National Geographic : 2017 Jun
Beehives six feet wide cling to cliffs in the jungles of eastern Nepal. To and from these structures fly enormous Himalayan bees—the makers of a hallucinogenic honey so powerful that its psychotropic effects can last up to 24 hours. Harvesting this honey would seem to be an impossible endeavor. The job requires poking at angry, swarming bees while dangling 300 feet in the air on a ladder handwoven of bamboo strips. Still, for a man named Mauli Dhan (right), the modest profit he receives for collecting “mad honey” outweighs the risk of being stung hundreds of times and possibly falling to his death. Perhaps Dhan remains safe because he had the dream. In the Kulung tribe, to which he belongs, tradition holds that only those who’ve had a specific dream can lead a honey hunt. Dhan had it at age 15. Now, after jeopardizing his life for more than four decades, he would like to retire. The question is: Has anyone else in his tribe had the dream? STING OPERATION By Catherine Zuckerman PHOTO: RENAN OZTURK A GLIMPSE OF WHAT’S NEW AND NEXT FURTHER To go FURTHER into the perilous job of honey hunting, watch a 360-degree video at natgeo.com/honeyhunters360, and read Mark Synnott’s feature story in the July issue of National Geographic.