National Geographic : 1914 Apr
THE PICTURESQUE SUMMER RESIDENCE OF SIR UGYEN'S SISTER AT SANGACHOILING: SITUATED ABOUT FOUR MILES NORTH OF BYAGHA Presently we came to Gangyul (13,600 feet), a little village in a narrow, flat val ley close under the eastern glaciers of Cho-mo-Lha-ri. While our camp was being got ready, I rode two or three miles up the valley in the hope of seeing a re markable cave which we were given to understand was in the locality. We soon discovered, however, that our guide was much more anxious to show us a large flat rock of slate situated between two branches of the Tsango-chu, at the head of which was a wooden axle forming a rack. DEVOURED BY LAMMERGEIERS It was carefully explained to us that this was a holy spot on which human corpses, the head and shoulders tied to the axle to keep the body in place, were exposed, to be eaten by lammergeiers and other ravenous birds and beasts of prey. In perfectly solemn and earnest good faith we were told that the birds were fastidious and would not touch low-caste bodies, and that only three families in the valley were entitled to be thus dis posed of. The Thimbu excused himself from ac companying me, as the memories con nected with this spot were very painful to him, his daughter only a few years be fore having been laid on the slab. One of our guides lay down on the slab, while another lit a smoky fire, de vices which, they said, would be sure to attract the lammergeiers from their ey ries; but the deception failed and no birds appeared. In another respect the little valley was very remarkable, as the gla ciers seemed to completely close in the head, and I saw two avalanches and heard several more, caused by the in creasing power of the sun's rays on the snow.