Uttrakhand, known for its Hindu pilgrimage sites, Rishikesh, Haridwar, and the famous Jim Corbet also. But Uttarakhand also has an unexplained and mysterious story. Roopkund lake, the lake of skeletons.
Roopkund is a high altitude glacial lake in the Village Wan, Debal, Chamoli district in the Uttarakhand state of India. It lies in the lap of Trishul peaks of Himalayas. Roopkund is a popular trekking spot and is also famous as the “ lake of skeletons!”
Between the many peaks of the Himalayas in the north of Uttarakhand Trishul have three peaks. These peaks are located on the borders of Garhwal in Chamoli district and Kumaon area of the Bageshwar district. And in the between these peaks, Roopkund lake is located.
Roop means ‘beautiful‘ and kund means ‘lake or pond’ It is not only beautiful but there is also a mysterious touch to this lake. Hence, called Roopkund as ‘Mystery Lake.’ With snow-draped mountains and glaciers, Roopkund is also a famous trekking destination.
Stories about Roopkund
Now talking about the mystery of this lake. The mystery is the skeletons found in and around the lake and one can actually see the human skeletons in the water and on the banks of the lake!
Drenched in the snow, Roopkund is found frozen most of the time. But when the snow melts, one can see the skeletons inside the water. And according to the scientific researches, the skeletal remains are of 9th century AD.
The scientists also performed some tests and the DNA tests on the skeletons revealed that they belong to different groups of people. The genetic compositions had a resemblance to Iranians and locals. There are many stories and some myths related to Roopkund. However, with the mysterious touch and stunningly beautiful landscapes around, Roopkund attracts many adventure enthusiasts.
But finally, in 2013 the Scientists concluded that the skeletons of about 200 people discovered near the frozen lake belonged to the people of a 9th-century Indian tribe who died due to the hail storm.
In 1942, the skeletons were found for the first time by a British forest guard. At that time, it was believed that the skeletons were those of Japanese soldiers who had died while crossing that route during World War II.
Roopkund Mystery Solved
But scientists have now found out that the skeletons were of pilgrims and locals as the skeletons dated to around 850 AD.
Research reveals that the skeletons were of two main groups – one a family group and the other who was relatively short.
The researchers concluded that death was due to a fatal blow on the back of their heads and not due to any wound by weapons, avalanche or landslide. There were marks on their skulls and shoulders indicating that they might have been hit by something round, like a cricket ball. As there were no injuries to other body parts so probably that hard round objects were possibly cricket ball sized hail stones or ice balls, fell from above.
So now Roopkund is developed as an ecotourism place and as of now only adventure enthusiasts or curious researchers are visiting this Mystery Lake in Uttarakhand.
Apart from the stories and mysteries, you can enjoy the serene environment, gigantic mountains, and Himalayan vegetation. Your journey to Roopkund with all the wonderful trekking tracks and nature will be an interesting one for sure.
How to Reach Roopkund
By Road –
There are many buses and shared jeeps are available to reach at Wan Village after the journey of at least 24 hours. It is about 530 km from Delhi via Haldwani, Almora and about 505kms from Delhi via Rishikesh, Karnaprayag.
And then the treking part of about 23 km to reach this Roopkund point.
When to Visit Roopkund
Monsoon is not advisable. There are flash floods and landslides during that time.
Best time – During the summer months; April, May, and June.