The initiates of the Rai people, the Vedas tiger-men, leave each spring to brave the cliffs to gather the honeycomb of Apis laboriosa, the world’s largest bee. Clinging to a ladder of braided bamboo well over 250 feet above ground, the “guru” works for four hours to amass the treasure while under constant attack by thousands of bees. Lauded in sacred writings as the nectar of immortality, the toxic rhododendron honey is also one of most expensive. Despite its value, once again this year the Bung valley inhabitants refused to sell it: They divide the harvest between four villages, to be used as a treatment for man and beast.
A story with spectacular photography.