Roopkund Lake, also called Skeleton Lake, has long been mystical fame among pilgrims. How did it happen that some pilgrims, for reasons that are not yet very clear, rest forever in these places? Getting to the reservoir is not an easy task; you have to overcome a path that takes at least four days from the nearest settlement. However, researchers this place attracts like a magnet, they are trying to unravel the mystery and understand why the lake has become a huge mass grave. As it turned out recently, Roopkund is really a huge alpine cemetery, and it has been such for many centuries. People died here until the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. No one has exactly found out why all the people found here found death. And what were they doing there? Moreover, as it turned out, the dead belonged to at least three races, which also raises many questions from researchers.
Scientists became interested in this Himalayan lake back in the 19th century, when the first rumors reached them about Skeleton Lake. By the way, they were actively spread by the locals themselves: people whispered among themselves that human remains lay in piles near a frozen lake high in the mountains. Local pilgrims also talked about this among themselves. And they also had something to share: they kindled fires near the lake, and when the snow melted, there were bones of people everywhere under it.
Nevertheless, the world officially learned about the shocking discovery in 1942. The caretaker of the reserve, on whose territory it is located, spoke about the dead of the lake. At first, researchers who arrived at the place of mass death of people concluded that they all died in the 19th century. One hypothesis suggests that the skeletons found are the remains of the soldiers of the army of General Zoroear Singh from Kashmir, who, they say, got lost high in the mountains and found their death there when they returned from the battle in 1841. Then another version appeared: the remains allegedly belong to Japanese soldiers who died while crossing the Himalayas.
The British authorities - at that time India was a British colony - had to respond to all these rumors. Therefore, a representative group of scientists was sent to Roopkund, who were tasked with studying in detail and clarifying all this mysticism. But it was not there! As a result of research, both previous versions quickly crumbled like houses of cards. After carbon analysis of the remains, it turned out that most of the bones are significantly older than previously thought. Some of them date back as far as the 8th century. I had to look for new versions of what happened.
Photo : m.123ru.net
It has even been suggested that this is a ritual suicide, and someone believed that some unknown disease killed people, and there were those who thought that they were simply covered by an avalanche - a common thing in the Himalayas. Be that as it may, none of these versions was officially supported - the mystery of the mass grave near the icy lake remained unsolved.
Scientists have approached its explanation only in our days. So, in 2004, a group of scientists was sent to Roopkund Lake by order of the National Geographic channel. It included representatives of the scientific world from Europe and India. In the vicinity of the Skeleton Lake, the temperature and humidity are always very low - hair, nails and even clothes are perfectly preserved on the remains - so it was possible to conduct a DNA examination. And she showed that the death of many people did not occur in the 19th century, but much earlier, around 850 AD.
However, as a result of this discovery, there was no more clarity, even more questions arose, because it turned out that the remains partly belonged to a group of tall people, and partly & nbsp; undersized sapiens. At the same time, many of the dead, apparently, were in family ties. For some reason, the former were immediately attributed to the Brahmins of the Chitpavan community from Maharashtra, and the latter were “appointed” as porters and guides. Also, in addition to bones, iron and bamboo spears, leather shoes and other artifacts were also found in the vicinity of Roopkund. Then it became known that the death of all people occurred as a result of severe blows to the head with rounded blunt objects. Blow marks were also found on the shoulders of the victims.
Bit by bit, scientists recreated a complete picture of what happened, although not all puzzles are put together today. There is no evidence that any transit routes passed through these places in ancient times. Until now, it is not known for certain where the victims of forced departure from life were sent. A version is put forward that the dead were members of the Nanda Devi cult and went to the temple for a religious holiday, and Lake Roopkund is located right on the path of pilgrims to their sacred place - Hokmund, where, by the way, festivals are organized every 12 years, gathering a huge number of pilgrims.
For pilgrims, after all, the more difficult the path to the cherished goal, the stronger their redemption will be. And almost any path in the Himalayas is a real feat, which should be appreciated by the goddess Parvati, the mistress of the mountains, the wife of the formidable and terrible god Shiva. In Hindu mythology, Shiva's first wife was Sati, who burned herself, and later incarnated in the world in the guise of Parvati. It allegedly happened in the Homkund area, where Shiva himself made a pilgrimage, and Raja Jasdhaup declared this place sacred - in honor of the goddess Parvati, of course. This is where the strings of believers are still stretching, overcoming the most difficult path in the mountains.
in order to arrange a halt or draw water. Perhaps they tried to take cover near the lake, surrounded by mountains on all sides, when heavy clouds covered the nearby ridges. But another misfortune awaited them near the lake: the weather is changeable in the mountains, all sorts of surprises can be expected - suddenly a huge hail began to fall from the sky, from which it was impossible to hide from. It was he, according to scientists, who killed people, since hailstones could reach a diameter of 23-24 centimeters. So Lake Roopkund buried hundreds of people in its vicinity. Some remains have lain there for 1200 years.
In some Himalayan legends and songs today, one can find references to the fact that the goddess Parvati was so angry at the people who invaded her mountain abode that she sent deadly rain on them from the sky in the form of ice stones, "hard as iron." It cannot be ruled out that not all the pilgrims who found themselves near the lake perished. Someone probably survived, and then they told these terrible stories to other people. And no matter how fantastic the version of scientists about the killing hail may sound, it finds confirmation in the local cultural heritage of the highlanders.
On the other hand, scientists still cannot match the "temporal connection" of those events. A DNA analysis of 72 people showed that the bones belong to at least three genetically distinct groups. And they ended up by the lake in different centuries. The difference in time is huge - over a thousand years.
Photo : bbc.com
According to study author Edaoin Harn of Harvard University, the scientists were very much surprised by the origin of the bones at Skeleton Island. The fact is, some of the dead people were from the eastern Mediterranean. It turns out that the lake was not only local pilgrims, but also pilgrims from other parts of the world.
It was found that one part of the skeletons belonged to the natives modern India, others traced their ancestry to Crete or from Greece, and still others - representatives of the peoples of Southeast Asia. "Indian" immigrants died by the lake around the 8th century, and representatives of the other two groups - somewhere between the 17th-20th centuries. But it is unlikely that the inhabitants of Western Eurasia went on such a long journey to worship a goddess little known to them. At least, in the historical sources that have come down to us, there is nothing that could explain this.
And today Roopkund lake can be considered one of the most mysterious places on our planet. The most desperate tourists seek to get here. The main thing is not to fall under the hail, which is "hard as iron." By the way, this city can really reach a truly enormous size. In nature, there are even hailstones weighing more than a kilogram. Such fell out, for example, in Bangladesh. Well, the diameter of heavenly punishment sometimes reaches more than 40 centimeters. Meteorologists have recorded just such, although in a completely different part of the world - in the US state of Nebraska.