Author Topic: Roopkund: Unsolved Mystery - रुपकुण्ड: एक अनसुलझा रहस्य  (Read 56689 times)

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साथियो,
        रुपकुण्ड का नाम आप सभी ने सुना होगा, रुपकुण्ड उत्तराखण्ड के जनपद चमोली में लगभग १६००० फीट की ऊंचाई पर स्थित है, यहां पर अनेकों नरकंकाल फैले हैं। जिनके बारे में कोई आज तक यह नहीं जान पाया कि यह नर कंकाल हैं किसके, इतिहासकारों में भी इस संबंध में मतैक्य हैं। यहां पर पाये जाने वाले नर कंकालों के बारे में वैग्यानिकों का अनुमान है कि इनकी लम्बाई १० फिट तक भी है, तो आइये इस पर कुछ चर्चा करें-





पंकज सिंह महर

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रुपकुण्ड सचमुच में एक अजीबोगरीब कुण्ड है। यहाँ पर मनुष्यों के शरीर, वस्र, जुते, शंख, घंटियाँ, रुद्राक्ष, डमरु, बर्तन, छतेलियाँ इत्यादि अवशेष मिलते हैं। इनके बारे में तरह-तरह की मान्यताएं प्रचलित है। एक लोककथा के अनुसार ये अवशेष कन्नौज के राजा यशोधवल, उसकी पत्नी, बच्चों तथा राजपरिवार के सदस्यों और उनके साथ के यात्रियों के हैं जिन्हें राजजात में नियमों और मर्यादाओं का पालन न करने के कारण देवी का प्रकोप भाजन बनना पड़ा एवं जान भी गंवानी पड़ी। कुछ विद्वान इन्हें कश्मीर के वीर सेनापति जोरावर सिंह के अवशेष मानते हैं जो कि तिब्बत विजय के बाद लौट रहे थे। लेकिन जोरावर सिंह की समाधि तिब्बत में तकलाकोट में भी बनी हैं। साथ ही यहाँ मिलने वाले अवशेषों का पहनावा गहने तथा अन्य वस्तुएँ राजस्थानी प्रतीत होती है। रेडियो कार्बन विधि इन अवशेषों को लगभग ६०० से ८०० वर्ष पुराना बताती है। राजजात में राजपरिवार द्वारा रुपकुण्ड पर पितरों का तपंण यह दर्शाता है कि ये अवशेष अवश्य ही राजपरिवार से किसी न किसी रुप से सम्बन्धित है। जो भी हो देखने सो यही लगता है कि शायर बर्फीले तूफान या भूस्खलन में फंसने के कारण यात्रियों को जान गँवानी पड़ी होगी।

