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Roopkund – The Skeleton Lake of Uttarakhand

Perched at the height of 5029 m above the level of the sea in the deeper parts of the Himalayan Ranges is the Roopkund Lake. That is a small water body with approximately 40 m in diameter. The Roopkund in Uttarakhand is colloquially referred to as the Skeleton Lake because of containing the remains of several hundred humans from the ancient times that are scattered along its shores.

Roopkund Lake, Uttarakhand

There is very little information obtained about the origin of these skeletons as the area has never been subjected to archaeological scrutiny or systematic anthropology. And that in part is because the location is frequently disturbed by nature and is affected by rockslides. Also, the local pilgrims and hikers, who often visit Roopkund have removed some of the artifacts and have manipulated the skeletons as well.

Skeletons near roopkund lake

All of this might come across as spooky, but the glacial Lake in Uttarakhand consists of hundreds of human skeletons at its base. The area near the Lake is uninhabited because it is not conducive for humans to live here. Roopkund is further surrounded by several glaciers and high-rise mountains that are snow-clad. One thing is great about the Lake –it is perfectly suitable for taking trekking trips.

The View offered from Roopkund

The Lake is settled amidst the ravenous yet benevolent mountainous peaks that remain as a spotlight because of the mystery and impeccable beauty that Roopkund has to offer. The Lake has been touted as the “Mystery Lake” since ages as it contains the remaining of human and horses’ skeletons that belonged to the Paleolithic era. If you are planning on taking a trekking trip to Roopkund, your journey will start from Lohajung, which is a tiny pass nestled at an altitude of 16,499 feet in the Garhwal Himalayan Ranges.

Roopkund Lake

The Roopkund Lake is quite shallow and has a depth of about 2 meters, however, is the most popular Lake in the state of Uttarakhand. The Lake offers its visitors a panoramic vista of the mountainous scenery with snow as its backdrop and is encased by the rock-strewn glaciers from all sides. Roopkund remains frozen throughout the year. And the skeletal remains in the water body are believed to be more than 500-600 years old. If you plan on taking a trekking trip to Roopkund, you will travel through the villages that practice Pahari culture, and you will have a closer insight into that.

You will get a chance to visit the alpine meadows that offer enchanting beauty powered by the sacred Bedni Kund and lush green. Beyond Bedni Bugyal, the trip to Roopkund starts getting steeper. Also, Baguabasa is nestled at the height of 4100 m above the level of the sea and is at a 5 km distance from Roopkund. But, the weather conditions at such an altitude are unpredictable, so make sure to carry your raincoats and other measures to stay safe.

Why should you take a trek to Roopkund?

Even with spooky background, Roopkund has a lot more to offer than what meets the eye. And taking a hiking trip to the Lake will be worth all the risk. The famous Lake of Uttarakhand remains frozen throughout the entire year and is surrounded by glaciers that are strewn over the rugged mountainous ranges, which imparts an enigmatic aura and allures the tourists to explore the site. You can also have the experience of rich Pahari culture on your way to traversing Roopkund.

Why should you take a trek to Roopkund

 

This trekking trip will give you a chance of walking on the alpine meadows, and you will be able to visit the sacred Bedni Kund that exhibits crystal clear water. Once you have crossed Bedni Bugyal, the trip becomes steeper. Therefore, professional guidance is hugely advised.

How to reach?

Roopkund Lake is situated in the State of Uttarakhand in the lap of Trishul massif. To be precise –it is based in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Roopkund is not connected with motorable roadways. Therefore, you will have to take a trek of about 23 km after the last motorable point, and that is the Wan village. The journey to Roopkund is divided into two parts one in the motorable part, and the other is a trekking trip.

Nearest Railway StationRishikesh railway station is the nearest railway station to Roopkund.

Nearest AirportThe Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun is the nearest Airport to Roopkund.

Location Map


Very few would be aware of the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra that is organized every 12 years starting from Nauti Village near Karnaprayag to Hemkund, which is situated close to Roopkund. This yatra is held to commemorate Goddess Nanda. A large troop of people from Kumaon and Garhwal takes part in the tough holy journey. Although several stories are made about the human skeletons found in Roopkund, the real reason behind it remains a mystery. However, if you are in on for an adrenaline-rushing trekking trip and to encase the mesmerizing beauty of the Himalayan Ranges through your eyes, then you must plan to visit Roopkund at least once.

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