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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Roopkund Trek - in 3 Days & 3 Hours || Roopkund Skeleton Lake | Roopkund Mystery | Roopkund Trekking | Roopkund Uttarakhand | Roopkund Trek ||

Independent Trekking to Roopkund Skeleton Lake, Himalayas. 
Write up: Anish

                                                       Zoomed in Tip of Trisul from Junargali / Roopkund
Life has become too comfy for the past two months with just a Mukurthi trek which didn’t last a day. The Sep/Oct was the second best season for a Himalayan trek. Stok kangri in Leh was my next destination two months ago but I’ve replaced it with Roopkund in Uttarakhand as I wanted to experience what the mysterious skelton lake was all about and there wasn’t a better time than this as the lake would be completely frozen under the snow in April/May which hides the hundreds of skeletons scattered around the lake. I and Loga discussed the possibility of a self dependent hike upto 16700 ft at Junargali on top of Roopkund Lake without any guides, porters, cooks, mules or horses. Even though there are ample resources available on the net to get an overall idea of the trek, there wasn’t a single info or story of anyone having done Roopkund all alone.But we were quite determined to do it this way just to be as wild and close to nature. I was aware of the risks, the Ams issues, adapting to the altitudinal changes and other stuffs like food. I knew there were a couple of dhaba on route to Roopkund but wasn’t sure if it still existed there. All we took was some ready to eat breads, Kellogg’s, creams, nuts and snacks. Rest was entirely dependent upon the dhabas. We had a basic tent with two 15 degree sleeping bags, I knew it wouldn’t withstand the sub zero degree cold as I have experienced it in the eastern Himalayas. Just for a backup we carried it. Additional down Jackets, Fleece Jacks, Rain Jacks, Gloves, more warm clothes for layering, tarpaulins, medical kits and a load of trekker’s stuffs for a week weighed more than 12kg for each of us. Camera stuffs, hip pouches and water bottles were additional weights. So carrying more ration and stove was out of question. All in all we had everything but not the exact requirement for an independent Himalaya trek. One thing I made sure before commencing the trek dates was to figure out the starting dates of other trekking companies which took groups of trekkers as batches to the same place. The purpose of solo hiking would be lost forever if we were surrounded by hundreds of other co trekkers.  Adjusted the dates accordingly where no groups clashed with our first day from the base village, and as a result of this 90% of the trek was covered with just the two of us. We literally owned those mountains for 4 days.   
Starting from Delhi to Haldwani, Almora, Gwaldam, Wan (Base village) and returning via Tharali, Karnaprayag, Srinagar, Rishikesh and Haridwar back to Delhi was a long rounded 1200km journey. It covered 7 districts in Uttarakhand through 2 trains, 2 buses, 6 Shared Jeeps, 6 Autos, 1 car and finally 2 boats to cross the Ganges in Rishikesh. Indeed relying entirely on public transport throughout the journey was tough but would you believe that all we spent for travelling for those 5 days from Delhi -Delhi cost us just 3800Rs. 

