Mummy of Sangha Tenzin: Mystical “Mummy Lama” Gue Himachal Pradesh

Mummy of Sangha Tenzin
Mummy of Sangha Tenzin

Natural mummification is very rare, requiring conditions of extreme temperatures and dry air to preserve the body. Most mummies that we’ve seen (in textbooks and museums) were mummified with a chemical process called embalming and then wrapped in linen.

A MUMMY of a Tibetan Buddhist monk, believed to be about 500 years old, has been found in India’s northern Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh.The mummy, identified as that of monk Sangha Tenzin, was found inside a tomb at Ghuen village in the cold and remote Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, about 6000 metres above sea level.

In 1975 an earthquake in northern India opened an old tomb containing the mummified body of monk Sangha Tenzin. In 2004, the local police excavated the tomb and removed the mummy. The mummy is remarkably well preserved, with skin intact and hair on his head. He died in the seated position, with a rope around the neck and thighs (an esoteric practice recorded in few Buddhist documents). Local lore claims that he asked his followers to mummify him during a scorpion infestation in the town, and when his spirit left his body, a rainbow appeared and the scorpions disappeared. The town is about 30 miles from the Tabo Monastery that dates to 996 CE.

The mummy of Sangha Tenzin is now on display in a temple in Gue, two miles from where he was excavated, in the Himachal Pradesh region of India, bordering Tibet. Controlled by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and isolated in the Himalayas, the town is very difficult to reach. The temple where the mummy rests is open to the public, if you can get there.

 

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