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from wikipedia

Coordinates: 30°15′43″N 79°43′55″E / 30.262°N 79.732°E / 30.262; 79.732 Roopkund is a place in Uttarakhand state of India, and it is the location of about three to six hundred skeletons at the edge of a lake—Skeleton Lake in the Himalayas. The location is uninhabited and is located at an altitude of about 5,029 metres. The skeletons were discovered in 1942 by a park ranger. At that time it was believed that the people died from an epidemic, landslide or a blizzard. The carbon dating from samples collected at that time in the 1960s vaguely indicated that the people were from the 12th century to the 15th century. In 2004 a team of Indian and European scientists visited the location to gain more information on the skeletons. The team uncovered vital clues including jewellery, skulls, bones and a preserved body. DNA tests on the bodies revealed that there were two groups of people, a short group (probably local porters) and a taller group who were closely related. Though the numbers were not ascertained, it is believed that three to six hundred people perished. Radiocarbon dating of the bones determined the time period to be in the 9th century predating the earlier inaccurate tests. After studying fractures in the skulls, the scientists in Hyderabad and London determined that the people died not of disease but of a sudden hailstorm. The hail sizes were as large as cricket balls and with no shelter in the open Himalayas all of them perished. Furthermore with the rarefied air and icy conditions, many bodies were well preserved. With landslides in the area, some of the bodies made their way into the lake. What is not determined was where the group was headed to. There is no historical evidence of any trade routes to Tibet in the area or any places of pilgrimage.
Roopkund is a picturesque and beautiful tourist destination in the himalayas, located near the base of two Himalayan peaks: Trisul (7120 m) and Nandghungti (6310 m). This place is famous and well-known among the masses because of the annual Raj Jat yatra. There are no roads to this place yet, so one has to undertake a 3-4 day trek to reach the skeleton lake starting from Gwaldum in Chamoli district. The skeleton lake is covered with ice for most of the time during the year. However, the journey to Roopkund is an enjoyable experience. All along the way one is surrounded by mountain ranges from all the sides. There are different routes for a trek to Roopkund. Generally, trekkers and adventurers travel till Lohajung or Wan by road. From there they climb a hillock at Wan and reach Ran ki Dhar. There is some flat area where trekkers can camp for the night. If the sky is clear one can see Bedni Bugyal and Trisul. The next camping spot is at Bedni Bugyal which is 12-13 km from Wan. There is a huge grazing ground for mules, horses and sheeps. There are two temples and a small lake that add to the beauty of this place. One can see a lot of Himalayan peaks from Bedni Bugyal bridge. Trekkers then go up to Bhaguwabasa which is 10-11 km from Bedni Bugyal. The climate at Bhaguwabasa is hostile for most of the time of the year. One gets a closer view of Trisul and other 5000+ meters peaks. Many waterfalls and landslides are visible on the extreme slopes of the surrounding mountains. From Bhaguwabasa trekkers either go to Roopkund and come back or they go to Shila Samundra (Ocean of Stones) via Geonaragali Col Pass which is just above the lake and then proceed with trek up to Homkund. At Roopkund, one can find a frozen lake during September. Most people get sun burns. One can see the clouds below and a clear sky above. One has to walk through a snow covered, slippery ridge to reach Zohra Gully. An unobstructed view of Trisul and Nand Ghungti is visible.

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Mystery behind Roopkund Lake unearthed 
 
EXPRESSINDIA.COM

Posted online: Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 1343 hours IST

NEW DELHI, OCT 30:  Finally the mystery has been demystified.
The Roopkund riddle, dating back to the 9th century AD, that haunted scientists, historians and mountaineers from around the world for many years, has finally been cracked. The National Geographic Channel with the help of scientists and anthropologists from India and abroad has cleared many theories and myths surrounding the age-old tragedy.
 
It all started in 1942, when a forest ranger accidentally unearthed a mass grave in Roopkund Lake, an area 16,000 feet above sea level in Uttaranchal. With hundreds of skeletons strewn on the slopes of the Himalayas this colossal tragedy shook people worldwide.

Several theories were put forth to explain this riddle, which were further perpetuated by local folklore. Was it a royal pilgrimage or a vanquished army? Did they die in ritualistic suicide or in an epidemic? Or could they have been a group of Tibetan traders who lost their way?

Then for the first time National Geographic Channel sent up a team of Indian and international scientists led by cultural anthropologist Dr William Sax (Head of the Anthropology Dept at Heidelberg University, Germany) to reveal the truth. The other key members included Dr Walimbe, Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology, Deccan College, Pune, Prof Rakesh Bhatt of India's Garhwal University, Paleopathologist Dr Pramod Joglekar of the Deccan College, Pune and Dr MPS Bhist, a Himalayan.
It started out as a regular excavation where the team retrieved several hundreds of bones and artifacts strewn on the slopes.

However, the most remarkable find came a bit later when the team discovered a body. It proved to be a rich source of DNA material. Over the period of a year, as the test results from different laboratories around the world started coming in, the various pieces of the jigsaw started falling into place.

National Geographic Channel has made a documentary film called Skeleton Lake detailing the latest findings and the truth behind the tragedy. The programme will be aired on National Geographic Channel on November 9, 2004 at 10 pm. The programme was produced by Miditech (Pvt Ltd), directed by Chandramouli Basu and written by Niret & Nikhil Alva.

