presence is crucial. Bugyals are like lungs set up by the mountains itself. With influx of Trekkers for Roopkund , a lot of popular corporate companies from Adventure Travel , set up their fixed camps on the Meadows. With batch sizes going up to thirty to sixties for them and continuously running , they found more profit in fixing their camps. The camps fixed in Meadows put high pressure on the grass bed for which the Bugyals are famous for. Tents covering the area of the grass and not letting sun in , or their huge steel pegs and wooden nails making holes all around to ruin the Bugyal. Add to it the the huge amount of Trekkers walking each day on the Bugyal that left scars on it. Lastly , with so many Trekkers came so many mules to carry their equipments, and mules had nothing but the grass to eat on. Overgrazing was the final nail in the coffin for Bedni and other beautiful Meadows up there on Roopkund Trail.
As the locals came to realize how their home is being hurt , a petition to the Uttarakhand High Court , came to the rescue. The Court banned all camping in Meadows. And not just for Bedni or Ali Bugyal but for most Meadows famous to Trekkers in the state of Uttarakhand. From 2018 the ban came into place and now in a lot of treks , camps are not allowed to be put in Meadows , where previously beautiful campsites were set up.
For the greater good, the trekking world welcomed this decision and aligned to the ban, giving a chance for the mountains to breath back.
The ban also did hit the stomachs of a lot of people associated with trekking business , but they also sacrificed in the betterment of the mountains they call home.
Finally now in 2021, the locals have got the permission to start their trekking again with one condition. No more camping on the Meadows. The Trekkers are allowed to pass through it and enjoy the views and feel of it. But one can't stay in the Meadows anymore.
This is justified and very logical for long-term healthy trekking world, as India grows it's adventure tourism.
After the pandemic , the livelihood was hurt bad in such mountain regions and this is a welcoming step from the government to revive the tourism in one of the most beautiful treks of India.
You can plan your Roopkund trek. It's certainly a moderate difficult trek due to the last day of technical ascent to the lake at 16000 feet which has probability of snow storms a lot. The trek is open May June , as before that the snow is too much for people to go. High altitude sickness due to such height is another issue which makes the trek , a tricky affair and every trekker must follow the discipline of mountains.
But in the end the views one get after surviving through the storms and challenges mountains throw at you , are among the best rewards of LIFE.
Also add to that after three years of no people having walked the trail to Roopkund , the trail with it's Meadows and mountains will shine in virgin glory having replenished.
And that my friend is a great enough reason to visit Roopkund this summer!
WITH GREAT PLEASURE I AM ANNOUNCING WE HAVE PLANS FOR ROOPKUND THIS SEASON. IF YOU WANT TO TREK WITH A INDIVIDUAL LOCAL GUIDE, RATHER THAN COMPANY , FEEL FREE TO CHECK THE ROOKUND TREK DETAILS HERE.
Note from the Author,
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. I have collected so many thoughts and stories while being a Tour & Trek guide for last seven years. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"