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Roopkund Lake, Chamoli

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Roopkund is a high altitude glacial lake in the Uttarakhand state of India. It lies in the lap of Trishul massif and is famous for the hundreds of human skeletons found at the edge of the lake. The area is uninhabited, located in the Himalayas at an altitude of 5,029 metres . Surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow-clad mountains, the lake is a popular trekking destination.A shallow lake, having a depth of about two metres, Roopkund has attracted attention because of the human skeletal remains that are visible at its bottom when the snow melts. Many theories and opinions exist, from purely spiritual to scientific ones, attempting to explain the existence of these skeletons, which date back to 9th century CE. Because of the human remains, the lake has been called Skeleton Lake in recent times.Human SkeletonsThe human skeletons were rediscovered in 1942 by a Nanda Devi game reserve ranger H K Madhwal, although there are reports about these bones from the late 19th century. The skeletons are visible in the clear water of the shallow lake during a one-month period, when the ice melts. Along with the skeletons, wooden artifacts, iron spearheads, leather slippers, and rings were also found. When a team from National Geographic magazine retrieved about 30 skeletons, flesh was still attached to some of them. Geneticists, Niraj Rai along with Manvendra Singh at Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology at Hyderabad conducted DNA tests on a hundred samples from the lake and compared them to the current Indian population. Results indicated that 70% of them had an affinity with Iran, while the remaining belonged to the local population. It is hypothesized that the Iran group took the help of local porters to seek a new land for settlement. Later studies placed the time of mass death around the 9th century AD (1200 years old).
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  • Once in a life time experience... The trek had beautiful landscapes and scenery all around... It was a roller coaster ride for me.. But it was all worth.. Started ascent from lohajung with forest.. Wh...  more »
  • The Roopkund trek is one of the most famous treks in India, and deservedly so. The landscapes, sceneries and views that you go in this trek are absolutely unparalleled. To get the most out of these pa...  more »
  • We a group of Sri Lankans decided to do the Roopkund trek with IndiaHikes. We were grouped with a batch of 20 Indians and it took around 6 days for us to complete the entire hike. 4 days to ascend and...  more »