Saturday, July 25, 2015

Chilling Secret Of Himalayan Skeleton Lake


Himalayan Mountains – Glacial Lake with Chilling Secret

High up in the Himalayan mountains of the Uttarakhand State of India, lies a glacial lake which tends to conceal a chilling secret. The lake known as Roopkund has an altitude of about 16,499 feet and is frozen for most part of the year.

However, when the ice tends to melt occasionally, Roopkund displays its shocking secret. Having a depth of 2.0 meters, one can get clear view of the hundreds of skeletons in the lake with some emerging out of the icy waters. The bones together with pieces of flesh as well as hair seemed to be preserved by the dry frosty climate and yet they seem to be there for a long time.

After the Skeleton Lake had been discovered in 1942, for years, people speculated on the mystery regarding the hapless humans who had lost their lives in the lake. A British forest ranger, did a survey on what happened on the lake in 1942 wherein the melting summer ice had revealed the skeletons, some of which were found floating in the water while others were lying about along the shore. His instant response was to think something awful could have happened to these people.

People’s Fascination – Several Theories

With war prevailing, it was presumed that the skeletons could have been the remains of Japanese soldiers who probably were sneaking through India. Being worried of land invasion, the British government had sent a team to investigate the skeletons and decided that the bones were not fresh enough to be of Japanese soldiers and it continued to be a mystery.

The mystery of the Skeleton Lake began to draw the peoples’ fascinationwith several theories coming up though no one seemed capable of identifying who the people could be or how old exactly the bones could be. The only thing agreed was that more than 200 people had been killed either in landslide, avalanche or probably due to mass murder or suicide.

According to local legend, it was presumed that the skeletal remains could have belonged to a Kashmir warrior, Zogawar Singh who was considered as the Napoleon of India, whose army had gone missing at the time of returning to Tibet. Other theories indicate that the remains were religious zealots who had participated in a mass suicide.

National Geographic Team –Trekked to Roopkund Lake

However, the most intriguing theory was linked with an ancient as well as traditional folk song which was sung by Himalayan women where the words of the song tend to describe a goddess who is enraged by outsiders defiling her mountain sanctuary that she rained death on them by flinging hailstones, as hard as iron.

In 2004, a National Geographic team had trekked to Roopkund Lake bringing back 30 skeletons to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India. A DNA test was done and samples were also sent to the Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit of Oxford University.

 It was revealed there that the skeletons dated back to 850 AD. Researchers believe that all 200 or so of the skeletons could have been people who had died at around the same time and after their death, the freezing water as well as the dry icy conditions could have kept the remains in well-preserved condition. Besides the flesh and hair which they found on the skeletons, they also came across jewellery together with other leather clothing which was amazingly intact.

Another interesting discovery from the DNA test,was revealed that two distinct groups of people were found in the lake where one group of taller groups seemed to be related while the other groups which were shorter could have been porters or guides.
All Injuries Limited to Head & Shoulders
Centred on the examination of the clothing together with other items, it was presumed that the people were on a pilgrimage of some kind. What could have killed them? The evidence found indicate that all the skulls had signs of blunt force trauma to the head and forensic studies show skull fractures which were due to heavy round object around the size of a cricket ball or nine inches in circumference.

Added forensic investigations further show that all the injuries were limited to the head and shoulders of the people and no other area of their body and seemed that the victims were attacked unaware and violently from above. It is assumed that the only option that the victims could have died at the same time as well as with similar injuries was to be caught in the open area at a time of freak and a violent hailstorm. The lake has now become a famous trekking site.

With several people visiting the late, the skeletons and personal items seem to be disappearing and will little maintenance as well as monitoring at the site, the history of this amazing location seems to be in danger of being lost forever. Probably the country could consider in putting restrictions on travel companies, travellers to the lake and if nothing seems to be done, the skeletal remains could end up being nothing more than souvenirs for tourists.

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