28th, 29th, 30th Sep  - 2016

Our train left from Delhi old railway station to Kathgodam by Ranikhet Express on 28th 10:30pm. The last stop was Kathgodam but we got down at Haldwani at 5am, a much bigger town hoping to get more vehicles to the next stop. Took an auto from the station to the town and we were hungry. While having some bread omelets at the tea shop we enquired the routes and there were shared taxis to Almora, 5 or 6 buses lined up till Garur and private cabs as well. We decided to get on the bus till Garur which is a 160km 7hr drive. Passing after Kathgodam the hills began to rise. Reached near Nainital at 8 am for tea break. 
Next stop was at Almora and the next stretch till Garur was a beauty. Pine and oak trees with grasslands and beautiful rivers made the ride very scenic till Kausani. The driver stopped for lunch but we were in no mood to get down.  By 1pm reached Garur a sleepy town. There were hotels but no food, there were tea shops but no sugar and there were vehicles flying up and down but they won’t stop. Amused with the place we walked down to the edge of the town where there was one shared jeep waiting to go for Gwaldam. We got in and through the thin Ghat roads by 3pm to reach Gwaldam village. A beautiful hill station situated in the border of Garhwal and Kumaon regions. We have travelled almost 200km today and decided to stay at the Gmvn guest house here. There was a decent restaurant at the junction and after lunch headed to Gmvn. All Rooms and dormitory were free and we opted to stay in the Dormitory which had clean beds, hot water all at the cost of 200rs per head. The manager Narender was a friendly person. Roamed around the village till 7pm. Had hot Chapattis and Chicken at the Gmvn restaurant and slept well after a tiring day’s journey.                                  View from Gmvn Gwaldam
29th woke up early morning and went for a small walk to adapt and acclimatize slowly to the climatic conditions around. Once the dawn broke we were surprised to see the Snow capped Trishul visible from here. After more talks with the locals it was clear that            Lohajung the first base village actually had two routes from Gwaldam. One is just around 20km but the road conditions were worst and you will have to book a Taxi for 1500rs. The other route through Tharali, Dewal is nearly 70km but lots of share jeeps are available. Our plan was to somehow reach wan village without a booked taxi by the end of the day so after breakfast vacated the room and by 9am we got into to a shared jeep which was going to Tharali. 25km took nearly 90minutes, such was the road conditions. Direction to Lohajung was to the right but till Tharali we were driving down to the left. At 11pm the driver dropped us and showed us a small gap which connected to the bridge. We crossed the pindari river bridge to reach Tharali Town and got another shared jeep to Dewal. Another 1 hr along the beautiful pindari river was a relaxation to the sore back. After reaching Dewal we waited for some time for another shared jeep upto Lohajung. Pindari was with us and the giant Himalayas every now and then showed its gigantic peaks through the valleys. Yet another 2 hrs passed through the rocky Ghat roads and grasslands we reached Lohajung at 2pm. Had lunch there. Lohajung had a trekker’s shop which sold all stuffs like tents, mats, sleeping bags torches etc. That is when we realized we had forgotten sleeping mats. Bought two for a slightly higher price and did some useful shopping there and got our final shared jeep for the day to Wan village. 
  Way to Wan Village from Lohajung
Passed Mundoli and kuling villages, I could also see Didna Village on the opposite mount finally reaching on to Wan by 4pm. 500 meters walk more to Gmvn guest house on top of the hill. After reaching there were dozens of tents pitched around the Guest house. I met the manager and asked if any rooms were free. Luckily the whole dormitory hall was free and this was a much neater place than Gwaldam. The manager Mr Rana will be arranging food for the night and tomorrow morning as well. The views down to the wan village were splendid. After keeping the bags we moved again down to the market and to the upper stretches. 
Gmvn Guest house at Wan                                                                                                          Wan Village
Till 7pm we were exploring Wan village, their school and the small river just above the village. Motor able roads end here. The Cyprus trees around the area were really huge, I have never seen Cyprus of such width and height anywhere else. Above the guest house there was temple, the gates were closed but it had hundreds of bells placed and tied up everywhere, at the center was a huge Cyprus tree. I realized that since there wasn’t any guide accompanying us I am really going to miss the local stories from a local soul this time. Dinner with Chappati and veg gravy was sumptuous. Recharged all electronic stuffs before the start of a big trek and slept peacefully.