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इस फोटो में जो कंकाल और हड्डियां दिख रही हैं, उनकी नाप लेकर जानकारों ने यह निष्कर्ष निकाला है कि इन मनुष्यों की लम्बाई १० फिट तक रही होगी। इस अनसुलझे रहस्य से पर्दा उठाने के लिये देश और विदेश के अनेकों संस्थान कार्य कर रहे हैं। लेकिन आज तक यह कोई नहीं जान पाया कि १६००० फीट की ऊंचाई पर इतने ज्यादा नर कंकाल आये कहां से, इन कंकालों में महिलाओं और बच्चों के भी कंकाल शामिल हैं। साथ ही यहां पर जेवर, हथियार आदि भी प्राप्त हुये हैं। उत्तराखण्ड में प्रचलित जनश्रुति के अनुसार यह कंकाल १४ वीं शताब्दी में कन्नौज के राजा जसधवल की सेना के हैं, जो उससमय नन्दा देवी की जात में आया था, वह एक अय्याश प्रवृति का राजा था, वह अपनी सेना के साथ नर्तकियां भी लेकर आया था। रुपकुण्ड से कुछ पहले एक स्थान है, पातर नचौणियां- इसका यह नाम कुछ अजीब सा लगता है, इसके बारे में कहा जाता है कि जसधवल ने यहां पर अपना शिविर लगाया और नर्तकियों को नचवाया, देवी को यह पसंद नहीं आया और सारी नर्तकियां शिला में बदल गई, तब से इसका नाम पातर नचौणियां पड़ गया।
      थोड़ी दूर आगे बढने पर एक और स्थान है बल्लभा स्वेलड़ा (बल्लभा का प्रसूतिगृह) कहा जाता है, यहीं पर कन्नौज के राजा जसधवल की पत्नी को राजजात के दौरान प्रसव हुआ था, जब कि जात में महिलाओं का शामिल होना निषिद्ध था, इस कारण वह प्रसव शापित हुआ। इसका दण्ड राजा की पूरी सेना को मिला, रात में आये बर्फीले तूफान में राजा समेत सम्पूर्ण सेना समाप्त हो गई और ये नर कंकाल उन्हीं के हैं।
     जानकारों का यह भी मानना है कि रुपकुण्ड में आज भी कई शव सशरीर भी हैं, लेकिन उनको वर्फ से निकालना बहुत खतरे का काम है।

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रुपकुण्ड उत्तराखण्ड की प्रसिद्ध नन्दा राज जात यात्रा का भी एक महत्वपूर्ण पड़ाव है, यह यात्रा का पन्द्रहवां पड़ाव है। यहां पर यात्रियों द्वारा पितरों के तर्पण और लाटू देवता को कर (टैक्स) देने का प्रावधान भी है

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आईबीएन ७ नामक समाचार चैनल ने भी रुपकुण्ड जाकर इसके बारे में जानने की कोशिश की-

IBN 7 the first news channel to reach Roopkund
 
 
MUMBAI: The Roopkund riddle, dating back to the 9th century AD, has perplexed scientists, historians and mountaineers from around the world for many years. In an attempt to unravel and understand the enigma that is this lake, the IBN 7 team trekked to the remote region of Roopkund in Uttranchal.

In a special series titled ‘Roopkund, the channel attempted to bring forth to its viewers a reality, which is still shrouded in mystery. The show entailed interviews of natives and the elaborate rituals and customs including the one the team was requested to undertake to ensure the safe and successful completion of their mission. The treacherous terrain involved the team completing their journey to Roopkund on horseback. The two-day special captured not only the story behind the lake.

With this feature IBN 7 became the first news channel to reach Roopkund.

“Roopkund was an endeavor undertaken by the IBN 7 team to bring to light the mystery behind the lake. I am confident that the feature appealed to the masses by virtue of being a topic of common interest in conjunction with IBN 7’s credible reportage” said Ashutosh, Managing Editor, IBN 7.

Roopkund is popularly known as the Mystery Lake because of the mystery surrounding the findings of the human skeletons. The magnificent lake Roopkund is below the Trishul peak and is surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow clad peaks of Uttaranchal.

Situated at an altitude of 5029 mts. in the interior of the Chamoli district, Roopkund is famous for the mysterious shallow lake of about 2 mts., with the edges covered with snow almost throughout the year. After the snow melts, skeletal remains which are believed to be over 500-600 years old.
 

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Roopkund

Roopkund, a virgin territory waiting to be explored. Trekking roopkund will take you to a whole new word never seen before. Roopkund trek will be a never before experience.

Roopkund lake Mystery Skeleton Lake

When ice melts in the glacial tarn of Roopkund, located 5,000 metres above sea level in Chamoli district, Uttaranchal, hundreds of corpses can be seen floating. Thus gets exposed a mystery that dates back to more than 60 years and has begun to be understood only recently.

