Mystery behind the Roopkund Trek

This article by me was originally posted on Triphippie

 Roopkund is one of the high altitude glacier lakes in the Himalayas, in the Uttarakhand State.The Roopkund trek gained massive attention due to hundreds of skeletons found on the surface of the lake because of which it is also known as The Mysterious Lake. It is also known as the Skeleton Lake.


Back in 1942, a British Forest guard unknowingly came across the lake and found numerous skeletons lying on the edge of the Lake. Since then it has been puzzling the adventure enthusiasts, the scientists and the historians to find out what could have been the cause of the presence of some 500-600 human skeletons at the height of 16000 ft above sea level.

There were numerous theories revolving around the mystery of Roopkund Lake. Discussions were rife whether it was a ritualistic suicide or some kind of landslide or an attack between two groups. Who were these people and what they were up to at this height was not very clear.

Some said they were on some kind of royal pilgrimage who hired a group of porters to carry their baggage on to the mountains. Some reports also say that they must have not died at the lake but their bodies must have got carried and deposited at the lake because of the movement of the glacier after being hit by the hailstones. As the lake freezes every year, their bodies were preserved for over thousand years.

PC @ thinkingparticle

There are many stories which are said to be the cause of the mass grave at the lake. The cause of death of these people is said to be a common reason as every skull has cracks of similar pattern. The theory to which many researchers adhere to is that the group must have caught amidst a sudden hailstone. A 2004 expedition concluded the death of the people was due to cricket-ball sized hailstones during an unexpected storm. Due to zero shelter options at this height the group had no means of escape and hence could not survive nature’s fury. As per the research, the skeletons dated back to between 830 and 850 A.D that belonged to two different types of groups, one being the shorter ones and the other were taller.The DNA tests revealed that the skeletons were the remains of a dynasty that lived in that era. It was when they discovered the lake, the storm must have hit, resulting in the death of those people.


Best Time to Visit – June to September

Height – 15500 ft

Level – Moderate



12 thoughts on “Mystery behind the Roopkund Trek

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