Human skeletons found around Roopkund heighten mystery of Himalayan lake

Chamoli, May 15 (IANS) The Roopkund lake located in the middle of snowy mountain peaks in India's Himalayan range is known to be mysterious. This is because human skeletons have been found here for years.
 
Human skeletons found around Roopkund heighten mystery of Himalayan lake

<br>The lake is situated at a height of around 500 metres from sea level. It is located in the middle of three mountain peaks of the Himalayan range, which are known as the 'Trishul' (trident), falling in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.

There are several stories behind these skeletons. One is a story of a king and a queen, which is hundred years old. There is a temple of Nanda Devi near this lake. Nanda Devi is the Devi (goddess) of mountains. It is said that the king and the queen along with their servants decided to climb the mountain for darshan of Nanda Devi and during the journey they created a commotion. Because of the commotion, the Devi got furious, her anger in the form of lightning fell on them and they died on the spot.

Others believe that these skeletons are of people who died in an epidemic while some think that the skeletons are of soldiers who got stuck in a snow storm. A British forest guard saw these skeletons for the first time in 1942. That time it was thought that the skeletons are of Japanese soldiers who were crossing that way during World War II and perished there.

Scientists have been doing research on these skeletons for ages while tourists in large numbers come here to see this lake. To promote tourism, the Uttarakhand government has termed it as a 'mysterious lake'. It remains frozen for most of the year but when the snow starts melting, the human skeletons are visible. So far, around 600-800 skeletons have been found here.

According to an international study, these skeletons are not only of people from India but also from Greece and South-east Asia. The research available on the portal of Nature Communications, in which Indian scientists were also involved, has revealed the history of these skeletons.

As per the research, a study was done on 71 skeletons including carbon dating and DNA tests. Carbon dating tells about the history of the remains.

The study reveals that all the skeletons are not from the same time period and they are of both males and females. It was also found that most of the skeletons, on which research was done, were of healthy people. Earlier, it was considered that the skeletons may be of members of the same family but the research found there was no match among their DNA.

No bacteria or virus was found in the skeletons which could establish the fact that they died because of some illness. Most of the skeletons are of people from neighbouring countries in South-east Asia while some are from Greece. It is thought that one skeleton could be of a Chinese man.

The research says that the skeletons of people from India and the neighbouring countries are from the 7th and 8th century while skeletons of people from Greece and other regions date to between the 17th and 20th centuries.

The study makes it clear that the skeletons are of people who became victims of various tragedies. It has not been established what were those tragedies. Fractures were found on some skeletons, which indicates that the people might have fallen from a height because of a storm but these things have not been proven conclusively.<br> <br>--IANS <br>smita/uk/bg