Origin: The Deep Forest Honey, loaded with minerals and vitamins is a unique combination of taste and nourishment. It not only satisfies your taste buds, but strengthens your immune system also. This exceptional and amazing, superb, high quality honey is collected by our team from the jungles of Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. Some local people of area belonging to Tharu tribe are also the part of our team. The exceptional and unique flavor as well as distinct color and pleasant smell of Deep Forest Honey differentiates it from the other varieties of honey.
About Katarniaghat Forest: The pleasant smell of blooming flowers, luxuriant grasslands, magnificent flora, innumerable marshes and wetlands, chirping and twittering of birds, buzzing of bees, roaring of wild cats, burble of rivers and soothing environment are enough to tell that you are in the jungles of Katarniaghat. This protected area of the Upper Gangetic plains is situated in Terai region of Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh. The fragile Terai ecosystem of this wildlife sanctuary comprises a mosaic of sal and teak forests including trees of jamun, mahua, mango, simal, Asna, khyar etc. A number of endangered species including gharial, tiger, rhino, Gangetic dolphin, swamp deer, hispid hare, Bengal florican, the white-backed and long-billed vultures thrive in these jungles. Watching fun-loving Indo-Gangetic dolphins plunging in the water will make your day. Ghariyals basking in the sun at the embankment of Girwa River will give you goose bumps. The extremely fascinating herpetofauna of Katarnighat that includes several dreadful species like the banded krait, rare red coral kukri snake, the Burmese rock python, the yellow speckled wolf-snake and the paradise flying snake is self-sufficient to give you heebie-jeebies. It is home to Tharu people who love to live in the lap of Mother Nature.
About Tharu Tribe: Tharu an exceptional tribe of Terai region that celebrates Diwali as a festival of mourning. There is a very interesting mythological story behind this unique practice. The story begins in the time when Lord Rama wanted to create a way for his army to reach Lanka. Instead of building a bridge his first choice was to dry up all the water from the ocean using Brahmastra (a weapon). It was sort of a nuclear missile which used to create extremely intense heat upon explosion. However, Vanaras suggested an alternate way of building Ram Setu (bridge) to reach Lanka. Lord Rama abandoned the idea of drying up the entire ocean, but he said that his astra can never go in vain, so it was decided by him to divert this astra towards north side. In that particular northern region, that is located in the modern day Thar Desert of Rajasthan, too many people were engaged in illegal and criminal activities like robbery and murdering and had created a lawless society there. The place where that weapon, whose splendor was similar to that of a thousand suns, was descended by Rama, converted into a desert in a flash. Most of the clan of Tharus who used to reside there got annihilated in the process. Tharus who escaped death along with their distant relatives regrouped with whatever was left of their clan. They absconded from Rajasthan and migrated to Himalayan foothills of Tarai in search of greener pastures and subsistence. When Lord Rama returned from Lanka after his victory over Ravana, the people belonging to the kingdom of Lord Rama celebrated his return as Diwali; while the battered and helpless Tharus descended into grief and mourning, as their clan was almost annihilated by Lord Rama. Since then Tharus celebrate Diwali as a day of mourning for their perished ancestors. The word ‘tharu’ is believed to be derived from ‘sthavir’, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism. The Tharus live in both India and Nepal. In the Indian terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar. Tharus claim to be of royal origin and have migrated to tarai region from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. Although they are Hindu, Tharus use their own traditional ritual specialists in addition to the Hindu Brahman priests, moreover, many consume alcoholic beverages and some eat beef. Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev, and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain and harvests. Tharu women have stronger property rights unlike the women of mainstream North Indian Hindu custom. They speak various dialects of Tharu, a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu, and Awadhi.
Honey Origin: Deep Forest Honey is the product of giant honeybee, Apis dorsata. The process of gathering honey form the hives of these bees is very challenging. It is considered the most defensive of all of the honey bees. Their main weapons are stingers that are up to 3 mm long and can easily penetrate clothing and even the fur of a bear. Attached to the stingers are large venom glands with accompanying muscles that pump the venom into the skin, thus delivering a painful sting. These honey bees build a single, large, exposed comb under the branches of high trees, rather than in cavities, making the gathering of honey more intricate. The honey of Apis dorsata is more flavorful and delicious as these bees can perform seasonal long-distance migrations in order to exploit the nectar and pollen resources available at different times.
