Sangha Tenzin
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Sangha Tenzin
Sex m
Status monk
Culture Bhuddist
Date(s) 1475
Current Location
Location Gue
Catalog #

Found in 1975 when an earthquake struck exposing his tomb, and was then found by villagers. He is the only mummy found in the upright position. His knee is up under his chin, and a closed fist wrapped around his leg. It is expected that the dry air helped preserve the body. He is known for sacrificing himself in order to help his village.

Sangha Tenzin is one of the very few well-known Buddhist monks who began the mummification process while he was alive.

In 2004, the extremely well-preserved mummy of Sangha Tenzin was excavated and was eventually placed in a public temple in the village of Gue, where it remains today.


Naturally mummified through ascetic and renunciatory practices. Typical of the Buddhist notion of mummification, Sangha Tenzin began to starve himself to reduce the fat in his body that would rot after his passing and also ran candles along his skin to dry it out. He died in a seated pose and was kept in the same pose as his body was placed in an underground room to fully dry out. After this, Sangha Tenzin's mummified body was put into a tomb, which was later discovered after an earthquake in 1975.


Carbon dating has revealed the mummy daties to about the year 1475. A strange belt tied around the body could be a ‘Gomthak’ - Monks used to tie around their neck to their knee while meditating.


Called Mummy Lama by some villagers, the mummy is believed to be of Sangha Tenzin, a monk from Gelugapa order.

The Spiti Village is a small, unknown town before the mummy of Tenzin attracted a few travellers to the museum where it is held. The town is not easily accessible as there are no busses running to the Gue Village, a taxi or car is needed in order to travel on the dirt roads into the village. The village is located near the Indo-China border, 10,499 ft above sea-level. The name "Spiti" means "the middle land" and this name is applicable because the town is located between Tibet and India. The village is cold dessert mountains located high in the Himilayan Mountains. Gue is now known as the only town to house a naturally preserved mummy.


  1. Otto, M. R. (n.d.). Mummy of Sangha Tenzin. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from
  2. Vallangi, N. (2015, July 10). Travel - A 500-year-old mummy – with teeth. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from
  3. Venkatraman, S. (2013, March 29). Go away to Gue. Retrieved November 18, 2017, from
  4. Verma, R. S. (2017, July 18). Only Buddhist Mummy of the World in Gue Village - Spiti ! Retrieved November 19, 2017, from
  5. The Village of the Lama Mummy: Gue. (2012). Retrieved November 19, 2017, from
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.