Roopkund, the lake of skeletons: history and explanation –

The Roopkund Lake is one of the most mysterious stories. A lake where long ago, mountains of skeletons appeared that no one knew where they would have come from or who they belonged to. Let’s see then all the information about Roopkund, the lake of skeletons: history and explanation.

What is Roopkund, the lake of skeletons and where is it located

Roopkund is a glacial lake perched at an altitude of 5,000 meters in the Himalayan massif, Indian side. The border of Nepal and Tibet is about 50 kilometers away. But Roopkund Lake It’s not just a nice water point caught between two peaks, that it only thaws one month a year, but its waters abound…with carcasses, visible from the shores, especially in summer when ice and snow no longer cover them.

At first sight, nothing distinguishes it from other mountain lakes in the area. However, the site has been intriguing researchers for decades.

The nicknamed “Skeleton Lake”, which is located specifically in the Indian province of Uttarakhandit was popular with hikers for a long time. But his bones also intrigue scientists.But it seems that the mystery around those bones would have found an answer through a study conducted by a number of scientists and published in the journal Nature Communications.

The story of the bones found at Roopkund

The history of the bones found at Roopkund is marked by the at least a thousand skeletons found below the surface of the lake (which is about 40 meters in diameter). The bones are particularly well preserved due to weather conditions, and there is even some meat in some of them. To solve its mystery, DNA analysis was done on 38 skeletons taken from the glacial waters.

The Hypotheses about the origin of the skeletons are numerous, some tinged with folklore and legends: could be an army that would have succumbed to hunger and cold; either a group of merchants caught in a storm; The locals also say that they could have died from an epidemic; or would it be a group of pilgrims who, by their behavior, aroused the wrath of the goddess Nanda Devi.

According to this legend. A king had made a pilgrimage to the region to honor the goddess Nanda Devi. But this last one angry about the presence of dancers and musicians in the procession, unleashed a terrible storm, killing all the pilgrims.

In order to clarify so many hypotheses, it was decided this year to investigate who the bones belong to. For the study several researchers were recruited, an Indian, an American and a Germanthat determined with certainty that the individuals resting in the lake had not all died at the same time. In fact, they were able to differentiate between bones from different periods: the oldest corpses date from the 7th century. The most recent are less than 400 years old.

The team of scientists has in fact concluded that the corpses are of both men and women. There are children and old people. Of the 38 bodies examined, the investigators found that they did not belong to the same family.

Also They ruled out the hypothesis that some had died of disease. In contrast, three of the skeletons had fracture-type injuries. The researchers believe this could confirm the hypothesis of a group caught in a violent stormbut not that of an army or a battle, the bodies show no signs of violent aggression and are unarmed where they were found.

But who were these men and women who died at the Roopkund Lake site? Investigators determined they belonged to three different genetic groups.

The first is made up of individuals resembling present-day inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent; a skeleton bears similarities to extant populations of Eastern Asia (Japan China); and the most recent group of individuals have points in common with the current inhabitants of the island of Crete. However, the researchers warned that this did not mean that they are Cretans from the 18th century, but that these individuals, who died in the Himalayas, came from a region geographically close to this Greek island.

With these discoveries, the skeleton lake mystery intrigues a little more.Why and under what circumstances did this group travel more than 6,000 kilometers from southeastern Europe to the Himalayan mountains several centuries ago? Mystery.

The situation is even more intriguing if one takes into account that Roopkund Lake was difficult to access both today and at the time, so it is not understandable to understand why they decided to cross a lake that is probably frozen.

The very presence of people in the vicinity of the body of water has never really been explained, but the researchers have nonetheless been able to find a clue: el Roopkund is on the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Hindu pilgrimage routewhich takes place every twelve years.

Therefore, some of the bones could be those of pilgrims. But this still does not explain the presence of people who could be of Greek origin. on the site, and on the other hand, Hindu rites were not common in the region at that time, the scientists also wanted to point out.

It is not all. One of the many mysteries surrounding the Roopkund Lake skeletons is the cause of death of these men and women whose only remains today are bones. German, American and Indian researchers have therefore carried out other analyzes on other skeletons found in the water.

A violent hail storm?

These people were “in very good health,” the researchers say. But three of them had fractures, which could have been caused by a “severe hail storm such as sometimes occurs in the Roopkund Lake area.”

The mystery of the “lake of skeletons” then remains intact. But the recently published study has allowed archaeologists to make progress in their research. And these investigations open new avenues.

Since some bones are quite “recent,” including those of people from Greece, it will be possible to search the archives to try to learn more about them, the study authors conclude.

Also, according to National Geographic magazine, scientists plan to return to India and continue their research: in addition to the bones, they should also analyze the archaeological objects found at the Roopkund site.

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