Mystery Of Human Skeletons In Glacial Lake – Roopkund


Our past has left us with throw back of mysterious places and irretrievable lands that have always magnetized our fascination and sensitize us to visit any of them at least once in life. The one of the most flimflam and enrapturing exemplar of perplexing places getting unlaced is the “Roopkund” a small glacial lake. The inquisitive consciousness contemplate to notice some provisioned water, a small Lake, or a water freshet and some fish fossils, when glacial ice melts at 5000 meters above sea level. How about spotting more than 500 human skeletons? Yes, that’s the puzzlement of frozen glacial Lake hiding inside skeletal of human remains. It lays en-route to Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra of three week long period organized once in twelve years traversing through Pithoragarh, Almora and Chamoli districts of Uttarakhand state. Previously this lake was known for its mysterious existence but now it is one of the hot topics of discussion amidst the scientific fraternity, explorers, and visitors from worldwide.

There are many theories and opinions, from purely spiritual to purely scientific ones, which explain the existence of these skeletons, which date back to 9th century CE clubbed with a local belief reflected in traditional folklores connect it to a local Raja Jasdhaval. Many historians linked the corpses to an unsuccessful attack by Mohammad Tughlak on the Garhwal Himalaya. (Mohammad Tughlak occupied Delhi throne from 1325 until his death in 1351), still others believed that the remains were of those of victims of an unknown epidemic. Some anthropologists also put forward a theory of ritual suicide (Peoples Temple founder, Jim Jones, a charismatic churchman, in Guyana in 1978, commanded his followers to commit, what he termed a “revolutionary act” thereby that day 909 assemblage of people committed mass suicide). Owing to discovery during World War II, the skeletons were linked to be of Japanese soldiers died due to exposure to cold, while passing through India. Some British explorers to Roopkund and many scholars attribute that the skulls were of General Zorawar Singh of Kashmir and his troops who had got lost and died in the middle of Himalayan region after they got caught in bad weather while returning from the battle of Tibet in 1841.

The exact whereabouts of these skeletons is still a mystery. But brushing aside all these concoctions now it stands concluded by the scientists by conduction of radiocarbon dating, (a technique used by scientists to determine the ages of objects including human remains from the distant past as old as about 62,000 years ancient) that the skeletons
discovered near the frozen lake belonged to the 9th century around 850 AD, approximately 1200 years ancient. As there is no evidence of nearby settlement, hence it is believed to be of travelers who did not die at the scene of Lake, but during travelling but their bodies were deposited in the Lake as a result of glacial movement (this however is somehow near to the local belief regarding Raja Jasdhawal episode of perishing en-route).

A joint exploration by scientists of India and Europe in 2004 and based on DNA test claimed the skeletal remains of two groups, one marked by the shorter stature of the skeletons while the other is significantly taller people. The taller group is linked to Kokanastha Brahmins of Maharashtra. A study undertaken by Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad, and latest technology Accelerated Mass Spectrophotometric (AMS) analysis conducted on 31 samples of bone and muscle
taken from a relatively well-preserved body and several skeletons found in a frozen state at Roopkund came out that the skeletal remains are about 1,500 years old, while three samples have DNA which are not found anywhere in the world but only in a particular group of people from Maharashtra It is only through mystery and madness that most flimflam and enrapturing precedents of mysterious places get unraveled and it also applies to the mystery of human skeletons in glacial lake – Roopkund.