By Anupum Pant
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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