1-10-16 Trek Day 1 - Wan - Gharoli Patal -  Bedni Bugyal

I was up by 6am having tea and chatting with the foreigner’s who were from Australia. They were a group of 16 members all heading to Kauri pass, this was their first day and ours as well, exchanged wishes for a pleasant trek. The guides and horse owner who assisted the foreign team was very friendly especially after knowing that we have come all the way from Chennai and heading without help. They gave all info regarding the dhabas. In a way I was relieved that the shops exist in Bedni, Patarnachni and Bhagwabasa. 
By 8am the whole group left. After Breakfast the bill was just a nominal 580rs. I just love Gmvn. We started our trek at 9am to Gharoli Patal as Rana showed us the directions to follow. The weather was great and through the huge Cyprus trees we walked.School kids with their cute Namaste’s were super welcoming. In the next 45 minutes we climbed up that hill and reached Rankhadhar. There was a tea shop and we took a break to let off the heavy weight bags somewhere. A good view of what to climb next was clearly visible from this point. We could see the Neel Ganga stream flowing deep down. Our walk up to the Bridge was easy and downwards crossing 3 village huts. Since we have planned to camp at Bedni Bugyal today there was no reason to speed up things.
Rankadhar                                                               Way down to Neel Ganga Stream      The Bridge before the Steep               
The steepness from the bridge was around 35 degree incline. With the occasional rains and horses walking to and fro has made the tracks slushy at some places. Two groups have climbed down till now. Two locals who were guides overtook us. They asked us No guides! No porter! We replied the same. 
At 1pm we reached Gharoli Patal. There was a tea shop Run by Surendar, he made us some masala tea. Met another Chap Gibru. We chatted for a while and everyone had this question first No guide! No Porters! Doing it solo?? At times it was getting on my nerves but I played it cool. Some looked confused, some encouraged, and some even shook hands. One thing I noticed was before asking anything they would first look into your shoes and the Forclaz 500 had half the answers they were looking for.  Before leaving surender gave us some free Cucumber slices with salt and pepper. Our next stop was Bedni just 3 km. 
                    First views of Bedni Bugyal
It was almost the same patch of forest for the next one hour and suddenly gave up to the grasslands call Bedni Bugyal. By 3pm were walking towards the Green huts, a Guy came running towards us. He said he own the Dabbha at bedni and asked us to come over to his place for lunch. He was Uday singh, the best soul I have met on this entire trek. He prepared us Rice and Dhal and nobody was at Bedni. We took our tents out to pitch but since it was drizzling I was sure it would not sustain the weather. Uday’s tent was already pitched near the Dhaba and he happily gave his tent for us saying he will sleep inside dhaba tonight.                 That blue tent is our Millon dollar room for tonight
With Uday
Met two forest Personals Mr Madan Singh and Mr Khatri who was in charge of collecting the fees for camping. After some chit chat with these people we went near the Bedni Kund a small lake and enjoyed the serenity till sunset. Towards Trisul I found an interesting image of the five layers of mountains and captured it. 
Just 5 more steps to Trisul      
That was special from Bedni. I also found a rat without a tail, but then I spotted more rats without tails. This was something new for me. Unlike dogs in the plains which are skinny and small in size, dogs around here are huge in size with puffy thick hair. Two such dogs were roaming around Bedni, we named them too. They became quick friends and were guarding our tents all night. Had Aloo parota and omlet for dinner and it was getting colder as I was roaming with just a tea shirt until now. We chatted till 9pm with Uday singh in his Dhaba. He has been running this shop for 4 years and has never seen anyone trekking to Roopkund without a support personal. He would always shake hands and keep on expressing that he likes crackheads like us. An innocent chap working for his family of four elder sisters. He goes to home only once in 3 months and lives here all alone. Broken sleep but manageable weather, all was good.

