The Roopkund Rendezvous - Kathgodam to Loharjung

Thursday, October 22, 2009




People don’t matter.. only snow matters!
Yes. I said that. But we’ll get to the details, sequences and consequences that led to this blunt declaration later. Having said that, today let’s meet the people who made this trek more enjoyable and then ride along to Loharjung. 

16 of us registered for this trek with Indiahikes. Of whom, I already knew 7 from previous treks. You have already read the escapades of yours truly and the techies from Bangalore - Sujeet, Raghavendra aka Raghu, Ravindra and the analyst Ambareesh at Jog Falls Monsoon Drive
Then there’s Bhanu and Poonam whom we met on Kudremukh trek here. Kunal and Pavan from Bangalore are friends of friends.  Exactly half the group was acquaintances already. 

Now let’s meet the rest. There’s Deepak and Smitha from Delhi – The photographer and his muse. The ruler of seas – Ram Kumar from Chennai. We sure pestered him asking curious questions about his profession! The other techie Raghavendra is from Bangalore as well and the three musketeers – Jagadish, Bhaskar and another Ram Kumar. That makes sixteen of us.
But there were more to join whom we didn’t know yet. A rather shockingly pleasant surprise I must say! We met them only after reaching Loharjung and so shall you. 

After taking an overnight train to Kathgodam (Ranikhet Express), we found ourselves waiting for the Cab that never showed up, at least until 9.30 he didn’t! Early morning chores finished and with nothing else to do, we got down to the task of “knowing your trek mates”. And we start at around 8.00 AM finally; we have been waiting since 6 AM. No points for guessing that the road journey is very beautiful cruising along the Kosi River.  We stopped at around 2.00 PM for lunch at Kausani – dwelling of poets they say. It is from here that we had our first glimpse of snow capped peaks at 3.00 PM – A fleeting glimpse. And at 4 we saw the first marvel just after crossing the curious looking temple (which we later found out was Baijnath temple) - A huge colorful rainbow which actually dwarfed the distant mighty mountains. And the next stop was at Tharali at around 5.00. From here you get full views of the majestic Garhwal Himalayas. It was now that we could see the majestic ranges and feel the chill too. Now it feels like we were headed to Himalayas. 

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Although the journey till here was remarkable, the actual fun for me started as the last of the sunrays were disappearing. The fading rays cast a golden glow on the snow-capped mountains. Somewhere along, we left Kosi and were now accompanied by Pindar River. Somewhere along, the placid green waters of Kosi gave way to the turbulent white waters of Pindar. As the last of sunrays left for the day, the night started weaving the moonlit magic. Pindar still flowing alongside cast aglow by the silver radiance – It was a sight to behold. Somewhere along, after crossing Debal, we were pitched into total darkness. Good for us else we would’ve been scared to death looking at our precariously moving jeep on the dangerously narrow high roads.  We reached Loharjung around 8.30 PM.

Surprise! Surprise! A group of 7 elderly people(aged around 50)  along with a young son were also to be seen at campsite. At that moment we were too hungry to think of anything else. The guys settled in the tents and the girls were given a nice cozy room at Patwal Guesthouse. While we were having dinner, we came to know that the group of 8 would also be coming along to Roopkund.  Yes! I have to admit that night I had my doubts (yea..yea... I know I shouldn’t judge before I know anything). Come tomorrow, I was in for a revelation. Early morning I woke up and was wandering around the guesthouse which is when I overheard one of them telling Arjun that they have done Kailash-Manasarovar trek before and they are upto it.  The gossipmonger that I am, I went and told every other person I met that morning. :D And let me tell you now, they were a constant source of inspiration all along the trek. Also we found out that two of them were doctors. Now what more could we ask for! Let’s christen the group of 8 as KM(short for Kailash - Manasarovar) gang comprised of Nitin ji, Kishore ji, Kunal ji, Gautam ji , Jagan ji , Jimit and two more whose names I don’t remember. Apart from the 24 people that you just met, a Bengali couple Mr. & Mrs. Mukherjee were also coming with us. That makes 26 of us now.


