On the second day of Roopkund Trek, we started our trek from GMVN Guest House at Wan village and reached to Bedini Bugyal (Grass Land/Alpine Meadow). From Wan Village (7,875 feet) to Bedini (11,155 feet), the total distance is 11 kms and it took us about 6 hours to cover this distance.
A day before, we reached to GMVN Guest House in Wan Village at 08.00 PM. It was pitch dark by the time we reached there, so we couldn’t look around and went to sleep after the dinner. When we woke up in the next morning, we found a very pleasant weather outside. The morning rays of sun are falling gently in the green lawn of the guest-house. The guest-house is located in the isolation, surrounded by the high Pine trees on a hill, away from the human settlement of Wan Village. Far from the hustle and bustle of routine life, it is a place for peaceful and scenic beauty, where you can easily spend many days roaming around. We decided to break our fast in the lawn under the blue sky in that pleasant weather. Mr. Bisht prepared stuffed paranthas quickly and by 8.30 AM we were again set to trek further.
As promised, Mr. Bisht also arranged a mule for us. The hiring charge of the mule and its owner was INR 400 per day. The mule owner was a nice young person, who promised us to guide upto Junargali Pass. Later, we found him a bit irritating, but overall we had a good experience with him.
A Small Tip: Sometimes, mule-owner also charged as per the stoppage (padaav) on the way. If you agree on the stoppage price, rather than a full day price, then you may have to spend more money for a day. For example, if you go from Bedini Bugyal to Bhagwabasa on a single day, then price will be INR 400. But there is also a stoppage at Patharnachni in between. If you agree on the stoppage (padaav) price, then mule owner can demand INR 400 for Bedini to Patharnachni (first stoppage) and another INR 400 from Patharnachni to Bhagwabasa (second stoppage). This way, you will end up paying INR 800 for the day. So, always hire a mule for a full day price rather than on the stoppage basis.
We made the similar agreement with the mule owner on a full day price of INR 400. He adjusted three backpacks on the back of his mule with some personal stuff, while Sanjeev wanted to carry his backpack by own, a true trekker spirit.
There is a small temple known as Latu Devta Temple, adjacent to the guest house. The local people have a great respect and considered it very sacred. In front of the temple entrance, a cemented trail descends down towards Bedini. This trail descends for one kilometre, till a small running water stream. After that there are two trails, first one running slightly upwards and another one ascending more upwards. We moved on the second ascending trail for 2 kms till Rankadhar.
Rankadhar is a beautiful spot to spend some moments. It offers a beautiful 360 degrees view of surrounding hills, the forests and the valleys. There is a sacred temple of Maa Durga at Rankadhar, and it is very auspicious to stop there during the pilgrimage of Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra. Two fiber huts from forest department are also available.
From Rankadhar, the trail descends downwards towards the Neel Ganga River. As we moved forward along the terraced fields of Chaulai, we entered in the OAK forest. From this point upto 1 km before Bedini, we were supposed to move for 4 hours through the forest only.
The running water of Neel Ganga was so strong that we could hear it from distance. We have consumed our drinking water already and wanted to reach there as soon as possible. Neel Ganga River flows through the dense forest of Oak and Bamboos trees. Earlier, we had a lot of apprehension about the water purity of running stream, but we found the crystal clear water running down from the mountains. We forgot all chlorine tablets and portable water filter and enjoyed the natural water of the river.
Just after passing the bridge at Neel Ganga River, the actual ascend of the day starts for next four hours. This ascending trail is well marked till Bedini and you can easily hike alone. But as we moved further, the forest becomes denser and denser. It can be a thrilling idea to be in that forest lonely, but you should have lot of courage to do that. and if you are really brave enough, then walking lonely in that dense forest can be a rewarding experience, where nature is your only companion.
We kept moving with frequent rest on the trail. 2 hours 30 minutes later, we reached to a place called Gharoli Patal. This place is a small flat area in the middle of nowhere, having a small temple and two fiber huts of the forest department. At the camping site, there was some camping tents pitched on the ground, where they were expecting a trekking group next day. You can also search for the mobile networks in the vicinity of Gharoli Patal to make a call to your near and dear.
Now, we had only last one and half kilometer of the ascending trail upto Dauliadhar and it was only 0100 PM in the afternoon. We still had plenty of daylight to reach Bedini, so we stopped at Gharoli Patal for some rest.
45 minutes later, we started climbing on the remaining trail to Dauliadhar. It was a steep climb through very dense forest. We were tired of climbing, so stopped for frequent rests. Suddenly, weather became cloudy and clouds started moving around us. We were literally walking in the middle of the clouds. Minutes later, it started raining and we had to cover ourselves by the plastic sheet. This is the best way to avoid sudden rain burst, if you don’t wear the rain-suits already.
We met a group of six people returning back to Wan Village, who informed us that they had to stay at Bedini for 6 days, as it was continuous rain and they could approached to Roopkund only when weather got cleared two days ago. Later, we attempted the complete trek as per our schedule and didn’t feel any difficulty due to the cold or the rain. We were really lucky on the weather side.
After really a tough stretch, we reached Dauliadhar, the starting point of Bedini Bugyal. There is a small temple at this spot, where we stopped to offer our prayers by ringing the bell. Bedini Bugyal is still one kilometer away, but then it’s only a parallel trail, so we were relaxed by then. The forest area left behind and we could see a vast expanse of green cover over the hill in the front of us. The combined area of Bedini Bugyal and Aali Bugyal is one of the biggest bugyal in Asia.
We moved further from Dauliadhar in a great excitement and had the first glance of our destination in 30 minutes.
It was a great day and the experience of trekking in the forest was completely thrilling. Bedini Bugyal and its surrounding kept us busy for the hours because of the amazing sunset views and star-gazing in the nights. My next post will be on the hours of excitement at Bedini Bugyal.