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Thursday, 1 June 2023


Skeleton Lake? That too in India? This was my own reaction when I came to know about this lake. A glacier lake which contains hundreds of human skeletons is known as Roopkund which is situated in the Himalayas.

In fact this lake containing hundreds of skeletons is located in the slopes of Trishul massif, the mountain range of Himalayas, about which I was equally ignorant as in the case of Skeleton Lake.

Trishul I, Trishul II and Trishul III are three mountains in a group in Himalayas known as Trishula. This group of three resemble a trident in looks! Trisula in Sanskrit is a trident which is believed to be the weapon of Lord Siva by Hindus while Himalayas itself is his  abode 

Skelton Lake and Trishula I,II and III


At an altitude of 5000 meters ,the area around the lake is uninhabited and can be reached in the State of Uttarakhand  possibly only by mountaineers. When the water level shrinks and not frozen the skulls and bones can be seen during one or two months a year during summer.

In 1942 a Game Reserve Ranger named Hari Krishna Madhwal discovered the skeletons accidently. Seeing hundreds of skeletons it is reported that his assistants ran away initially! It was thought that the skeletons belonged to Japanese soldiers who tried to invade India during WWII but upon detailed investigation by the British, it was confirmed that the bones were older than that period.

As late as 2004 a professional team of National Geographic magazine made an expedition to the lake and returned with 30 skeletons for their detailed studies. Some of the skeletons had hair and flesh attached to bones! DNA tests were conducted. It was finally confirmed that the skeletons are 1200 years old. Their death might have occurred in the 9th century AD!

In 2013 further studies were conducted and the reason for the death of hundreds of people was found out to be because of gigantic hailstorms especially from the evidences on bones of skulls and shoulders! Although the reason seems to be logical, still the controversies are on.

Some researchers are of the opinion that the skeletons belonged to a Hindu pilgrimage journey called Nanda Devi(a manifestation of Goddess Parvati) Raj Jot Yatra. The skeletons were of male female group belonging to a wide age range.

Roopkund trek...
Last few years an arranged trek by Tourism Dept named as above takes place in favorable season. This trek is considered to be moderate to hard(in terms of difficulty) and one of the most beautiful treks in India. The trail of 53 kms which passes through mountainous rivers, enthralling ridges, lush forests and scenic meadows is divided into 6 days for one to complete from the base camp of Lohajung/ Wan.

It seems the Govt has banned such a trek for the last two years since such treks are disturbing the ecological systems of the area.