The Legend of the Giu Mummy.

Tripoto
6th Apr 2018

Midway between Nako & Tabo, we took a detour after crossing a bridge over Spiti and drove for about 7-8 kilometers to reach the small village of Giu. The terrain was full of small stones. As if some crusher was crushing the stones of the size of a tennis ball before they were being spread out. As soon as the village came in sight, we could see an upcoming monastery on a small hillock. We wanted to walk through the village but rain gods did not agree so we drove all the way to the temple. We walked towards the temple but I was directed towards a small room in the corner with a closed door. I was told, not to worry and open the door. This is where the Giu Mummy continues to sit or if I may say Live. Most surprising fact about Giu Mummy was the absence of any artificial preservation. This means no chemicals have been applied to the body to preserve it in any way.

The ITBP personnel found Giu Mummy while they were working on road repairs a few years ago. In fact, it was not found in Giu village but was brought here. I assume Giu may have been the closest village but no one knew where exactly it was found. A team from Vienna based on the radiocarbon dating indicated its age to be about 550 years or so. It is believed that it belongs to a Buddhist Lama. They also indicate that the monk was probably in his early 40s when he died. They also found no traces of any chemicals to preserve the body. And concluded that the mummification has happened naturally. It is assumed that the monk sitting in deep meditation.

Most common explanation of Giu Mummy I heard was that  the process of mummification happened on its own – maybe the ice all around the body played the catalyst. Oral traditions say the name of the monk is Sangha Tenzin and he belonged to the Gelugpa order of Buddhism.
However, a curiosity reading took me to this link on Self Mummification. I discovered that it was an organized practice in certain sects of Buddhism. Where the monks would give up food and lead their bodies towards mummification. They probably knew the science of mummification. The success of mummification was obviously linked to the spiritual merit of the monk.

Photo of Spiti Valley, Marango Rangarik, Himachal Pradesh by Vaishali Mitra
Photo of Spiti Valley, Marango Rangarik, Himachal Pradesh by Vaishali Mitra
Photo of Spiti Valley, Marango Rangarik, Himachal Pradesh by Vaishali Mitra
Photo of Spiti Valley, Marango Rangarik, Himachal Pradesh by Vaishali Mitra
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