With the onset of spring, one can hear the birds chirping, witness the little animals running about, the snow melting from the tree branches and kissing the ground as beads of pearl, the defrosting of the lake, leaving behind crystal clear water and human skeletons.
Yes, you read that right. This lake in Roopkund, Uttarakhand, India wears such a picturesque hue when the warm season sets in.
The Astonishing Discovery
In 1942, a British patrol stumbled upon a frozen lake full of human skeletons, around 17,000 feet above sea level. As the ice melted, it resembled either a nightmare or a frozen graveyard, only with all the skeletons outside their graves. At first, they were taken to be the remains of Japanese soldiers who died while trying to sneak into India. However, careful examination proved to be otherwise.
Whose Skeletons Are They?
The bones were quite old, dated around 850 AD, and had been well – preserved by the cold. DNA evidence established that these 200 – odd skeletons belonged to two distinct groups – a closely related or family group and a shorter group of locals, perhaps hired as porters or guides. Spears, leather shoes and bamboo staves were found, indicating that the group of people were pilgrims heading through the valley with the help of locals.
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What Caused This Massacre?
Initially, an avalanche was deemed to be the reason behind their death. However, experts revealed that all skeletons show only one kind of perimortem wound. This is the trauma that occurred at the time of death. Also, the weapons used in that era did not make the wounds.
Every person had died in the same way – sharp blows to the head, the weapon being rounded. After much speculation, it is now proposed that the severed head and shoulder injuries were due to a storm of large hailstones (23cm in diameter), the size of a cricket ball. Trapped in a shelter less valley, the people could not escape resulting in this shocking discovery 1,200 years later.