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Mummy in Gue

By: Akshatha Vinayak

Just looking at a picture of Mummy (preserved human corpse) is scary. Imagine finding one in real! The residents of the village of Gue are not scared. Instead, they believe this mummy is a God who protects them.


Photo Courtesy: Umesh Bansal

Gue was just like any other remote Trans-Himalayan village until an earthquake happened and a mummy was found while the excavation in 1975. In fact, it became viral only when two photographers captured it. From that time onwards 'Mummy found in Gue village' brought fame to this unknown place.

What makes it a special Mummy?

First of all, the concept of mummy is foreign to our country. Maybe it is because we either cremate or bury the dead bodies. It is rare to find any preserved corpses (mummies) in India except in some museums. Usually, we are reminded of Egypt or other Asian countries when it comes to mummies.

Hence, this became big news when a Mummy was discovered in Gue Village of Spiti Valley. The body is in a squatting position and that too in a well-preserved state.

Mummy in Gue village

Mummy in Gue Village

Legends say, it is the body of Sangha Tenzin (a lama or a monk) who saved the village from the plague of scorpions. It seems when his soul left the body, there was a rainbow in the sky which cleared all the scorpions.

What is Natural Mummification?

According to the carbon dating, this mummy is 500-600 years old. Surprisingly, no chemicals are used to preserve this body. Maybe, that is why it is well protected. Another curious fact is that natural mummification process is not easy, and the monk is said to have started the process when he was alive.

Of course, the cold climate must be one of the major factors in the preservation process. Even the hair and teeth are intact!


Tabo Village
Photo Courtesy: Krishna G S

Natural mummification process belongs to the Dzogchen tradition of Nyingma Sect of Buddhism. No doubt it must have been a complex process!

It is the only mummy in India which has undergone a natural mummification process.

Where is the Mummy placed?

Sangha Tenzin's mummy has been placed in a monastery on the hilltop of Gue Nala. Locals believe he is the living God and worships him. Other than this mummy, Gue Village has no other attractions except for the pristine Himalayan landscapes.

Ki monastery

Ki Monastery
Photo Courtesy: Simon

How to Reach Gue Village?

Gue Nala or village is almost near to Indo-China border and tourists need an Inner Line Permit to travel here. Tourists have to go in a cab because regular buses are not available here. One can either go from Kaza or Sumdoh town to reach Gue Village.

Only if you happen to visit Nako and you really want to get a glimpse of Mummy should you head to this remote village and say 'Hello to Sangha Tenzin' for his efforts!

Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley is one of the destinations for adventure lovers in Himachal Pradesh. Gue is around 80km from the town of Kaza.

Read more about: spiti, himachal pradesh
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