The Yeti Skull of Khumjung Gomba

The Khumjung Gomba possesses a rare Yeti skull. Generations ago, before Khumjung Gomba was established, the people of Thame, Namche, Khunde, and Khumjung celebrated the festival of Dumji together at Thame every year. After some time, a dispute arose over management of the festival, and the people of Khunde, Khumjung and Namche left Thame to celebrate at Khumjung. When they left, the people of Khumjung expected a cultural gift of some significance – perhaps prayer flags, Buddhist scriptures, or ritual instruments – from the people of Thame, but were surprised to receive only a yeti skull. The villagers of Khumjung were so offended by this meager gift they kicked the skull all the way home. Only now, after increased interest from Western scientists, tourists, and mountaineering heroes including Sir Edmund Hillary and local leaders like Konchok Chumbi Sherpa, has the cultural and biological value of the skull been recognized.

The legendary Yeti or so-called “Abominable Snowman” is a well-known feature of Solu Khumbu. These creatures have been searched and hunted for but are rarely sighted. The Yeti, according to legend, is a shy humanoid creature that inhabits the high, remote regions of the Himalaya. While traversing the region you may hear Sherpas and other hill people describe the Yeti's superhuman strength and its ability to carry off yaks and even abduct children.

The Sherpas distinguish three different types of yeti: Drema, or Telma the messenger of calamities; Chuti which preys on goats, sheep and yaks; and Mite or Midre which also attacks animals and sometimes men. Sherpas believe that the findings of mysterious footprints in the snow and several incidents of yaks killings support the legend, and Sherpa accounts say the yeti's height is approx. 6-8 feet with a conical scalp, pointed ears, hairless chest area and a human-like face. The creature is said to have a very bad temperament and will attack anyone who ventures close enough.

Tourists who would like to see the skull are encouraged to submit a small donation for the monastery's maintenance. Tourists are a major form of support for Khumjung's monastery.

The Khumjung Gomba and Khumjung community thank all tourists for their assistance.

Text compiled by Ang Rita Sherpa, of The Mountain Institute 2004

No comments: