Had the climax of What Lies Beneath been shot at the bottom of Roopkund Lake, even Harrison Ford’s Ford would not make it back to the surface! 😆
On the face of it, Roopkund is a high-altitude glacial lake nestled in the folds of the Trishul Massif located in the inhospitable Garhwal Himalayas . With its icy garb on, it is the picture of tranquility.
Aerial Shot of Roopkund Lake
Come summer, when the frozen water body begins to thaw, what meets your eyes will make your blood run cold! Close to six hundred skeletons, some with bits and pieces of flesh and hair still intact :eek:, can be found strewn across the bed of the lake!!!
India Today’s Exclusive on the Skeletons
Skeletons on the lakebed
A forest guard, H.K. Madhwal, was the first to stumble across this spine-chilling discovery in 1942. Immediately, everyone in British India began scratching their heads as to what could have triggered the simultaneous death of 600 people. Was it the plague? Or another dreaded epidemic? Swine-flu perhaps??? 😆
Did a Yeti run amok into the group of pilgrim tourists headed to the Nanda Devi shrine? Or were those the remains of foreign soldiers caught in crossfire? Did this gang succumb to the pressures of ritualistic suicide? Was Uttarakhand a killer even back then? 😉
Historians, until recently, were smug with the belief that this mass massacre had been ordered by Mohammad Tughlaq. Tough Luck Guys! 😉 The skeletons have been identified as dating back to the 9th. century AD, eons before Tughlaq was even conceived! 😆
In light of the recent scientific testing undertaken, the explanation that seems to be most plausible is the local folklore surrounding this mysterious occurrence.
Apparently in medieval times, the King of Kanauj, Raja Jasdhawal, embarked on a religious pilgrimage with his pregnant wife Rani Balampa and an entourage of servants, porters, hunters and dancers. Physical evidence gleaned consists of brass luggage trunks, precious rings, leather footwear, glass bangles, drums, spears, bamboo staves etc. which adds credence to the legend. The Nanda Devi Raj Jat is a huge festival celebrated every twelve years and it is surmised this group intended to partake in the festivities as a token of thanksgiving for bestowing the kingdom with an heir. Apparently the troupe got too boisterous in their merriment which incited the wrath of the local deity, Latu.
Scientists who were roped in by Nat Geo in 2004 to ascertain the exact cause of death point to a terrible hailstorm as the culprit where hailstones the size of cricket balls 😯 rained down on the pilgrim party! Check out the fracture to this one’s skull:
Here are the official findings:
It’d take a lot more than merely being a Ranbir Kapoor fan and having watched YJHD a trillion times to get you to trek to The Skeleton Lake as they call Roopkund these days 😆
This place is certainly not for the faint-hearted! After all, what with some of the corpses being so well-preserved in this natural morgue, they might just flutter an eyelid or part their lips to smile into your camera! Oooooo, my imagination is giving me the bumps all over!
If you do make it to Roopkund, make sure you don’t bring a skeleton back home as a souvenir!!! 😉
Images Courtesy: Ruchita
What: Skeleton/Roopkund/Mystery Lake, a 2m deep glacial lake.
Where: In the lap of the Trishul Massif in the Garhwal Himalayas, 5029m above sea-level (in present-day Chamoli district of Uttarakhand)
For whom: Hardcore trekkers and everyone with nerves of steel. Superman included! 😉