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This Disturbing Himalayan Lake Is Filled with Human Bones

Himalayan Lake

They thought they were the victims of a violent hailstorm. Before that, people thought they were an army that had fallen during a war. According to popular belief, however, it was the fault of an exterminating god. But the only truth is that no one even today knows how the bones of at least 500 people ended up in a Himalayan Lake, at an altitude of 5,020 meters, in an uninhabited territory surrounded only by glaciers and snowy rocks.

This is the mystery that makes Roopkund, the skeleton lake of Uttarakhand, India, even more fascinating.

Roopkund – The Mysterious Himalayan Lake Full of Human Bones

We are along the route of the Nanda Devi Raj Jat. Here, every summer, when the ice melts, thousands of bones re-emerge.

No skeleton has yet been found intact. Femurs, ulnas, skulls and ribs are scattered throughout the site, which has become one of the most famous and disturbing trekking routes in the Himalayas.

The spectral discovery was made by a ranger during World War II. Since then, several teams of researchers have analyzed the unusual ice cemetery and advanced hypotheses. The most recent comes from a study published in Nature Communications that dated and analyzed the DNA of 38 corps found in Roopkund. However, instead of shedding light on what happened, the latest findings have called everything into question.

Ongoing Research

The international research group, led by Dr. Éadaoin Harney, has indeed confirmed that most people died about a thousand years ago. However, this was not a new discovery, as it comes from previous research. In addition, other researchers had identified a brutal hailstorm around 800 AD as the cause of the catastrophe. However, the catastrophe did not affect all the victims of the lake and especially, not all at once. It seems that some bones belong to people who died much more recently, probably in the early 1800s. Their genetic make-up, moreover, would be more similar to the Mediterranean one than to that of South Asia – at least for the majority of the remains buried there.

The story gets complicate. The riddle is inevitably amplifying Roopokund’s fame, also causing the loss of important archaeological evidence. Over the years, hikers have in fact moved and removed bones. They may even have stolen some of them. And there have been landslides and extreme weather events that have scattered the skeletons and made the research work more difficult. This mystery, in short, seems destined to be trapped in the ice forever.

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