Travel Stories for everybody by anybody

The Roopkund Riddle

Statutory Warning: This vacation is certainly not meant for the faint-hearted.

For the ones on the lookout for a challenging trekking expedition which combines both adventure and mystery, Roopkund Lake is one of the most beguile and enthralling exemplar of the same. Tucked into the remote corners of the Himalayas at an altitude of 5,029 meters, Roopkund Lake is located in the lap of Chamoli in Uttarakhand. However, unlike other glaciers, when ice melts here, hundreds of corpses can be seen floating. The Roopkund riddle started in 1942, when a forest ranger accidentally unearthed a mass grave here. With hundreds of skeletons strewn on the slopes of the Himalayas this colossal tragedy shook people worldwide. Since then, it has become an important spot for visitors and scientists as they learn and try deciphering the deep enigma of this place.
The first forensic investigation of the frozen corpses was commissioned by the National Geographic, which revealed that the skulls had fractures, which scientists concluded may have been caused by the impact of very large hailstones. It seems likely that some kind of natural disaster, such as a blizzard or landslide befell them, as that might explain why some of the bodies inside the lake were found intact and preserved under the ice.

Keeping these gory details aside, a trekker has to realize the taste of adventure which he can experience, from deep virgin forests, gurgling brooks, breath-taking campsites and miles of undulating meadows, as he climbs from 8,000 ft to 16,000 ft in four days. The site is isolated and accessible only on foot. Thus, it requires about four days travel from the nearest human settlement. Though there are small villages nestled in the slopes of Himalayas which provide the basic ration for the trek, it is advisable to come prepared with all your trekking gear to the base camp. This trek can be done in two windows – either in May-June which is just before monsoons or August – September which is after the monsoons. Also, one must note that this is certainly not a trek you want to try out if you have no prior trekking experience or physical activity.

For thrill seekers daring to dare themselves, this is one destination they shouldn’t miss!

Contributed by Rini Sinha

Photo Credit – Roopkund Lake Trek

Professionally, pursuing graduation in English Honours from LSR, DU. Otherwise, in my last teenage year, and still a kid at heart. The mantra of my life, even though it is cliched, is to live and let live. Good company and a steaming mug of coffee is all it takes to get me going. Singing, bathroom and otherwise, gives me immense happiness. An ardent reader, a movie cum sitcoms - buff, who finds particular pleasure in discovering new, relatively unexplored haunts to gorge and relax. I wander,therefore I am.