What Lies Beneath?

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

Aerial Shot of Roopkund Lake

Roopkund Lake

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

India Today’s Exclusive on the Skeletons

Skeletons on the lakebed

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:

Skull shot

Skull shot

Here are the official findings:

Courtesy: Roopkund.com

Courtesy: Roopkund.com

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

QUICK FACTS:

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! 😉

Hellhole!

Me to the Mister: “Listen, let’s go to the ‘Door To Hell’ sometime soon.”

He: “Honey, I already did!”

Me: (outraged) “WHAT!!!???!!! WHEN???!!!???”

He:  (with a straight face)  “The day I walked through the chapel doors down the aisle with you!!!”  😆

While I socked him in the eye real good, I’m hoping he’ll be forgiving enough and sporting enough to make a trip with me YET AGAIN to the “Door to Hell” 😀 …the real one this time! 😉

Illuminating the dreary landscape of the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan is ‘The Door’, a blazing crater the size of a football field! 😯 It’s a place that can easily rival the most superbly constructed set of a Hollywood sci-fi flick! See for yourself!

800px-Darvasa_gas_crater_panorama

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

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Image Courtesy: Flydime

The origin of this gigantic flaming pit makes for a rather interesting read. About 40 years ago, a couple of Soviet geologists tried to bottle natural gas from the said site for private gains. Their experiment turned out to be nothing short of an unforgivable ecological disaster when the earth under their drilling rig caved in, creating a gargantuan abyss spouting deadly gases! 😮

In a desperate bid to avoid further atmospheric poisoning, they threw a burning match in the gaping void 😯 hoping the fire would burn out the gas reserves completely. Well, it’s been 42 years and we’re still counting!

Here’s an explosive review (pun intended) 😉 courtesy 4GuysInACar!

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As incredible as it sounds, it is an experience that has ‘MUST-VISIT’ etched in BIG BOLD LETTERS all across it.

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gate_to_hell_1

The burning hole might burn a hole in your pocket 😉 what with it being in an exotic location and all, but make sure you set eyes on Lucifer’s earthly abode 😛 before the doors close permanently as ordered by the Turkmen President recently.

QUICK FACTS:

What: The Door To Hell/ Gates of Hell, a natural gas field that has been ablaze for over 4 decades!

Where: Derwaze/ Darwaza village in the middle of Karakum Desert, 260 kms north of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

For whom: For those who love all things bizarre!

Go Green!

Didn’t Tom Cruise propose to Katie Holmes atop the Eiffel? Kaunsa bada teer mara? Today each is hunting the other down with a rifle!!! 😆

No happy ending there.

If you’re furiously scratching your head as to where to pop the question, Ukraine’s Tunnel of Love in Kleven is nothing short of heaven! Not only would the unusual choice of location earn you considerable brownie points from your partner, locals swear that the leaves billowing in the gentle breeze are actually whispering a prayer to the Love Gods on behalf of the romantics they deem to be sincere. So there!

Image Courtesy: mydesy.com

Andrew Spiering writes:

2013-06-25 21_34_22-Take a Stroll in the ‘Tunnel of Love’ _ Land8 Blog

This arboreous archway really is as much a design of nature as it is of man. The goods train supplying timber to a local fiberboard factory located smack in the middle of Kleven’s lush forests kept parting the dense foliage flanking its tracks. Journeying thrice a day, back and forth, for decades together resulted in the brilliant green passageway that exists today.

This leafy canopy bursts with happy color at the onset of spring so you might want to time your proposal for around then.

Tunnel-of-Love

Just make sure the train doesn’t pop you off before you pop your question! 😆 😆 😆

Here’s to evergreen love then!

QUICKS FACTS:

What:    The 1.8 miles long Tunnel of Love

Where: In the forests of Kleven, East Ukraine

For Whom: Everybody in love. Or those on the lookout for it!

Ah! Belize-imo!!!

As a kid, I couldn’t get over my addiction for the mint with the hole. Now, after setting eyes on this wicked design of nature, I suspect I’ll have trouble getting over the hole with the mint (green waters)! 😆 This what they call life coming a full circle, eh? 😉 Great Blue Hole, Belize City, USA That was the Great Blue Hole, gaping right back at you, perhaps just as open-mouthed as you are right now! 😛  A perfectly-rounded pool with azure waters calmer than the Buddha’s peaceful countenance, this sunken basin is actually one of many entrances to a 14km-long stretch of submarine caves! A fellow-blogger, TahitianGoddess, describes this natural wonder brilliantly: 2013-06-25 00_12_37-Great Blue Hole, Belize _ I'd rather be living in Bora Bora A cross-sectional view of the Blue Hole shows it to resemble a bust, the headless figures you see in those lingerie shops! 😛

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There’s of course the widely-photographed mouth, followed by a vertical cylindrical neck that opens into a roomy cavern sprouting frighteningly beautiful stalactites from its sturdy shoulders. blue-hole-diving scuba-diving-the-giant-blue-hole The farthest most divers have managed is between 100 to 170 feet. Less than half the entire depth of the trough! The final chamber is the stomach, a place that lies almost 400 feet down below. No one usually reaches here for they must first battle those deadly limestone incisors waiting in the shadows to slice them right open. I fervently pray that the Great Blue Hole eventually taunts the hydrophobic in me enough to let go. It’d sure be a shame to enjoy this marvel merely by sitting in front of the screen of my Apple! 😆 Quick Facts: What: The Great Blue Hole  Where: Near Belize, Central America. Approx 50 miles off the Belizean coast. For Whom: A certified haven for marine conservationists, scuba divers and naturalists.