03 August, 2021

Bones Of A Riddle

A TV docu reaches startling findings on the Himalayan mystery of Roopkund

Bones Of A Riddle
Many are the mysteries that skulk quietly behind the desolate beauty of the Himalayas. Entire caravans of travellers have vanished, and creatures unknown to science are said to stalk the inhospitable heights where knifing wind and altitude sickness can kill strong men in hours.

But science can sometimes persuade the spirits of the mountains to yield up their secrets. One of the most well-known mysteries of the Indian Himalayas has been that of the skeletons of Roopkund, a lake 5,054 metres up in Uttaranchal's Garhwal region. In 1942, a forest ranger uncovered what appeared to be a mass grave at the lake. The discovery of hundreds of skeletons sparked intense speculation. Was it mass suicide? Or were they pilgrims, Tibetan traders, even Firoz Shah Tughlaq's lost army?

Certainly the remains weren't giving up their secrets easily. In the 1950s some bones were dated, to somewhere between the 12th and 15th centuries. Within a decade, the hike to Roopkund, a hard seven-day slog over a hundred kilometres, had become a popular trail for both Indian and Western trekkers. By the...

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