500-year-old mummy found in Himachal Pradesh

500-year-old mummy found in Himachal Pradesh

Sanjana Sule, July 29, 2016
In the serene state of Himachal Pradesh, lies something murky and dark.

We’ve all heard the stories of mummies, with a lot of intrigue and chill running down our spines. All the Mummy movies we watched help enhance our interest and intrigue. Now you may think that to get a first hand mummy experience (not the horror movie kinds) you’d have to go all the way to Egypt. But not necessarily. Our very own Himachal Pradesh in the north has a mummy that has been attracting attention from the world over. And why should it not? After all it’s 500 years old! The mummy of Sangha Tenzin a Buddhist mummy.

The Mummy vs The Buddhist Mummy

500-year-old mummy found in Himachal Pradesh

Now you’ve heard of the Egyptian mummies, they usually come embalmed and then wrapped in muslin (the face white cloth that covers the mummy) but the mummy of Sangha Tenzin happens to be a Buddhist mummy, which means it looks very different.

Not for the faint-hearted, this mummy is well preserved and you can see its dark taut skin, remains of some hair on the head and his teeth gaping through thin lips.

The process of mummification for the Buddhist monks is very different from the ones you’ve usually heard of. The monks would stop eating food that increased body fat. By cutting down fat intake, they were preparing their body for preservation. They’d eat only nuts, roots, herbs. By the time the monks died, the body was devoid of any form of fats and the organs would be shrunken. Hence the body would not decompose and the natural form would be preserved. This is what you can see in the mummy of Sangha Tenzin.

Weird right? Told you this wasn’t a story for the faint-hearted.

The Discovery

It was in the earthquake of 1975 that opened up an old tomb, exposing the mummified body of the monk. Legend has it, that the monk asked his followers to mummify him during a scorpion infestation. When his spirit left the body, a rainbow appeared in the sky, making the scorpions disappear. The monk was said to belong to the Tabo Monastery located nearby.

The mummy is currently on display at the Gue temple and is open for public viewing. So do you dare visit? Grab your Himachal tour packages and discover for yourself

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