Thursday, August 20, 2009

Roopkund - Tales from a Distant Land..

Aug 20
Bhagwabhasa -->Roopkund(5029 m)

Who were these people , Why were they here??

Today is the day..! :)
Morning arrived quickly... Voices from our neighboring tents made sleep impossible. Sleep lingers on, and with irritation I realize that its impossible to control the decibel levels of the voices outside. Tea at 6:00. We gulp it out and head outside.
Layer myself. Hate wearing thermals. But it has to be done. As am putting them on I wonder if something so thin will actually keep me warm..Well - I just have to give them a chance.My appetite is almost gone.. But have some breakfast. We setoff

The View of peaks  from our Camping spot
The road from Bhagwabhasa is Rocky.
The landscape is not very friendly. The trek gets trickier. Steely greys stare out of every corner. Am told that the stones could tumble over and very easily cause a landslide. Teh climb gets steeper. At this altitude we tire easily. I decide that I wont be taking any pics as I might loose momentum. Thanks to Chandan maintain a steady pace. We walk past fellow trekkers. This really tests the limits of my physical endurance. At one point I tell Chandan I'm going to stop.. Its just around the corner he tells me..
The Lake in Roopkund
The last part is the hardest..And all of a sudden, its there.. The lake emerges into view. Ice glistening on the corners , an aura of mystery hangs in the air. The rest of the group get there too, a couple of minutes within each other..
Strewn everywhere we see Bones.
Human Remains on the Banks of the lake
This lake has been the subject of a lot of research.. Who are these people and why were they here...
Hair and Bone analysis was done on several of the corpses here (600-700 are believed to be buried here) and they reveal that they most probably perished in a landslide around the 9th century BC. The people there were also believed to be related...
As we walk down to the glacier that feeds the lake, Dr Kelkar explains What the bones are all about and what kind of conclusions can be drawn from them.. Tells us that some of these people were really tall cause the Bones seen were unusually large.
More Human Remains
Kind of creepy!!
Close to the source of the lake we see a huge piece of flesh... Flesh on the corpse..Eeeeeeeks!..This really freaks me out..
Am half expecting some green hand or something to emerge from the mud!
Human Remains on the Banks of the Lake
Since the weather is unpredictable, we start climbing up. Don't want to be caught in a white out. Really slippery track.
Finally we reach the top. Quick lunch and head back.
Fantastic feeling to have reached here. Bianca says the group last year couldn't go beyond Bhagwabhasa as the area was covered with snow. So this is the first time shes seeing the lake herself.
We keep moving. The trek downwards is every bit as tricky as the one uphill.. The rocks are slippery and its a challenge to keep balance. The Weather has been kind to us.
We keep walking and we reach the camp site at around 1:30 PM. Record time :)..
Now that we've trekked Roopkund and back , we feel a lot lighter.

We wonder about the incident at Roopkund that had caused so many to perish. There are references to this in the songs sung by the Gujjars(Shepherds). One theory is that, It was the king of Kanaugh and his subjects who perished there. Whoever it was hair analysis has indicated that they were deficient in Iron and Vitamin C. National Geographic featured Roopkund in an documentary 'Riddles of the dead'. I mentally decide to You tube the documentary once I get back.
Kind of sad to think so many died. Death frozen in Ice...
The locals do not allow trespassers to take bones or any of the skeletal remains with them as they believe that they are their ancestors. This has helped preserve whatever is left there.
View of the Lake as we climbed down
Feyn Kamal - A Flower found only in the higher reaches of the Himalayas
Who are these people, Why were they there?
Some questions might always remain a mystery...


  1. ( waving hands fervently in the air) me !! me !!! me!! i have a doubt !!! if they died like in the 9th century... how come one of them still has flesh remaini?????? wouldnt it have disintegrated by now????

    oh my god. how frreaky. the word verification below is ....get this...BONSES .

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog and reading about your adventurous treks. I definitely want to visit this place. I need to get this info for my next trip back home.

  3. @Cest la Vie... let me know if you need more info :)... will be glad to send them across..
    and yes its an experience of a lifetime..a definite must do!

  4. ... of course the flesh is disintegrated...but theres still some left..and only on some of the corpses... whats left are the bones and plenty of them at that... :)...

  5. Priiiiiii...didnt know it was you... :)



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