Bedini Bugyal is a part of extensive alpine meadow spread over 20 square kilometer at the height of 3,400 metres (11,155 feet) on the way to Roopkund Lake. With the adjacent area of Aali Bugyal, it is considered as one of the largest grass lands in Asia. It is an important camping ground for the night halt to the trekkers on the way to Roopkund Lake and beyond. Although, the large camping ground at Bedini is able to accommodate hundreds of camps on any given day, but normally, such a large number of people never trek on this route at a time.
Bedini is also an important stop of Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra, a religious journey, that performed by the thousands of devotees of Garhwal and Kumaon region in every 12 years. It is believed that Nanda Devi (Goddess Parvati) normally used this route to travel from her parents’ home to Kailash Mountain, where she resided with the Lord Shiva. In the context of goddess’ journey, local people celebrate a week-long festival and performed a similar journey, once in every 12 years, from Nauti village near Karnprayag to the heights of Roopkund and beyond that to Homekund with a four horned sheep decorated with ornament and other offerings. Most people take part in this journey from Wan Village to Bedini Bugyal.
Note: Last Nanda Raj Jaat Yatra was held in the year 2000. It was supposed to be held in the year 2012, but couldn’t performed and scheduled in the year 2013. In 2013, it was again postponed to the year 2014, because of the natural calamities in Uttarakhand.
Roopkund Lake is about 10 kms away from Bedini Bugyal and generally requires another night halt at nearby Bhagwabasa camping ground (3 kms before Roopkund) to trek onwards on the next day. Some brave hearts also attempt this trek route of Bedini to Roopkund Lake and return back to Bedini on a single day. It is very tough to do this portion in a single day, but still doable. However, if you attempt this trek on a single day, then you may not have the chance to trek upto Junargali Pass. In this case, expect to return back from Roopkund Lake only.
We arrived at the camping ground of Bedini Bugyal at 0245 PM in the afternoon. Weather was still cloudy and surrounding valleys and mountains were completely covered by the clouds. No other group was there at Bedini. A trekking group from a travel agency was expected at Bedini on the next day, so some people were there to organise their accommodation and foods. Also, Mobile networks were not available around Bedini.
Luckily, the famous dhaba run by a local young boy, Pratap, was open at that time. so we got the arrangements of hot water and hot food. That dhaba of Pratap is the only spot to get the food between Wan Village upto Roopkund Lake and then again back upto Didna Village. Earlier, there was also a dhaba at Patharnachni (3.5 kms beyond Bedini), but it doesn’t exist now. You can get simple veg-meals, tea, chips/biscuits packets and hot water from Pratap’s dhaba. Usual charges of the dinner for a person is INR 100 (Dal, Rice, Chapatis and Veg.).
Interestingly, there is also a cricket pitch at Bedini, just adjacent to Pratap’s Dhaba. But, you can’t find enough people and equipments to play cricket, unless you are trekking in the group organised by the trekking companies.
Three fiber-huts from the forest department are available for the night stay at Bedini. The charges are INR 200 per night for a hut and you can accommodate as much people as possible. They don’t provide anything extra, so you have to arrange your own sleeping bags and mattresses. These huts are very useful during the rain, but normally I believe camping tents have more fun to sleep in the wild.
We pitched our tents at a suitable place on the ground. We have two tents, one is for a single person and another one for three person. So, we four could easily accommodated in our tents. I was tired of trekking since the morning, so after setting the camp, I straight went to sleep.
While sleeping, I heard a voice exclaiming, “Look at that. Such a beauty !” Tanvir Sir was talking to Sanjeev near our tent. I woke up instantly and popped my head out from the tent. Outside weather was very good with no signs of clouds. I came out and looked around. It was stunning view on the right side. Snow-clad peaks of Trishul and Nanda Ghunti were popping out from the distant clouds, and golden rays of setting sun made a picture perfect. I clicked a lot of pictures of those peaks, clouds and sun; and it turned to be one of the most memorable evening of my life.
In the night, we had the dinner at the dhaba. It was a chilly night and temperature dropped significantly as compare to the day-time. I looked at the sky and it was filled with a lot of shining stars. From many years, I never seen such a beautiful sky in the night. Bedini is an awesome place for the star-gazing.
The chilled wind forced us to step inside the tents very early. When we woke up in the morning, the sky and surrounding views were more clear. At the distance, many snow-covered peaks of The Himalayas (Chaukhambha, Neelkanth, Bandarpunch, Aadi Parvat) were popping out above the clouds. The first rays of rising sun were shining above the majestic peak of Chaukhambha and its neighbouring peaks. The low clouds in the valley made it more beautiful. Trishul and Nanda Ghunti were not visible on the other side due to the clouds.
There is no toilet facility available at Bedini. The whole area of the meadow is a toilet ground for you. It is better to find a distant corner in the vast meadow under the blue sky. A pipeline is there for continuous running Water.
Before moving ahead from Bedini, we were supposed to pay some charges levied by the forest department on this trek. These fees are related to camping permit, trek permit, charges against guides and mules etc. But nobody was available there to collect these fee, therefore, we moved ahead. While returning back from Roopkund, we were stopped by a person from the forest department, who collected all the required fees.
There are two ways to move further from Bedini, either you can climb behind Pratap’s Dhaba to the trail going towards Bhagwabasa or you can move ahead in Bedini Bugyal to visit Bedini Kund first and then climb to the trail going to Bhagwabasa. All trekkers generally move towards Bedini Kund first and then join the trail. It doesn’t require any extra effort, but it helps us to witness some of the amazing views of Bedini Kund.
Bedini Kund is a beautiful pond in the middle of the grass land, and normally filled by the rain water. It is believed to be a place, where The Great Sage, Maharishi Ved Vyas compiled the four Vedas of Hindu Mythology. At least, local people have a strong belief on this. Also, some people believed that Goddess Durga in her Kali Avatar killed all the demons here. Two small stone temples are also there near Bedini Kund and considered very sacred among the local people.
To me, Bedini Kund is the biggest paradox on this trek. We trek so hard to reach Roopkund, a small and mostly frozen mysterious lake, where skulls and bones are not visible most of the time. Nobody ever talk about the beauty of this Bedini Kund. It is generally considered as an usual viewpoint on the way to Roopkund, but when I reached there, I was stunned with the natural beauty. Nothing can beat the charm of this pond in a green meadow with reflecting clouds and white peaks. The colours around the pond is so vibrant that you can lost yourself for the hours.
Near the Kund, we found many cattle grazing in the pasture. It was indeed a large herd of cattle at that height of Himalayas.
From the Bedini Kund, we moved further to our next destination Bhagwabasa. I will write a separate post about our trekking from Bedini Bugyal to Bhagwabasa. As of now, walking on the green grass of Bedini Bugyal and watching the beauty of Himalayas were the most amazing moments of Roopkund Trek.