Roopkund (locally known as Mystery Lake)is a high altitude glacial lake in Chamoli , lies in the lap of Trishul massif and famous due to hundreds of human skeletons found at the edge of the lake. The location is uninhabited and is located in Himalaya at an altitude of about 5,029 metres (16,499 feet). The lake is surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow clad mountains, making it a good trekking destination.
A shallow lake, having a depth of about 2 metres, Roopkund has attracted attention by having human skeletal remains easily visible at its bottom when snow melts.There are many theories and opinions, from purely spiritual to purely scientific ones, which explain the existence of these skeletons, which date back to 9th century. Because of these skeletons, the lake is also sometimes called as Skeleton lake in recent times.
Roopkund is a picturesque and beautiful tourist destination and one of the important places for trekking in Chamoli, Himalayas, located near the base of two Himalayan peaks: Trisul (7120 m) and Nanda Ghunti (6310 m). A religious festival is held at the alpine meadow of Bedni Bugyal every autumn with nearby villages participating.
There are different routes for a trek to Roopkund. Generally, trekkers and adventurers travel to Lohajung or Wan by road. From there, they climb a hillock at Wan and reach Ran ki Dhar. There is some flat area where trekkers can camp for the night. If the sky is clear, one can see Bedni Bugyal and Trisul. The next camping spot is at Bedni Bugyal, which is 12–13 km from Wan. There is a huge grazing ground for mules, horses and sheep. There are two temples and a small lake that add to the beauty of this place. One can see many Himalayan peaks from Bedni Bugyal bridge. Trekkers then go up to Bhaguwabasa, which is 10–11 km from Bedni Bugyal. The climate at Bhaguwabasa is hostile for most of the year. One gets a closer view of Trisul and other peaks higher than 5000 metres. Many waterfalls and landslides are visible on the extreme slopes of the surrounding mountains. From Bhaguwabasa, trekkers either go to Roopkund and come back or they go to Shila Samundra (Ocean of Stones) via Junargalli Col Pass, which is just above the lake, and then proceed with the trek up to Homkund.
Another trekking route starts from Mundoli, near Tharali, which is accessible from Hardwar and Rishikesh.
May Last Week-June and September-October. Expect trekking on the snow in the beginning of May. In fact, sometimes you may not be able to reach Roopkund in the month of May also due to heavy snow. Avoid rainy season of July and August. Again September and October is a nice time to trek here. After October, it is generally not advisable to trek alone because of the extreme cold. After November, expect heavy snow in the area.
Roopkund is not connected to a motorable road all the way. It requires a trek for about 23 kms after the last motorable point, Wan village, to reach up to Roopkund Lake. So, there is basically two parts in this journey to Roopkund: Motorable Part and Trekking Part. It is about 530 kms from Delhi via Haldwani, Almora and about 505 kms from Delhi via Rishikesh, Karnaprayag
The nearest railway station to Roopkund is Rishikesh which is situated around 383 Kms away. Rishikesh is directly connected by rail with Howrah, Bombay, Delhi & Lucknow. The distance beyond this has to be covered by road either through bus or taxies upto Wan and beyond this one has to go on foot.
The nearest airport from Roopkund is in Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun (approx 425 kms away). It is connected by direct flights to Delhi at regular intervals. The distance beyond this has to be covered by road either through bus or taxies upto Wan and beyond this one has to go on foot.