In 1942, a forest guard chanced upon hundreds of skeletons at this tarn. The remains have intrigued anthropologists, scientists, historians and the local people ever since. Who were these people? What were they doing in the inhospitable regions of the Garhwal Himalaya? Many speculated, initially, that the remains were those of Japanese soldiers who had sneaked into the area, and had then perished to the ravages of the inhospitable terrain.

Those were World War II times and even the slightest mention of a Japanese invasion was bound to throw the area’s British administrators into the tizzy.

The matter was investigated and the speculation was put to rest: the corpses were said to date back to at least a century. But nobody knew when exactly. Some British explorers to Roopkund, and many scholars attribute the bones to General Zorawar Singh of Kashmir, and his men, who are said to have lost their way and perished in the high Himalayas, on their return journey after the Battle of Tibet in 1841.

But radio-carbon tests on the corpses in the 1960s belied this theory. The tests vaguely indicated that the skeletons could date back to anytime between the 12th and 15th centuries ad. This led many historians to link the corpses to an unsuccessful attack by Mohammad Tughlak on the Garhwal Himalaya. 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.

Local folklore has it that in medieval times, king Jasdhawal of Kanauj wanted to celebrate the birth of an heir by undertaking a pilgrimage to the Nanda-Devi mountains in the Garhwal Himalaya. However, he disregarded the rules of pilgrimage by boisterous singing and dancing. The entourage earned the wrath of the local deity, Latu. They were caught in a terrible hailstorm and were thrown into the Roopkund lake.

Folklore is not all myth

Now the first forensic investigation of the frozen corpses has concurred with the hailstorm theory. Scientists commissioned by the National Geographic television channel to examine the corpses believe that they died from sharp blows to their skulls. “We retrieved a number of skulls which showed short, deep cracks,” said Subhash Walimbe, a physical anthropologist at the Deccan college, Pune. Walimbe was a member of the team that visited the site.

“The cracks were caused not by a landslide or an avalanche but by blunt, round objects about the size of cricket balls,” he surmised. According to Walimbe, “The only plausible explanation for so many people sustaining such similar injuries at the same time is something that fell from the sky. The injuries were all to the top of the skull and not to other bones in the body, so they must have come from above. Our view is that death was caused by extremely large hailstones”. Another member of the team, Wolfgang Sax, an anthropologist at Heidelberg University in Germany, cited a traditional song among Himalayan women that describes a goddess so enraged at outsiders who defiled her mountain sanctuary that she rained death upon them by flinging hailstones “hard as iron”.

“We were amazed by what we found,” said Pramod Joglekar, a bio-archaeologist at Deccan College, Pune. “In addition to skeletons, we discovered bodies with the flesh intact, perfectly preserved in the icy ground. We could see their hair and nails as well as pieces of clothing,” he said. The scientists found glass bangles, indicating the presence of women.

The team also found a ring, spear, leather shoes and bamboo staves. This has led them to hypothesize that the corpses were those of pilgrims. The scientists estimate that as many as 600 bodies may still be buried in snow and ice by the lake.

Pilgrims perish

The samples were sent to the Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit of Oxford University, uk where the date of death was established at about 850 ad. The team has yet to resolve the identity of the victims, though.

Meanwhile, scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad have also undertaken tests on skeletal remains. Lalji Singh, the director of the centre, said that his institute had conducted studies on the dna of 31 samples of bone and muscle taken out from the remains. “Three samples have unique mutations in the mitochondrial dna which are not found anywhere in the world but only in a particular group of people from Maharashtra,” he said. Singh, however, refused to mention the ethnic group. He said analysis of two other samples matched with some people living in Garhwal even as further studies on all the 31 samples were still on to find out more accurate facts. D K Bhattacharya of the National Geographic team agrees: “Only a few have the characteristics of the Mongoloid hill people of the Himalaya,” noted this scholar from the University of Delhi. It’s quite possible that the pilgrims employed these local people as porters. After all, Roopkund is almost 35 km away from the nearest human settlement and it’s virtually impossible for outsiders to venture into the area without taking the help of local people.

