Have you heard that the Royal College of Surgeons in London has the mummified severed finger of a Yeti from Nepal? Matthew Hill of the Daily Mail writes about the fantastic journey this finger took to get to London. You can also listen to Matthew Hill’s story on the BBC (Yeti’s Finger) with explorer Peter Bryne being reunited with the finger.
Set high in a remote Himalayan mountain range stands the Pangboche Buddhist monastery.
During heavy snowstorms, it can be found only by travellers who listen for the monks’ ceremonial horns.
The walls are lined with traditional Nepalese paintings depicting the treacherous tracks to the monastery.
And among them are pictures of the legendary ape-like creature we refer to as the Yeti.
This might seem fanciful until you learn that, for many years, a shriveled hand (about the size of an adult human’s, with long, fat fingers and curling nails) was also on display in the monastery — and revered by the monks, who believed it protected them from bad luck.
I would know nothing about this story were it not for the fact that while walking around a collection of human and primate skeletons at the Royal College of Surgeons in London three years ago, I came across a withered finger which had only recently been found in the vaults of the College’s Hunterian Museum. It was labelled ‘a Yeti finger from Pangboche hand’.
Read the rest of the article at The Yeti, a severed finger from Nepal, and movie star James Stewart | Mail Online.
All our journeys give you an authentic experience, but we have some special tours with really authentic places to stay, from indian paddy fields to traditional Nile dahabiyyas.
The Authentic Nostalgic Nile
Think Egypt, and you’ll think of the Nile and the pyramids: the world’s oldest travel destination. Nineteenth century European aristocrats and archaeologists used to glide down the river on wooden dahabiyyas to take in the ancient temples.
Read More at Authentic places to stay – Telegraph.
Other Authentic Retreats
Around the world there are many other traditional forms of accommodation that have been used by travellers for centuries, from Japanese ryokan inns to stilted houses in Peru. These charming retreats will give you a valuable insight into the lives of the local people and help you to understand and appreciate how they live.
Read More at Authentic places to stay – Telegraph.
The Telegraph; Photo by Ed Yourdon
The seven-storey palace museum in Nuwakot in central Nepal is to officially open for general public from Tuesday.
Education Minister and government spokesperson Gangalal Tuladhar is scheduled to inaugurate the museum showcasing historical details and pictures related to the life and works of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and archeologically important statues, dossiers and collections.
A statue, reportedly carved out when Prithvi Narayan Shah was alive, was brought here from Kathmandu last year for museum purpose.
The statue, which is considered 240-year ancient, was taken to Hanumandhoka, Nasalchowk from Nuwakot, some 30 km north of the capital, and kept in a closet.
The idol depicting Prithvi Narayan Shah and his two queens, which was taken back to Nuwakot on the effort of the Department of Archeology, is the central attraction of museum, informed Chairperson of Nuwakot Heritage Protection Forum, Shyam Sundar Shrestha.
Read More at Palace museum to open for general public in Nepal.
The remains of 27 ancient men, women, and children have been found in cliffside caves in Nepal. Many of the bones bear cut marks that point to a previously unknown Himalayan death ritual, experts say.
The corpses—many of which had been stripped of flesh—were placed in the high mortuaries some 1,500 years ago, the team announced Friday.
Nearly 67 percent of the bodies’ had been defleshed, most likely with a metal knife, say the researchers, who found the remains in 2010.
After the de-fleshing process, the corpses had been neatly laid to rest on wide wooden shelves, the researchers speculate. But due to centuries of exposure to the elements, the bones and bunks—and much of the caves themselves—had collapsed by the time the team entered the chambers.
Also in the jumble: goat, cow, and horse remains—perhaps sacrificial offerings for the dead, though their purpose remains a mystery.
Dug into characteristically reddish cliffs of the Upper Mustang district, the human-made caves lie at 13,800 feet (4,200 meters) above sea level, high above the village of Samdzong.
In ancient times, rock outcrops and probably ladders would have eased access to the caves. Since then, however, erosion has rendered the chambers accessible to only expert climbers, such as seven-time Everest summiter Pete Athans, who co-led the team.
“Clues to when these caves were built, and by whom, are melting before our eyes,” Athans said in a press statement. “The cave tomb we found is under great threat. It is situated in a fragile rock matrix that has already collapsed some time in the past. I don’t believe the tomb would’ve lasted one more monsoon.”
De-fleshed, With All Due Respect
Little is known about the three ancient Himalayan groups that de-fleshed and entombed their dead in the high Mustang caves, making the motives behind the rite even murkier. The team has, however, ruled out cannibalism.
“When you’re going for meat, you process a skeleton in a very different way than if you were trying to strip the flesh off,” explained project leader Mark Aldenderfer, an archaeologist at the University of California, Merced.
“In cannibalism, the base of the skull is often smashed [to get at the brains], and bones are broken and twisted, usually for marrow. There’s nothing like that in any of the bone parts that we recovered. …
“This was done in a respectful fashion,” added Aldenderfer, who received partial funding from the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration.
Preliminary DNA analysis of some of the bones suggests the de-fleshing subjects were related.
Read More at New Death Ritual Found in Himalaya—27 De-fleshed Humans.
Story by Ker Than; Photo by Cory Richards
An elaborate cave structure discovered in a mountainous district of Nepal in 2007 contained human remains dating back 1,500 years, officials said Sunday.
A study of murals and DNA tests of the skeletal remains of 27 individuals found in a wooden structure inside what is believed to be a communal grave shows that migrants from the Ladakh area in northwestern India lived with Tibetans in the Upper Mustang area, said Bishnu Raj Karki, head of the government’s Department of Archeology.
The department conducted joint research with American archeologist Mark Aldenderfer and Peter Athans, a veteran mountaineer.
“The mural paintings show the clear influence of northwestern Indian culture on Tibetan culture. The caves were home to cultural confluence. The human remains have been found to be 1,500 years old,” Karki told Kyodo News.
The caves are located on a mountain at an altitude of 4,000 meters about 250 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu.
The partially collapsed caves, discovered by American, Italian and Nepalese archeologists, contain 55 exquisite paintings of Buddha and an elaborate web of dozens of interconnected caves built like multi- story apartments, according to Mohan Singh Lama, a Nepalese archeologist involved in the project.
The human remains found in a cave located at the top of the complex also indicate an ancient version of what is a more complete practice of sky burial still conducted in the Mustang district, Lama added.
The practice owes its origin to the landscape of Upper Mustang, where there is no vegetation and it is impossible for buried bodies to decompose.
“It appears that until 1,500 years ago, the dead were de-fleshed. The flesh was fed to vultures while bones were stored in the communal grave,” Lama said.
“But with caves becoming dangerous to live in due to landslips and people switching to houses built on flat areas, the practice changed and these days even the bones and skulls are crushed and fed to vultures by leaving the crushed remains on open space,” said Lama, explaining the practice of sky burial.
As the cave complex is likely to collapse completely, archeologists have left the human remains in the custody of local people.