2-10-16 Trek Day 2 Bedni –Patarnachni - Kallu Vinayak - Bhagwabasa 

We were at Udays dhaba for breakfast. He rolled up his tent and asked us to use it in Bhagwabasa all for free. We kept our tent at his place and had breakfast. Uday’s cousin Mahn singh runs a tea shop at Bhagwabasa so he could help us settle for the night. Mr khatri came to collect the camping fees. I said tomorrow afternoon we will return and get back to wan at the same day. So asked him to prepare bills for just two days.  He definitely was in doubt but I simply had no idea to pay for more than two days. Camping fees which included waste & plastic management and other stuffs for two days was a nominal 700rs for both of us. Bhagwabasa was todays camp and Roopkund lake was just another 3 kms from there. But even if we had time today evening Roopkund can only be attempted tomorrow early morning because of the climatic conditions above 5000 meters which always tends to be misty. The climb from Bedni - 3300 meters to Bhagwabasa - 4400 meters must be steep because it’s more than a kilometer into the sky within a proximate distance of 9kms. We should have started by 9am but the drizzling made us wait and finally by 10am walked past the Bedni kund.
Leaving Bedni Bugyal
Went straight into the grasslands trying to find the trail to the right and after some steep climbs we finally found our way up. Our walk upto Ghora Lotani was entirely engulfed with mist. Whenever it cleared up we could spot the Bedni kund even smaller. Deep to the left we spotted some tribal huts and hundreds of sheep’s grazing on the opposite grasslands and another two Ponds. One sheep costs 3000 rs and if any big groups were willing out to churn out the money then Uday can cook it for you. Reached Ghora Lotani at 11am. There was a small camping ground with water source and a stone fountain. I did increase the height of that fountain by placing one more stone on top. The trail now shifted to the right side of the mountain. The stretch upto Patarnachni was more or less even with brown grasslands. We had no idea of how the adjacent mountains shaped till we reached Patarnachni.
The sole dhaba run by Narender singh pancholi served us tea, omelets and Maggie for lunch. Questions were pretty much the same with the usual surprise look of us being all alone, but now we were quite accustomed to the reactions and the responses from our side too. By 1pm we started again but within 20meters into the trail the rains started pouring and we had to run back to the nearby horse shed. A group of trekkers with their guides all climbing down joined us in the 30 minute wait. Even before the rain stopped completely we decided to move forward. The next 3km stretch upto Kallu vinayak was a tough affair. It was steep with u turns and bends all over the hill. The light and view was very low. Every now and then small hailstorm rain would shower wetting us all of a sudden, once drenched then cold stays for a long time. Halting and covering up ourselves with the tarpaulins was what we did because walking with the rain jacks would end up wetting our shoes which would be a disaster for the rest of the days. 
Just before kallu vinayak we saw a small stone temple. Loga was relaxed but I knew this was not kallu as I have seen it in pictures. I could sense the thinness in the air as we struggled more with the weights, the breathing pattern felt different from the past two days for sure. Through the mist we saw the stone temple and without a doubt this time we did reach Kallu vinayak. Took a break and some photos.                                                Kallu Vinayak
The trail was going straight to Bhagwabasa. I knew both these places had the same altitudes of around 4300 meters so there was less chance of climbing up. Our last stop for the day was just 2 km ahead. It was an easy walk as you take the first turn you actually see the shop and campsite far away but since today was all misty we never knew it was a visible point. From here onwards since we were all alone from this afternoon the sudden change in the environment with rocks popping out from every nook and corner and the snow patches above the mountains and the atmosphere all wet felt real creepy. The thrill was spot on because such zones were totally new for us. Stone huts were built by the locals but it looked like nobody has been using it for a while. The mist finally cleared up a bit and we could see the campsite from a distance.

We walked into it the campsite at 4pm and met Mahn singh. Another 3 guys was around. Mahn singh had a tent already pitched inside the wind protected stone foundation. He also gave us a a 9 degree sleeping bag as Loga would use both our 15 degree bags and I would use a single 9 degree all for just 200rs as rent. Ordered for Dinner for the night and this place was definetly not the best of places to roam around. We had to get into the tent as soon as to trap some body heat. It was painfully chilling. Till 7pm we rested planning out tomorrow’s summit climb upto Junargali. We had to wake up at 4am and start by 5am from here in order to reach on top by 8am. I saw another group of 4 members on the other side of the camp. I thought they also might start at around the same time tomorrow morning. Asked mahn singh about the current temperature and he said now it would be 1 or 2 degree but after 1 am it would fall back to -4 degree.
By 8pm had Dinner and hot tea and came back to our tents to fight it out against the minus degree temperature. I cannot explain the cold but I was shivering all through the night even with 2 layers of pants, 3 layers of jacks and 3 layers of socks. Tough night which never required an alarm at 4am.

3-10-16 Trek Day 3 Bhagwabasa - Roopkund /Junargali - Kallu vinayak - Bedni Bugyal

Got ready and took a small day bag to carry water and some chocolates. Washing our face was the biggest challenge but we did that. The four member group along with their guide walked past to Roopkund with torch lights. Mahn sing prepared tea for us and by 5am we started walking through the icy cold dark mountains in search of Roopkund. Since snow is less at this time of the year we followed the stony trail, my head torch was super bright and logas’s britelight covered a great distance and with a sense of direction it was impossible to divert into a wrong direction.
After 20 minutes we spotted the other group with their torch lights marching ahead, we thought of following them but they were too slow with many breaks in-between. The first 1 km was a gradual accent. Overtook them but was not in a position to chat about anything as I was grasping for breadth. I could now exactly differentiate the meaning of what “Thin air” meant, Slowing down every 30 meters was the key. Dawn broke through the valleys and mountains and it was splendid scenery all over. On top we could see the ice beds appearing but there were thick clouds forming from the lower hills. It was a concern because from day 1 the weather was mostly misty and drizzling. 

