Thursday, 19 November 2020

Why Roopkund treks are so famous?

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Roopkund is a trekkers delight and it’s high altitude glacial lake, is known as the skeleton lake in the Himalayas. It’s in the Uttarakhand state in 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 16,470 feet, surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow-clad mountains. Roopkund, a remote lake high in the Indian Himalaya, is home to one of archaeology’s spookiest mysteries: the skeletons of as many as 800 people. But the fact that all the bodies had died in a similar way, from blows to the head. However, the short deep cracks in the skulls appeared to be the result not of weapons, but rather of something rounded. The bodies also only had wounds on their heads, and shoulders as if the blows had all come from directly above. What had killed them all, porter and pilgrim alike?

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Roopkund locally known as Mystery Lake or Skeletons Lake is a high altitude glacial lake in the Uttarakhand state in 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 16,470 feet (5,020 m), surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow-clad mountains. Roopkund is a popular trekking destination. Roopkund, a remote lake high in the Indian Himalaya, is home to one of archaeology’s spookiest mysteries: the skeletons of as many as 800 people. In the early 2000s, preliminary DNA studies had suggested that the people who died at Roopkund were of South Asian ancestry, and radiocarbon dates from around the site cluster at 800 A.D., a sign that they all died in a single event.

Situated at over 5,000 meters above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains, Roopkund Lake is home to the scattered skeletal remains of several hundred individuals of unknown origin. A report genome-wide ancient DNA for 38 skeletons from Roopkund Lake, and found that they cluster into three distinct groups. A group of 23 individuals have ancestry that falls within the range of variation of present-day South Asians. A further 14 have ancestry typical of the eastern Mediterranean. We also identify one individual with Southeast Asian-related ancestry. Radiocarbon dating indicates that these remains were not deposited simultaneously. Instead, all of the individuals with South Asian-related ancestry date to 800 CE (but with evidence of being deposited in more than one event), while all other individuals date to 1800 CE. These differences are also reflected in stable isotope measurements, which reveal a distinct dietary profile for the two main groups.

But the fact that all the bodies had died in a similar way, from blows to the head. However, the short deep cracks in the skulls appeared to be the result not of weapons, but rather of something rounded. The bodies also only had wounds on their heads, and shoulders as if the blows had all come from directly above. What had killed them all, porter and pilgrim alike?

Among Himalayan women there is an ancient and traditional folk song. The lyrics describe a goddess so enraged at outsiders who defiled her mountain sanctuary that she rained death upon them by flinging hailstones “hard as iron.” After much research and consideration, the 2004 expedition came to the same conclusion. All 200 people died from a sudden and severe hailstorm. Trapped in the valley with nowhere to hide or seek shelter, the “hard as iron” cricket ball-sized hailstones came by the thousands, resulting in the travelers’ bizarre sudden death. The remains lay in the lake for over 1,200 years until their discovery.Because of the human remains, the lake has been called Skeleton Lake in recent times.

With a depth of about 3 metres, Roopkund is widely known for the hundreds of ancient human skeletons found at the edge of the lake. The human skeletal remains are visible at its bottom when the snow melts. Research generally points to a semi-legendary event where a group of people was killed in a sudden, violent hailstorm in the 9th century. Because of the human remains, the lake has been called Skeleton Lake in recent times.

Skeletons were rediscovered in 1942 by Nanda Devi game reserve ranger Hari Kishan Madhwal, although there are reports about these bones from the late 9th century. 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.

Local legend says that the King of Kanauj, Raja Jasdhaval, with his pregnant wife, Rani Balampa, their servants, a dance troupe and others went on a pilgrimage to Nanda Devi shrine, and the group faced a storm with large hailstones, from which the entire party perished near Roopkund Lake.

Remnants belonging to more than 300 people have been found. The Anthropological Survey of India conducted a study of the skeletons during the 1950s and some samples are displayed at the Anthropological Survey of India Museum, Dehradun. The studies of the skeletons revealed head injuries, which according to some sources were caused by round objects from above and the common cause of death. Those researchers concluded that the victims had been caught in a sudden hailstorm, just as described in local legends and songs.

Others, however, question this theory and the source of the injuries. Radiocarbon dating of the bones at Oxford University's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit determined the time of death to be 850 CE ±30 years. More recently, radiocarbon dating combined with genome-analysis found that the remains are from very different eras and belong to different distinct groups. A group of remains with South Asian ancestry was dated over a period of time around 800 CE, while the other skeletal remains of Mediterranean or Southeast Asian origin were dated to around 1800 CE. Those findings counter the theory that the individuals died in a single catastrophic event. The radiocarbon dating further suggests that the older, South Asian remains were deposited over an extended period or time, while the younger, Mediterranean and Southeast Asian group of remains was deposited during a single event.Ancient DNA from the skeletons of Roopkund Lake reveals Mediterranean migrants in India.



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MyPost


About wives!

I sometimes wonder – what if the husbands are asked to write a few lines about their wives?

It might go like this –

My wife is my wife. She is both my emotional anchor and storm and typhoon. She looks docile, but isn’t and has the ability to put with a person like me, who is never satisfied, happy or grumpy. She looks better than me and is a better human being than me. She is also more sensitive than me. She is a good mother and a good cook, and cooks what I like and not what she likes as if her likes are not important. She is a symbol of sacrifice. She is the one person who makes me more comfortable than me myself.

Knowingly or unknowingly, she agreed to be my better half and she regrets her decision from that day. However she has a special quality. She can predict and see things happening in advance, whereas I am deaf and blind to it. She will say – ‘This is going to happen’ and it does happen. Then she retorts – ‘See, I told you so.’ She is far more clear about life than I am, while I still try to understand life! And so sometimes I feel spoiled by her magnanimity.

Finally I realized, women have more brains and are more beautiful inside and outside, which makes them unique!

Ajio    Dell     Samsung     Tanishq

Kama Ayurveda     Myantra     Clovia

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Backwaters in Kerala, India
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