October 23, 2021

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The unsolved mystery of Skeleton Lake

2 min read

The soaring sunshine was nevertheless to shine on the freezing, snow-protected cirque wherever I was resting soon after an early morning trudge to a glacial tarn. Cold and depressing, at a dizzying top of 4,800m in the Indian Himalayas, I could not summon the electrical power to care about the pile of human skeletons stacked next to the frozen lake regarded as Roopkund. In 2009, when I went on the trek, the thriller of “Skeleton Lake” was considered solved and Roopkund trek was effectively on its way to changing the system of the nascent trekking scene in India.

However, additional than a decade on, not only has the modest lake turn into a target of its fame but it proceeds to confound even as revolutionary developments have been made in understanding our past.

In 1942, H K Madhwal, an Indian forest official, stumbled on hundreds of human skeletons stockpiled in and about Roopkund lake. He claimed the weird find – a mysterious lake wherever amongst 300 to 800 individuals achieved their tragic conclude – and the frigid Himalayas continued to maintain the human continues to be. In the late 1950s, the macabre mountain uncover was announced to the general public, boosting good fascination and triggering a number of investigations that proceed to date.

All of that was only secondary to scores of trekkers who, like me, have trekked to Roopkund in the very last ten years, chiefly enamoured by the unparalleled sights, assorted landscapes and demanding route.

Situated five times from the nearest settlement in Uttarakhand condition, the 7 days-extended trek spanning much more than 50km sets off from idyllic Himalayan villages that are no a lot more than a cluster of conventional residences. Passing by ethereal mist and moss-lined oak forests, the trail then winds along expansive wildflower-laden alpine pastures, regionally recognized as bugyals, that take place only higher than the top of 3,300m in the Himalayas. Lofty Himalayan peaks shortly occur into perspective and dominate the horizon for the future pair of times. The greatest issue of the trek at 5,000m is Junargali, a knife-edge-like ridge with a 360-degree look at of the significant Himalayas and the rugged glacial landscape.

Roopkund lies 200m beneath this ridge. The treacherous, steep climb to Junargali has led to a operating joke among trekkers that just one mistaken phase could effortlessly increase more bones to the existing pile in the lake. Almost 80 decades right after Skeleton Lake very first captured the world’s imagination, that basic joke will not appear to be much too significantly-fetched after new revelations.

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