"Alan went off to watch honey collecting from the cliff edge [Film - young girls Dipak (House155), Tilkumari (House156), Comilman (House137A) hanging from the rope, Budibahadur organising from below with Minbahadur (House94), Damaru Magar was extracting the honey].

The honeycomb - 'kwi naju' - is separated and the beeswax called 'myan'. This is boiled up and used for mending things like buckets. Surje brought up about 1" of honey in the bottom of a jerry can. The price of honey in Pokhara is high so this represents a reasonable haul. Surje complained that much had been grabbed and eaten by Blacksmiths and Tailors before the division of the spoils. Surje also said that Comilman was not as good at collecting as the previous man 'Bisowne Bonmae'" (Diary - Sarah)

"I went down to see them collecting honey ('kudu taba') from cliffs below Chyan. A very rough path and impressive place which I filmed quite extensively. They apparently collect honey twice a year - in Katik and Chait/Tsait and also from other hives, though the custom has declined considerably. There used to be 'kwi lemme' or honey masters, for instance, Badrasing's father, Lamme Baje, and others, and a sheep sacrifice was done. No one does this now. A small puja was done, using the same shaped pipe of bamboo as used in the Kusun, but nothing was sacrificed. This is done in memory of Aba Karbore, I was told. The process was to try and smoke out the bees (there were four visible hives high up on the cliff) and then to lower a ladder from which a man tried to knock down the honey. The first attempt was to fix pegs in the hive so that it swung off a rope and was not broken. Both times this failed and the honey was splattered on trees and rocks below. Then a basket was used and lowered up and down. Got some lovely shots of people eating honey.

I was told that the three or four women (including Pade Maili from Mailbort and Amsaili) were "dirty", and hence not allowed to come to where the men were as it would anger the bees. Two girls from below (a Magar girl in 7th class from about House155 and one from next house down in 9th class in Pokhara - Garti - Dipak and Tilkumari) had come up a different way and joined men - Perhaps partly because no one felt like telling them to go away, partly because of their ages.

Several kettles of honey were collected and it was obviously an occasion much enjoyed by everyone - a lingering memory of their hunting/gathering past. It will be interesting to compare with the book and film of the honey hunters and in particular to see how my film differs. Clearly my camera/equipment much inferior, but hopefully this is made up by the intimacy of my filming and the fact that I was accepted and knew who most of the people were. Took about 45 minutes of film." (Dairy - Alan)

Film sequence:

Honey hunting

Smoke drifting up the cliff to the bees

Surje, Budibahadur and others at the foot of the cliff

Rope ladder being lifted up the cliff side through the smoke

Budibahadur directing operations

Surje, Indrabahadur, Jusbir and Birga watching

Bundle of leaves being dragged up to foot of cliff

Birga with 'Pade Maili' from Mailbort

Man on ladder adjacent to the honey combs attempts to cut honey with an 'ashi' tied on the end of a long stick

Basket of honey comb lowered to men on the ground

Honey comb being divided into lots

Man on the ladder trying to cut honey comb into a basket on the end of a stick, unsuccessfully as the comb falls to the ground

Bowl of honey

Further attempt to cut honey comb into the basket is little more successful

Minbahadur and Bimbahadur emptying honey from the basket into a pot, Budibahadur shouting up directions beside them

Damaru dividing up the honey comb. Pot full of bees swimming in honey

Another attempt to cut honey comb into basket. Basket gets stuck and tips, then lowered with honey dripping from it

Minbahadur taking honey comb from basket. Danaram driving in a stake at the bottom of the cliff

Man scraping honey off the cliff face while others carry to comb to the collecting point

People watching the honey collectors

Kumansing Kami eating honey comb

Further cutting into the basket

Loaded basket and stick coming down the cliff

Remains of wax, honey and bees in basket. Division of honey into pots

Budibahadur and others securing sharpened stick into the long cutting pole

Men eating honey

Further cutting. Honey comb on cliff with masses of bees on either side

Women kept at a distance from the collectors

Fresh smoke. Man still suspended on ladder

Man eating honey

Comilman swinging on the ladder while men below try to relocate it

Indrabahadur peering through our binoculars and hands it to two girls who have slipped through the cordon

Men watching the relocation of the ladder

Dipak and Tilkumari looking through binoculars

Comilman climbing up the ladder

Dipak and Tilkumari looking through binoculars, then eating honey comb

Surje showing Alan the 'rih' for Aba Karbore's 'pwe'

Om and Balakrishna looking up cliff. Kumansing and others eating honey comb

Smoke obscuring the ladder

Minbahadur joking with the girls who are eating honey comb

Bees in the cliff

Smoking out the bees with burning green leaves

Women watching from a distance

A bee

Smoke drifting up the cliff. Man on the ladder cutting at comb with a pointed stick. The comb breaks away and falls to the ground where pieces are picked up by Minbahadur and Balakrishna

Girls eating honey comb

Another basket load

Breaking up a honey comb

Bees dying on the cliff face

Another basket full

Thak, 18th November 1994