[ What Experts At National Geographic Magazine Have To Say ]
Different groups have different theories about it. A team of experts from Nat Geo found the skeletal remains of more than 300 people. Along with the remains, they also found some wooden and iron artifacts along with rings, presumably belonging to the dead. In a DNA test at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology at Hyderabad, scientists compared the DNA of these bones with the DNA of current Indian population and concluded that around 70% of these remains came from Iran and the rest of them were local Indians.
The findings also revealed that these were Iranian settlers in search of new lands and they were being accompanied by local Indian porters. It is believed that these people were unfortunately hit by a severe storm near the lake which killed them instantaneously. Since then, their remains have been lying under this largely frozen lake. The study also said that this must have happened around 9th century AD.
Roopkund - Skeleton
[ The Findings Of Later Studies ]
Later studies have revealed that there were more than two groups of people. The shorter ones have been identified as local porters who were helping the group with carrying luggage and equipment. With careful DNA studies at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, scientists confirmed that at least three of these skeletons belonged to the Konkanastha Brahmins, an ethnic group from Maharashtra.
Roopkund -Bedni tal
[ Local Legend ]
However, according to the locals of this region, the truth is something else entirely. The local folklore goes like this: King Jasdhaval of Kanauj was travelling with his pregnant wife, Queen Balampa, and hoards of servants to the annual religious festivities at Nanda Devi Shrine when a large storm hit them, killing them all instantaneously. They all perished in that storm and the remains that we see today belong to them.
[ Growing Concern ]
The government is concerned about the remains that are still lying at the bottom of Roopkund lake. According to them, tourists have been taking back these skeletal remains either for collection or for lab studies. This has pushed the government to take steps in order to conserve them. In a bid to protect the skeletons, the government has been trying to declare it an eco-tourism area.
Apart from this skeleton mystery, Roopkund trek is otherwise a very satisfying trek. With surreal views and mesmerizing feel, one is guaranteed to enjoy every bit of this experience.