Today’s Photo Story is largely inspired by the small column headline in a daily newspaper. It talked of locals claiming of a 200 years old mummy, found in Mongolia, to be alive! Supposedly, that mummy has a monk in lotus position, making the locals believe the monk to be alive and meditating. They term it as deep meditation.

The news feature reminded me of the mummy I saw in Giu village in Spiti.

People of Giu village and the region around consider this mummy to be of a monk as well. More than 550+ years old, this mummy was found by construction workers near Sumdoh. Though the workers fled in fear as the mummy oozed blood after it was accidentally hit by a spade, it’s now revered by the natives. One of the most surprising things about this mummy is that it’s rumored to have growing hair and nails! Growing or not, I saw it up close and yes, a tuft of hair that looked fresh was quite visible on the skull. Well, if the one found in Mongolia is supposedly alive, so can the Giu one be. After all, it has more facts to vouch for the claim!

The most popular theory is that it’s of a Buddhist monk (probably in his mid 40s), who was hit and buried by an avalanche while he was meditating (thus the pose). A team of experts from Vienna concluded the age of the mummy. Another theory is that of “self-mummification”. It’s rumoured that the monk meditated himself to death for the well-being of the local people, and the meditation technique led to a unique process that led to the preservation of his body.

It’s now kept in a room, while a monastery is still in construction at the site. Open to visitors, it’s become a must visit for anyone with a love for mysteries. Read on for more information if this has intrigued you enough.

How to reach Giu?

The road to Giu diverts from around 33 km before Tabo Monastery in Spiti Valley. A typical village, it has little else of interest to travellers. The village has recently come up with a food joint or two; your best bet to stay would be at some local’s place. A little stream crosses the village on one side and you might bunk up here for a day or two if you find a place to stay. Makes for an interesting stopover if you’re driving to Spiti from Kinnaur or vice-versa.

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