With over 3.5 Million Gurungs living in Nepal, the Gurung people are found all over the country and beyond. However, near the peaks of Himalayas, beyond which no human settlements are found, lives a secretive Gurung tribe called the honey hunters, in the secret villages that are surrounded by thick forests.
In these high forests live a certain kind of bee, the world’s largest honey bee – The Giant Bee of Himalayas (up to 3 cm length) – are found in huge nests built on the overhanging rocks of cliff faces. These nests can reach up to 5 feet in diameter and each of these nests can contain about 60 kg of honey! But that is not even the most interesting part about them yet…
The honey made by these bees is a product that comes from the nectar of kinds of poisonous flowers. That is probably what makes this honey – Red Honey – medicinal, intoxicating and hallucinogenic. Since it is difficult to harvest and has special properties, this kind of honey is expensive and sells for about 4 times the price of normal honey in the foreign market. So, the honey hunters take absurd risks to get the honey from overhanging nests up in the cliffs.
Also, besides the mad hallucinogenic honey, another awesome thing I did not know was that bees create a Mexican wave to warn the attackers approaching their nest. Seen at 14:40 of the documentary below.
I stumbled upon this amazingly beautiful 25-minute documentary by Raphael Treza which takes you through the ways of this tribe and their mad honey hunting ritual.
Also, you can’t miss this detailed Photo-documentary which beautifully captures, in still images, the Gurung tribe’s ways. [Here]
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The search for Yeti, the mythical human-like creature that is assumed to have been living in higher elevations of the Himalayas, has continued for several thousands of years. Back in the days of Alexander the Great, during the 326 BC, when he was in the Indus valley area, he learned from the local people about the Yeti and expressed a desire to see it. The local people failed to bring it to him. Since then, several encounters have been reported and shoddy evidence has been produced, but till date, no one has succeeded in capturing the creature dead, or alive.
Proven Existence of Yeti
An Oxford university Genetics professor, Brian Sykes claims to have found a solid evidence that proves the existence of the Yeti. Moreover, according to him, it is a sub-specie of the brown bear. Specifically, an hybrid of the polar-bear and the brown bear.
After thoroughly studying two of the DNA samples (40 years and 10 years old samples) of hair from a mysterious animal found in Ladakh and Bhutan he said:
I think this bear, which nobody has seen alive… may still be there and may have quite a lot of polar bear in it. It may be some sort of hybrid and if its behavior is different from normal bears, which is what eyewitnesses report, then I think that may well be the source of the mystery and the source of the legend.
Interestingly, the DNA samples were found to be a 100% match with those coming from an ancient Polar bear that walked in Norway about 100,000 years from now. During those times a Polar bear was almost like a brown bear, the brown bear was yet to evolve.
Random Yeti Facts
- Did you know, Yeti is also knows as the “Abominable Snowman” because the Tibetian word “Metoh-Kangmi” was mis-translated by a famous journalist as “dirty men in snow”.
- There is a wildlife sanctuary in Bhutan that goes by the name Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary which is dedicated to preserving the Yeti.
- During the 1950s, the Nepal government issued formal Yeti-hunting-licenses which costed a massive $650 per Yeti. Otherwise, Yeti brings in a lot of business in Nepal. There are braded hotels and airlines named after the Yeti.(more at NatGeo)
- Even in the virtual world, Yeti is a pretty popular creature. Games often like to include it as an easter egg. GTA San Andreas players claim that the Yeti can be found on the rocky faces of the Mount Chiliad at daytime. They say it is hard to see because it blends in with the mountain due to its color. GTA V players have encountered a similar beast, the BigFoot.