And of Course there was Rajesh, Mahendra and the rest of the group from Indiahikes. So now you know the whole group. It’s time to take the first step (literally) towards Roopkund.

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The morning of September 29th got off to a great start. It was a bright sunny day with clear views of Nanda Ghunti peak right in front of us. Spirits were soaring high as usual. In fact, we couldn’t wait to take the first step towards our destination. Rajesh was giving his first briefing to the team. And what strikes me as funny, is the fact that right after listening to Rajesh’s diction on the importance of “team-spirit”, me and Sujeet were having one of our “Shut-up” conversations, at which Arjun and Rajesh came running confused to check if all their speech about team-effort was in vain. We assured them this is the normal expected behavior. And I am sure Ravindra would feel bad if I don’t mention his sacrifice (forced that is :D). Since it was bright sunny day, and since I had no cap of mine, I flicked Ravindra’s cap.  It’s 8.30 AM and we finally take our first step.



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Fact File :

Why Loharjung? - The trek to Roopkund , Junargali and Ronti Saddle further up can be undertook from either Loharjung or Wan. If you go from Wan, you'd miss the spectacular Ali Bugyal and reach Bedni Bugyal directly but you'd save a day too! We were to go from Loharjung to Didna, and from there to Bedni Bugyal.

What's the route? - Kathgodam --> Almora --> Gwaldam --> Tharali --> Debal --> Mundoli --> Loharjung

How long does it take? -  usually 10 hours, 12 for us.

Oh! I almost forgot I made a controversial statement at the beginning of this post. Well now let’s go back a week from this day when we were shopping at Bangalore. It was then that I enlightened these guys that only three girls are coming on the trek. Of whom, they already knew two and the other one seems to be taken. Following the tradition of being happy for friends even in your own sadness, they said at least I will be happy with 13 guys coming to the trek!


Me: ??@?!!##  (read dumbfounded!)


Firstly, logic fails me when someone would want to check out girls at 16000ft where human density is almost close to nil, let alone the fairer sex.


Secondly, why would someone want to go to the mountains (of all possible places on earth), to revive their marital prospects?!! LOL! (The concerned one, are you listening? :P) I for sure would go there only and only to check out the snow (which I love!) and the gorgeous peaks and sceneries. This is when I said the above said words – “People don’t matter, only snow matters!”

Otherwise, all you lovely people, you do matter – truly! :)

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10 comments

  1. hahah..........imagine a photo session going on junargali for marital prospects :D

    well one thing that was totally clear from the entire trek was we were really blessed....blessed for awesome weather, successful trek and above all an amazing group of people without which the trek would not have been so much fun :)

    the tea pic is a very nice composition

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  2. Nice:-) You seriously penned down names? wwow!

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  3. and so would I say..! I still have some faces with no names...! in my memory...! :)

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  4. @ Deepak - I can only imagine! :D
    Yes, we were very lucky for sure and Thanks.. :)

    @ Pavan - Yes, i seriously penned down the names.. Although i would like to add the missing two also.. :(

    @ Roshmi - More awesomeness on its way.. :)

    @ Poonam - LOL! me too .to an extent.. :D

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  5. lucky you! the images are really gorgeous!

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  6. What a well-written account of your trip. I loved reading it. You write really well. The pictures are awesome.
    I hope to do this hike next year.

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  7. @ Joshi Daniel - Thanks.. :D

    @ Vamsee - Thank you.. glad you enjoyed my posts.. :)
    Well definitely go for this hike next year.. it is very very beautiful and very less treaded upon compared to other Himalayan trails ..plus it has awesome mystery and history as well. :)

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  8. Nice blog and great Pictures too. Congrats on doing the Roopkund Trek!

    Best wishes,
    - KS

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  9. @ KS - Welcome to my blog and thank you! :)
    My first himalayan trek was quite an experience..now it keeps calling me back.

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