We were pushing ourselves to the maximum without many breaks. Hoping for the best views of Trisul, by 6am we were half way. From here on the steepness increased. The other group was deep down from us we could see their tiny resting heads. With a couple of breaks climbed up some huge rocky steps, we could see the edges of the lake and all it required was one final push but we couldn’t do it in one stretch, slowly we reached by 7am. Unlike what I saw in the pictures this Lake is was bigger than I thought. Climbed down to the dead center of the lake which was mostly dried up and saw hundreds of humans and horse skeletons scattered all over the place. 
That is me in the center of Roopkund Lake

I have heard some people saying that the skeleton doesn’t exist anymore or there were only very few left may be they would have visited the place in the snow season but that was not the case now. Human Skulls, teeths, their chapels, chains and accessories were gathered up in one place and I was threading up my own story of what could be the scenes when the hailstorm hit those hundreds of 9th century people at the exact place. I was imagining of what all pain they went through surrounding this lake before their last breath, Loga distracted me from becoming a screenplay writer for an epic bollywood flick and pointed his fingers to the dark clouds below the mountains.

Yes I was back on toes and we had one final climb to Junargali before the weather turned nuts. It rises again to a 500ft climb through the sharp ridge. Walked through the snow at some places and reached there by 8am and it was a sense of great accomplishment. Standing at 16700 ft watching Trisul, Nanda Ghunti, Junargali pass, Sheela samudra, the valley and river between Trisul was all a fitting climax where Mother Nature controlled the show in our favor.

The magnificent Himalayan peaks were lit up an hour ago but the sun was hidden till now and once it appeared the color tones through the valley where exotically beautiful. Between Trisul and us there wasn’t a single obstacle. But the fact that it’s a 7100 meter peak which is a direct 2km straight shoot into the sky from where we stand was quite unbelievable. I picked up a small stone for memory which is a usual ritual at every peak before returning and after a Timer shot of both of us we returned from Junargali. 
Sunrise at Junargali 

Nanda Ghunti peak & Sheela Samudra Valley

Roopkund Lake from Junargali                           Trisul & Nanda Ghunti Zoomed

While reaching Roopkund we met the group of four from Kolkata. With 6 porters it was a Sahib’s style trekking. They already knew about us the previous night from their guide that two crack heads have landed all alone from Chennai. If I had met them yesterday I might be just walking my way upto Homekund for the next 3 days with them. They started from a Village called Sutol directly to Bhagwabasa two days ago and will be passing the Junargali pass to sheela samudra and Homekund in the next 3 days. They invited us to join their team but I had to turn down the offer because our Backpacks were in Bhagwabasa and also felt the group was too slow. Thinking back now I feel we should have joined them because after reading the RontiSaddle –Roopkund- Homekund trek I really have missed an opportunity even after insisting from the group several times that we could have great fun. Anyways Bid goodbye to them and the Roopkund Lake we started at 9am. The scenes down were breathtaking with sparking sharp brown mountains, blue skies and white capped snow.

Once the sun was out the glossy marble rocky steps and stones began to evaporate. Loga slipped once and we were very careful. By 10 am we were at Bhagwabasa. By the time Mahn singh was preparing breakfast we packed up our bags to leave soon. Meantime while enjoying the views of Trisul with omlettes and tea the weather changed all of a sudden and by 10:30 and the entire area was cloudy. Shows closed for today we left the place after breakfast with big hugs from Mahn singh and friends.
We were in multiple thoughts as to whether we should reach Bedni today by 2pm and then to wan by 6pm or take it slow and reach Bedni and stay the night so that we could visit Ali bugyal tomorrow morning and return to Wan. Till Kallu vinayak it was a slow paced walk and we were in a treat of what we missed while climbing up. The view down to Patarnachni and Ghora Lotani was elaborate and impressive. To the right we could spot small hamlets and stone houses with horses and sheep’s grazing in each of the valleys. We decided not to rush and enjoyed our descend upto patarnachni for a tea break. We met a team there from Delhi and elaborated our independent trek experiences and the guide congratulated us on the summit.
Kallu vinayak & Landscape view of Patarnachni trail upto Ghora Lotani

