Mummy of a monk at village Giu

(This article was published in the North India Kaleidoscope.)


The Mummy (Click to Enlarge)

In the Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh is a small village called Giu. On one of my usual trekking I visited the village to get a view of the mummy here. This mummy is that of a Tibetan monk and carbon dating shows it’s more than 500years back. During construction work of a surveillance post by ITBP police, they found this mummy while digging. The spade of the workers hit the skull of the mummy and blood oozed out. The dent mark is still visible. How so ever spooky it may sound, strangely enough the skull also has some hair and the body skin unbroken. The police recovered the mummy and put it up in the village itself inside a glass chamber. The villagers take turn to take care of the mummy by lighting lamps and doing regular puja.

Research later revealed that it’s that of a Tibetan monk sitting in a deep meditation. Possibly some avalanche stuck and he got buried. There is a restrainer passing around his neck and through thighs. It could be a “Gomthak” which monks use for meditation. This keeps them in position while meditating. While Egyptians used embalming technique for mummy, Tibetans had yogic meditation ritual to turn themselves into natural mummy. This meditation technique followed is called Zogchen, a highest order of meditation, where the monk would almost starve himself and use yogic postures to get rid of all fluid & bacteria from the body. Same manner this monk seems to have mummified himself.

Apart from all the scientific reasons, there are folklores too. The villagers told us that the villages around used to get attacked by a tribe called scorpion. The monk told the villagers that he would go for meditation in the mountains and when he dies, they’ll see a rainbow. They need to keep his body mummified in the village, and as long as he is there, the Scorpions won’t attack. They say after few weeks they saw the rainbow. Though they could not get to find the monk, but the attacks by the scorpions stopped.





8 thoughts on “Mummy of a monk at village Giu

  1. Interesting. The mummy looks so intact, not like usual one we see in museums.



  2. Wow. We are planning a trip to Spiti Kinnaur next month. Will make sure to have a look.


  3. Amazing! I have heard about this method of mummification by Tibetian monks. There are few in the Tibet region, many even got damaged. But never got a chance to see one.


  4. Doesn’t it amaze you when you see/hear about such things? In today’s age we believe anything and everything established by scientists and completely ignore mother Nature. Here this yogi was able to forecast a rainbow which now is one of the popular methods of communication between the departed and us. He also accurately predicted about the attacks. In other words, I won’t be surprised when Science and Spiritual world get merged. How else can you explain the blood, the skin, the hair? Lastly, seeing a dead person that too mummified may spook people but here they take care of him! Wow!


    • Yoga and the science behind it is something most people don’t agree to. They have a deep rooted connection. I was amazed to find it in such intact condition. The dry skin is visible. Even the hair on his skull. With yogic practice the body simply dried up. I have been doing lot of study behind different spiritual practices. And with regards to many I am finding there is a science behind those practices.


    • Remember on way to kinnar I had mailed you that I’ll be visiting a village where they said about a mummy. This is the one.


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