The Gurungs

Also known as the Tamu, the Gurung people are an ethnic group that inhabits various regions of Nepal. Their group rose to fame after a documentary made by freelance photo journalists Diane Summers and Eric Valli shed light on their honey hunting practices. BBC2 also made a documentary on the matter in 2008. The tribesmen risk their lives, climbing steep Himalayan hills, in order to collect the honey of the Apislaboriosa, the world’s largest honeybee. They also gained online momentum after VICE magazine published an article and documentary in September 2016, entitled “Hunting for Hallucinogenic Honey in Nepal”. The grayanotoxin-filled rhododendron flower is Nepal’s national plant. When the giant Apislaboriosa bees pick up the pollen from the flower, they also infuse their honey with the toxin’s psychedelic properties. The Gurung don’t do it just for the honey, they do it for the sake of keeping up a centuries-long tradition that has come to define their tribe from generation to generation.