Roopkund is situated at a height of 4700m, in the lap of Trisul massif. This usually called “Mystery Lake” since human skeletons and remains of horses were found there. The skeletons were discovered in 1942 by a park ranger. At that time, it was believed that the people died from an epidemic, landslide or blizzard. The carbon dating from samples collected in the 1960s vaguely indicated that the people were from the 12th century to the 15th century. In 2004, a team of Indian and European scientists visited the location to gain more information on the skeletons. The team uncovered vital clues including jewelry, skulls, bones and a preserved body.
DNA tests on the bodies revealed that there were two groups of people, a short group (probably local porters) and a taller group who were closely related. Though the numbers were not ascertained, it is believed that three to six hundred people perished. Radiocarbon dating of the bones determined the time period to be in the 9th century, predating the earlier inaccurate tests. After studying fractures in the skulls, the scientists in Hyderabad and London determined that the people died not of disease, but of a sudden hailstorm.
The hailstones were as large as cricket balls, and with no shelter in the open Himalayas, all of them perished. Furthermore, with the rarefied air and icy conditions, many bodies were well preserved. With landslides in the area, some of the bodies made their way into the lake. What is not determined was where the group was headed to. There is no historical evidence of any trade route to Tibet in the area or any places of pilgrimage.
- Area: Uttarakhand Chamoli Garhwal India
- Trip Duration: 09 Days
- Trekking Duration: 07 Days
- Trekking Grade: Moderate+
- Max. Altitude: 5029 mts.
- Best Time: April to October