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Skeleton Lake Has Over 800 Human Skeletons

skeleton lake - an underwater graveyard

Every once in a while, a mystery emerges that is so complex, finding answers only leads to more questions. That is exactly what happened at Skeleton Lake.

Nestled within the stunning Himalayan mountains lies the unassuming Roopkund Lake, sitting a breathtaking 15,000 ft above sea level. At first glance, this small body of water is just like a hundred others, long frozen under the often harsh and snowy conditions. But take a closer look, and a disturbing picture comes into focus; hundreds of human bones scattered around the base of the frozen water, piled high and bleached white after years of exposure. Some of the skeletons still have skin and hair on some parts, preserved for years due to the cold.

The most mysterious part was that these skeletons were all killed in the same manner, by a strike to the head from a blunt object. And not only that, but the skeletons belonged to at least three different groups, the first one being from the 7th century AD, the second from the 10th century, and the third – from the 19th century.

How was this possible? How could hundreds of people, separated by thousand years, have all been killed in the same way, at the exact same place?

the skeletons are visible in the clear water

Roopkund (locally known as Mystery Lake or Skeleton Lake) is a high altitude glacial lake in the Uttarakhand state of India. It lies in the lap of Trishul massif. Located in the Himalayas, the area around the lake is uninhabited and is roughly at an altitude of 5,020 metres (16,470 ft), surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow-clad mountains. Roopkund is a popular trekking destination. The size of the lake varies substantially, but it is seldom more than 40 metres in diameter (1000 to 1500 square metres in area), and is frozen in the winter.

Skeletons were rediscovered in 1942 by a forest ranger of the Nanda Devi National Park, named Hari Kishan Madhwal. At first, British authorities feared that the skeletons represented casualties of a hidden Japanese invasion force, but it was found that the skeletons were far too old to be Japanese soldiers. The skeletons are visible in the clear water of the shallow lake during one month when the ice melts. Along with the skeletons, wooden artifacts, iron spearheads, leather slippers, and rings were also found. When a team from National Geographic retrieved about 30 skeletons in 2003, flesh was still attached to some of them.

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