Our next walk upto patarnachni was mostly misty, our only problem was with the heavy bags. There was nothing we could throw off to reduce the whole pack. We reached Ghora Lotani by 1pm and from here Bedni was visible. By 2pm as we were nearing Bedni, the scenario was totally different now. More than 30 tents and with loads of people. It was a Saturday and all big trekking operators, small trekking agencies along with local agencies have bought in bulk of trekkers to this wonderland. We rushed to Uday’s place, he hugged us at first glance and was happy about our summit and return timings all working out as planned. Summiting Roopkund was not at all about the distance but more about the altitude from 8000ft to 16700ft and back. It began drizzling and Uday was in the process of creating something special for lunch. I said we are leaving today but he insisted us to stay as it was already 3pm and rains would continue. More guides came in from different groups and Uday was telling our story, everybody congratulated us. I mean each and everyone we met including the forest officials Mr Madan singh and Mr. Khatri. They told us to stay as it was not safe to trek after 6pm through the jungle and the steepness to wan would be slippery. There wasn’t any additional payment for pitching the tent today. It was all free for us. Uday pitched his tent and till 7pm I took a small nap but the feeling was like I was in center of a temple festival with all those noises and what not. By 8 we had dinner and slept off.

4-10-16 Trek Day 4 Bedni Bugyal - Ali Bugyal - Gharoli Patal - Wan

Awake by 6am and popped my head through the tent to analyze the situation. The festival was still on so I slept again till 8am. Now half the people have disappeared from the place. By 9am we had breakfast and the grounds were almost empty. Bedni was back to what I saw it two days ago. Uday told me it was not a good idea to visit Ali Bugyal today as it would rain. It was actually sunny now and I thought I should give it a try. I gave my new Hydro flask bottle as a present to uday, he has also planned the Homekund trek with me next summer, just the two of us and one porter. I assured him call me if you are serious, I will try to reach and left the place by 10 am. Followed the Ali Bugyal track for a km but as Uday predicted it started drizzling and there was no use in proceeding. We returned back to the track directly to Gharoli patal. We left our water bottles at udays place and were walking thirsty, a local woman was walking by with her small daughter and when asked about the water source she gave us some fruits which eased up our throats. I just love these beautiful mountain peoples. While reaching gharoli Tea shop owner surendar had a big smile, i picked up two water bottles and tea for the final run. Some big groups where climbing up with walkie talkies and stuffs. Bored with all this walking we tried running and succeeded for a long way holding onto every tree and branches which came by our way. We made use of all the shortcuts but let me warn you this was highly dangerous and normal people please stay away from such acts but weirdoes are welcome to try. 

Now we could hear the Neel ganga and again the rains were heavy. Took out the tarpaulins and covered ourselves and continued till the Neelganga river bridge. Sun was back and the river was so clear we could see the sand and stones through the water. Had some snacks and our next stop upto Rankadhar was a steep climb with colorful trees in this autumn month. Apart from the vultures at Bedni the only bird I spotted was the Yellow Billed Blue Magpie. A kid was eagerly waiting for chocolates and she happily posed for a photograph with Loga. While sitting at the Rankhadhar tea shop we had one final full view of those hills upto Bedni. Reached Wan Gmvn guest house at 1 pm. Trek ended successfully in 75hrs.

