Posted / 13 Sep 2018

The Last Death - Defyining Honey Hunters of Nepal

The Himalayan giant honeybees produce what is known as Mad Honey, thanks to its hallucinogenic properties. The psychotropic effects of this honey result from substances found in the flowers of rhododendron trees whose flowers bloom in March and April in the Hongu Valley, Nepal. The local Kulang people have been using this honey for centuries as a cough remedy and an antiseptic.

For a particular Honey Hunter, Mauli, honey hunting is the only way to earn cash to buy staples. This seasonal honey harvest proves to be extremely challenging even for the most seasoned hunters. The hunter dangles from a ladder as it swings in space, three hundred feet in the air. Bees buzz around him, stinging every possible exposed skin, and even thorough his clothes. There is no safety rope. If he loses his grip, it would be certain death. Adding to the challenge, he hooks a 25-feet bamboo pole across one shoulder and proceeds to create smoke by smoldering grass an attempt to engulf the bees and confuse them as he approaches the hive.