1988 Photo Contest, Nature, 1st prize

Eric Valli

01 January, 1987

At the foot of the cliff from which Mani Lai collects wild honey, villagers hold out pots and pans to catch stray drops. Mani Lal (63) is the head of a Gurung village in the foothills of the world's highest peaks. As did his father, a shaman priest, he travels to the Himalayan ravines every spring and autumn to collect the wild honey of 'apis dorsata', a giant bee. The last of his village to have mastery of the technique, Mani Lal uses a 50m-long bamboo ladder secured only by a cord around his waist. Aided by an experienced team he maneuvers the 2.75m hive until it breaks off the rock face and falls into a basket.

About the photographer

Eric Valli

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