Mystical “Mummy Lama” of Spiti Lives on…

#1 Jan 11th, 2012, 16:45
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  • Sabyasachi Bardoloi is offline
#1
Dear Friends,

Had written this below write-up about the mystical Mummy Lama of Gue village some time back when we had gone exploring the mesmerizing lands of Lahaul & Spiti. We were indeed fortune to have a 'holy darshan' of the mummified remains of the reveared Buddhist Lama in the cold desert of Spiti...

Ever since I had come across a captivating Hindustan Times report about a 500-year-old mummy, believed to be of a holy lama, discovered deep within the cold desert of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, it had been my earnest desire to see it first hand. As we planned our jeep safari across the high roads of Lahaul & Spiti region, we kept pondering whether of not we would be able to reach out to this Himalayan remoteness.

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"Sirji, I've never been there and being a restricted border area, we would perhaps require permission from the Indo-Tibetan-Border-Police (ITBP)," mentioned Surender Thakur, our guide-cum -driver-cum-friend to my utter disillusionment. But comforted me by adding, "Don't worry; we’ll inquire at Kaza (sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti). If we are destined to have 'His' holy darshan nothing should stop us."
Meandering through treacherous roads (basically broken dirt tracks) amidst the pristine outdoors of Spiti, we finally climbed over the towering 4551 meter high Kunzum La Pass to reach Kaza, passing by Losar, Hansa, Rangrik and countless other sleepy villages post our exploration of Udaipur & Trilokinath in Lahaul.
Next day, we ventured out from Kaza, driving through a literal moonscape. Strange “out of the world” formation of the barren landscape was a visual treat. As we moved ahead, our hearts were pounding fast. Just before Sumdo, we took a side road to our left to be greeted by a colourful arch - “Welcome to Gue Village.” “Sirji, we have made it,” said Thakur Bhai, seeing our excited faces.

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At the edge of the quiet village we saw a small concrete structure, guarded by ITBP personnel. Inside in a glass chamber was the mummified lama, lovingly called “mummy lama.” Bowing our heads we felt blessed at his divine presence. A closer observation reveals that the mummy is amazingly well-preserved with unbroken skin; teeth, nails and hairs fully intact.

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It is believed that this revered lama was a Tibetan monk named Sangha Tenzin, who gave up his life about 600 years back while meditating in the squatting position he was discovered mummified inside a tomb. The locals of Gue knew about the mummy since 1975 when an earthquake brought down a part of the tomb. But its sheer remoteness kept it out of bounds. Carbon dating carried out by some foreign scientists estimated it to be about 550 years old.

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According to local legends, about 600 years ago when Gue was troubled by scorpions, Sangha Tenzin squatted down to mediate in the prescribed manner, after asking his disciples to entomb him. It is believed when his soul left the body, a rainbow appeared across the sky and the scorpions mysteriously disappeared from the village.
I asked an elderly local, “How old is this mummy?” “Son, it is difficult to say, may be 500 years, 600 years or may even more, in fact no one knows how old he is, but he has been blessing our village down the ages.” He added with an astounding faith, “He is our living God, his nails and hairs still grows.” With a mixed feeling of being blessed yet thoroughly mystified we moved on.

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Recently, I came across a disturbing news report that fungal growth has set and if not properly preserved, this ancient relic could be lost forever. In fact, out of fear of being stolen, the villagers of Gue, directed by their local devta (deity), some time back, shifted the priceless “mummy lama” to its earlier location inside the Gompa where it had been lying undisturbed for the past over five centuries.
They feel that it is no longer safe to leave it unguarded and closed it from public viewing. It would be decided later, whether or not to allow public viewing of the mummy, as per the direction of their local devta.
Feel really blessed that we were among a lucky few to have “His” holy glimpse. Only time will say whether or not anyone again would ever be able to view the mystical “Mummy Lama” of Spiti who continues to live on…

Getting there
Gue is one of the most isolated village of Spiti, lying very close to the border of Tibet, about 50km from the Tabo monastery. Coming from Shimla side by the NH 22 – the old Hindustan-Tibet Highway – take the side road after crossing Sumdo. Coming from Manali side on the NH 21 divert at Gramphoo to enter Spiti and drive through Kunzum La pass, Losar, and after crossing Kaza take side road to Geu Village before Sumdo. Distance is about 430 kms from Shimla. Approximately 250 kms from Manali.
Place to Stay
No place as such to stay in Gue village, nearest stopover can either be Kaza or Tabo.
Best Regards,

Sabya

http://www.travelyourdreams.in
Last edited by Sabyasachi Bardoloi; Jan 11th, 2012 at 17:04.. Reason: typo
#2 Jan 11th, 2012, 16:57
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#2
Interesting Read!
#3 Jan 11th, 2012, 18:26
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#3
I had never heard of the mystical Mummy Lama of Spiti before. Thanks for sharing your experience and your photos with us, Sabya!
#4 Jan 11th, 2012, 19:13
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#4
First time I am hearing about this too. Since its out of public viewing now, we have to take solace from the pics only. Ancient history has always intrigued me.
#5 Jan 12th, 2012, 00:41
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#5
Nice thread SB, here's a very old thread by Dhananjay which may interest you;

http://www.indiamike.com/india/himac...of-giu-t13029/
#6 Jan 12th, 2012, 11:32
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#6
Thanks DaisyL and Prakaant for find this interesting. -
It indeed is very intriguing and facinating...

Thanks Kullukid for the compliment and for sharing the old thread started by Dhananjay....
#7 Jan 12th, 2012, 16:29
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There was also a T.V. documentary made about it. Apparently it's now decaying from fungal moist.
#8 Jan 12th, 2012, 16:56
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#8
That's very sad indeed. Wish the documentary could have been aired for all to see...
We really feel lucky to get a 'holy darshan' of the reveared Mummy Lama in person...
#9 Jan 16th, 2012, 11:52
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#9
Very interesting thread Sabyasachi. Do post more pics.
Travelpod / Flickr


-----------------------------------------------------
#10 Jan 17th, 2012, 13:39
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Thanks snonymous...will do try and post a few more pics soon...
#11 Apr 4th, 2012, 16:39
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#11
Hi Sabyasachi, its wonderful pictures and information you have shared. Looking for more pictures as promised.
-Paglaghora
Paren Asola Gue Leh Ajmer Gurudongmar Hogennakkal Orchha Raiganj Agartala

Phadamchen AritarTop Gnathang Lunghtu Akpa Gramphoo Hee Osiyan Rampur Attargo
#12 Apr 6th, 2012, 21:37
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#12
I came across the following link.

And this is the link for torrent file of the discovery documentary.
Last edited by Paglaghora; Apr 7th, 2012 at 09:56.. Reason: For properly opening of torrent page
#13 Apr 7th, 2012, 01:01
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#13
Interesting stuff - I've driven past that side road many times, and always wondered what was up there.
#14 Apr 8th, 2012, 19:23
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#14
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Ronak.
#15 Apr 11th, 2012, 11:13
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#15
Thanks pagalghora for sharing the links, very informative. yet to view the torrent file. About more pics, yes, I have to upload them,,,,

@Indyboy next time around do make sure to take the side road -

Thanks Shahronakm -....

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