We never knew that getting a shared vehicle upto Lohajung was a tough affair. Lavish lunch and Chatting with Mr Rana we got to the village only by 3pm and waited till 5pm there wasn’t a single vehicle to Lohajung. Since no train ticket was booked via Kathgodam to Delhi we had two plans one was to visit Jim corbet national park and the other was to take a road trip through Karnaprayag, Rishikesh and Haridwar. I opted for the road trip and the Holy cities because Jim corbet was not a place to finish off in hurry and I will be returning for a long stay in Corbett soon. At the wan market we got decent rooms to stay with hot water. There was also a bus at 5am directly to rishikesh so I went and spoke with the driver to hold two seats till karnaprayag. All was well we freshened up after 4 days. Dinner was cooked by them with Dhal, rice and chappatis. Took a long time to repack and recharge all the stuffs for our road trip ahead.

5-10-16 4 Wan- Tharali - Karnaprayag - Srinagar- Rishikesh

Ready by 5am we were near the bus having tea. Even though the bus was going upto Rishikesh I hate travelling long stretches in public transport. Karnaprayag was about 100km and we reached there by 10:30.The road conditions were terrible and unspeakable, felt like the bus journey just broke our already broken spines into more pieces. The only solacement throughout the journey was following the Pindari River along with the hundreds of mountains on either side. Upon reaching Karnaprayag we had breakfast, the Pindari River meets Alaknanda here and the confluence can be seen from a bridge.  We walked upto that bridge and took some photos.   
Next we took a shared jeep to Srinagar about 70 km away. Again passing numerous hills we were descending the entire trip, the cold was lost from 2500 to 1300 meters now. As we were heading to the holy cities we desperately wanted some Non- veg food before entering into the vegetarian towns and after having a heart full of chicken biriyani we got a shared car from Srinagar, just four of us with a father and son heading to Rishikesh. By 3pm the car cranked up and after reaching Devaprayag the Alaknanda River joined the mighty Ganges. Till reaching Rishikesh the views of Ganges was an experience to behold. I really loved this part of my road trip today. By 7pm we were at Rishikesh the Yoga capital of the world. I wanted to stay in a proper ashram at least once in life and took an auto to Ram Jhoola and crossed the bridge and found Parmarth Niketan, one of the biggest ashram in the world with more than 1000 rooms, but since it always had international guests the rooms are usually booked round the year for yoga courses from Parmarth I thought I will at least visit the place. But I got a room there and this place is not at all the usual Indian ashram. It was high class and had all facilities. The campus was beautiful. After Dinner from the canteen we went to the Ganges and relaxed there till late night.
6-10-16 & 7- 10- 16 - Rishikesh - Haridwar - Delhi - Chennai  

Heavy rains woke me up at 5am and once it stopped we decided to walk around Rishikesh. We walked from 6 am to Laxman Jhoola through the small roads. It felt like I was in Kerala. Saw Trayambakeshwar temple which had 13 storied building. Crossed Laxman jhoola, walked through the town and finally ended up at Triveni Sangamam which is a confluence of three holy significant rivers the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Saraswathy. 

On the way back had breakfast and reached Parmarth Niketan by a boat by crossing the Ganges, vacated the room and again took another boat to the other side where an autowala was waiting with a family asking us to join them till Haridwar. I was given the front seat near the driver and the next one hour was a fun ride with the big blue auto till we reached Haridwar. At mid 1pm Haridwar was more of a picnic spot for all the surrounding village people. There was no reason for a trekker to roam around here. Had lunch and visited some nearby places, shiva linga, Har Ki Pauri Ghat. We were tired but wanted to check out the Ganga Aarti performed daily at 6:30 pm and we waited. By 7pm the aarti with all the people who assembled around the Ganges was a beautiful experience. 
After that we decided to leave the place and headed to an internet center. Booked our confirmed train tickets to Delhi that night at 10:30 pm and Flight tickets to Chennai next day afternoon. After dinner at Haridwar we headed to the railway station, boarded our Delhi train which will reach morning 8am. Slept comfortably because of the tiredness. Morning reached old Delhi and booked a room to fresh up at Chandi Chowk. After breakfast a quick visit to Red fort and a drive to Airport we boarded the flight exactly on time and reached Chennai by 5pm. 

                                                                 Author    : Anish vk
Clicked by : Anish
   Team: Loga, Anish
Place  :  Roopkund Skeleton Lake, Uttarakhand
Elevation Min/Max : 8200 ft to 16,700 ft
Km Covered      : 4 days || 52Kms