Thursday, August 29, 2013

History mystery: Mysterious Caves in Nepal

Making discoveries on ancient findings can lead to a lot of speculations and excitement when confronted with it. There are a good number of manmade caves, 155 feet from the ground, hidden within the Himalayans, separated by the Kali Gandaki River, which are some of the world’s amazing mysteries, yet to be discovered. It is estimated that around 10,000 caves have been found in former Kingdom of Mustang in North Central Nepal, some of which have either been dug into the Cliffside or tunneled from above. While some sit by themselves, others are in groups of holes stacked eight or nine storey high on a vertical neighborhood. These caves seem to be thousands of years old and the unknown fact is yet a mystery, of why and by whom were they built. Being 155 feet above the valley floor, it is also unknown how people climbed into the caves at these heights. Some of them who have seen these mysterious caves relate that the effect of the cliff face makes it look like a giant sand castle with dozens of holes carved into the sandy colored cliff, hidden within the Himalayas in a large gorge and dwarfs the Grand Canyon.

 In the mid 1990s, several groups made attempt to discover these mysterious caves and found some bodies which were at least 2000 years old and since then the adventure to these mysterious caves is still on. Adventurer photographers, Cory Richards, who was joined by climbers, Pete Athans, and archaeologists, Mark Ardenderfer, along with a team of explorers set out to unravel some of the mysteries to us with pictures and their own findings. They started their expedition, though it was not an easy task to climb the sky caves with the rocks being unstable and posing to be dangerous while climbing. They envisaged a few dangerous threats all along their expedition to these mysterious caves. As they began with their exploring process to get to know more on these mysterious caves, they faced a lot of challenges during the dangerous climb with loose rocks around them which were very scary. With these loose rocks around them they had a feeling of everything crumbling down during their expedition.

They also encountered a few mishaps and faced physical injuries during their climb which were at times unnerving, but they were determined and excited in making discoveries to unravel the hidden mysteries of these caves. Their exploration lead them to what seemed a 12th century village culture beneath the caves with amazing history to it having villages which they used to live in but now unfortunately forgotten. This intrigued and further excited them in making more headway in their exploration of these caves. On arrival at the caves it seemed to be grander and bigger than they had imagined and made them wonder how the people at that time accessed and got into these caves. As they began exploring they came across images of eroded mural on the walls of Ritseling Cave in Upper Mustang. This exploration took a good many years to unravel and to discover it. Moreover since the climb and access to these mysterious caves seemed a lot difficult than they had envisaged, they had to thread with caution and care, since Cory Richards had already encountered an injury when he had lost his footing and fell down breaking his back. In another, incident videographer Lincoln Else had also faced injuries when he was hit by a falling rock and fractured his skull. Their exploration in solving the mysteries of the caves kept them perplexed as to how the original inhabitants accessed into these caves without any signs of ascending of ropes, scaffolding or even steps, in any of the caves which were at a height of 155 feet above the ground.

Some of the caves which they found were empty though some showed signs of inhabitation with sleeping spaces, hearth, and grain storage bins, besides the murals related to Buddhist history together with calligraphic manuscripts. Mustang cliffs are gorgeous with the walls melting like wax under the intense heat of the sun, with the ridgelines eroded into wild shapes of bony fingers lending support to the colossal rocky basketballs and with towering tubes spread similar to an endless pipe organ. The most amazing thing about these rocks is that its color keeps changing as the day progresses encompassing it in shades of red and ocher and brown and grey. According to the Scientists, the caves in Upper Mustang have been divided in three periods, one as early as the 1000 BC, where the caves may have been used as burial chambers. Towards the 10th century, the region may have encountered frequent battles and hence for safety purpose rather than convenience the people of that time, moved into the caves making it their living quarters. By 1400s, the caves may then have been used as meditation chambers, storage units since the people had moved into village or even military lookouts.

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