Need protection

It is quite unfortunate that the local administration has made no organised attempt to protect this site. Skeletal remains and other articles of those who perished ages back are reported to have been diminishing fast from here. Lack of administrative will and a general indifference has denied this destination its due place on the international tourist map. In the ceaseless efforts to win over nature sometime we emerge as victorious though losing the battle is also an integral part of the game. The Roopkund reamins an indicator of the latter.

साभार-http://www.roopkund.com

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Roopkund



Roopkund is situated in the eastern part of Chamoli district (in the lap of Trishul Massif, 7122 mts.). The high-altitude (5029 mts.), kund is on the Nanda Jat route to Homkund. It is not a very large kund and is rather shallow, having a depth of only about 2 metres. The edges are snow covered for most parts of the year. When snow melts, one can see human and equine skeletal remains, sometimes with flesh attached; well preserved in the alpine conditions. It is found that about 300 people died about 500-600 years ago.



There are many theories to explain the finding but none satisfying to everybody. Hence the lake is also known as the ‘Mystery Lake’. According to the locals : Raja Jasdal of Kanauj undertook a Nanda Jat along with the Rani Balpa, some 550 years ago. Rani being the princess from Garhwal was revered as a sister of goddess Nandadevi. Near Roopkund she gave birth to a babe. Goddess Nandadevi considered it a sacrilege in her domain and sent down a snow/hailstorm. Raja’s people were caught in it and perished. The present day skeletal remains belong to them.
 
Other than the Nanda Raj Jat route via Wan, one may approach Roopkund from  Ghat, (motorable  from Nandprayag). The trek takes one to Ramni (jeepable in fair weather) and Sutol, on the way. Wan is approached either from Tharali or Gwaldam. Thereafter one may choose reaching Roopkund via Ali Bugyal or the Bedni. On the way dramatic views of the nature with its many splendours can be seen.
 
 
 साभार-http://chamoli.nic.in

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A news from Hindu (29-06-2004) about roopkund

Fathoming the ancient remains of Roopkund
By Aniket Alam



HYDERABAD: The ancient mysteries of the Roopkund Lake in Chamoli district of Uttaranchal are finally beginning to unravel to the technologies of the 21st century.

Known locally as "Mystery Lake," Roopkund, which is located at an altitude of 5,029 metres in the lap of Trishul peak, is reported to have about 200 human skeletons strewn around its vicinity and on its bed. The skeletons are clearly visible through the waters during the one-month when the ice melts. The rest of the year, the lake remains frozen.

Last year, 30 of the skeletal remains, some with flesh attached, were retrieved by the National Geographic magazine and brought to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology here for detailed DNA tests.

Various theories for the presence of the skeletons, much above the highest inhabitable point in the Himalayas, have been doing the rounds: that they are remains of soldiers, of pilgrims, of Chinese travellers. The ancient remains have also been linked to the Pandavas. But none of these theories has been authenticated, as yet.

"The skeletons definitely are of Indians, not Chinese, and we also have some clues about the region from where they came," said Lalji Singh, Director, CCMB. He refused to identify the region, citing the agreement with the magazine as well as the need for further DNA tests on the population of that specific region before the final results are confirmed.

He was, however, willing to confirm other details.

"The skeletal remains are of men, women and children and maybe they were a family," Dr. Singh said since the DNA of some skeletons matched each other.

They are of tall people and have the distinguishing feature of an extra bone in their skulls, a rare feature which helped identify the probable population group.

"The height and build of one skeleton reminded us of 'Bheema' [one of the Pandava brothers]," he said in a lighter vein.

Ancient DNA research began in CCMB last year on an experimental basis.

With the success achieved with the Roopkund skeletons, the Department of Biotechnology and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research have decided to upgrade it into a permanent facility.

The CCMB is only the fourth laboratory in the world that is capable of doing ancient DNA research.

It recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Anthropological Survey of India to study the DNA of ancient human skeletal remains dating back to 1000 BC.

This would help in understanding the genetic variation in the Indian subcontinent and on various issues of Indian history.

India has over 5,000 distinct human population groups and CCMB has already collected the DNA samples of 8,000 people of different groups.

Though the 60,000-year old Jarawa people of the Andamans are generally considered the oldest population group, the distinction may actually be with some hunter-gatherer groups in Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

And they seem to be related to African population groups, Dr. Singh said.