Harvesting Process: The season of honey harvesting starts in the March. Our team stayed several days in the jungles to collect the honey. The cold, numbing nights, babbling of river, roaring of big wild cats, chirping of crickets and buzzing of bees and mosquitos made our stay in the forest more enduring and unforgettable. Our firm determination to provide the best quality raw honey, gave courage to our team to stay in those dreadful and horrible jungles. The harvesting process started in the morning with the worship of Bee Goddess, Bhramari, a word which means 'bees' in Hindi. The first harvest was offered to the goddess and the ‘Prasad’ was distributed among all the team members. The actual harvesting started from the second day. Team members got up early in the morning to start the process of honey gathering as early morning is the best time to collect honey, bees comparatively show less aggression in the morning. Most of the bees are diurnal and rely on the circadian clock to anticipate the time of sunset and sunrise which may enable them to most efficiently exploit the hours with sufficient sunlight for foraging. A bundle of twigs, containing dried leaves in the inner side and fresh leaves on the outer side was used to produce smoke. The dried leaves burn efficiently but the envelope of fresh leaves does not allow it to burn fast, make it ideal for producing smoke, necessary to drive bees out of the hive. Bees assume smoke as a sign of forest fire and prepare themselves to leave their habitat and look for a new one. As a natural response to this threat, they store as much honey as possible in their bodies. This helps them build a new home elsewhere. One of our team member climbed high on the trees to reach the hives. He cut only honey filled chambers of the hive with the help of a knife without harming the whole comb. This gives an opportunity to honeybees to return to their hives and repopulate it.
Tales & Rituals: In every season, the collection of honey starts with the ‘pooja’ of Bhramari Devi. It is believed that she is an incarnation of Parvati Devi and is usually depicted with bees clinging to her body. She defeated the demon army of Arunasura by summoning bees, wasps, mosquitos, flies, hornets and spiders to attack them. Bhramari devi resides in the heart chakra and emits the buzzing sound of bees. This buzzing, humming noise is often imitated in Vedic chants, and represents the essential sound of the universe. It is a common belief among local people that harvesting process will not be successful without her worship. She is the devi of fertility who sends her ‘Sena’ of bees to collect nector and startsthe process of fertilization in crops and plants by pollination. There is another belief among Tharu people. They feel lucky if the mangrasha, a variety of stingless bees, nests on their property.
Extraction Process: The honey combs were collected in the cane baskets after harvesting. It was followed by manual squeezing of honey from the combs that was collected in big earthen pots. Honey was then filtered with the help of a clean, dirt free cotton cloth and temporarily stored in earthen matkas before final packaging in glass bottles. This added petrichor smell in the natural, raw, super tasty honey.
Color & Taste: This slightly bitter, luscious, mouth-watering, tempting honey is dark brown in color with medium viscosity and is collected from hives present on Mahua trees, thus ensuring the presence of Mahua flowers nector in the honey. Mahua trees are considered very important since time immemorial as they possess a number of pharmaceutical propertis. The bark of the mahua tree is used to cure diabetes, while its flowers are belived to relieve constipation, hemorrhoids and eye infections as well as help in curing bronchitis symptoms. The distinct aroma and peculiar taste of this Deep Forest Honey reminds the rich, magnificent and diversified vegetation of the chaparral.
Tharus use honey for the following purposes:
- Tharu people consume bee brood along with honey and pollen.
- They use honey for many things such as an ointment to heal the wounds of cattle, to recover from eye infection, toothaches and sore throat/flu.
- They believe that the honey expedites wound healing and maintains strong overall immunity.
- Tharus use honey to control vomiting due to excess of alcoholic consumption
- Honey is used for facial treatment and hair therapy.
- Pollen is used to cleanse the digestive system and to expedite the overall digestion process.
- Tharu people consume bee broods to increase libido in men. They also believe that consuming bee broods and honey increases fertility in men.
Pick me up: Juju Dhau (king yogurt) is a Tharu dish made from buffalo milk and sweetened with honey. Tharus make a Kheer, a type of gruel, usually served as a dessert, made of milk, honey and dried fruits, paired with fermented kimchi made from ripe cucumbers
This honey is 100% natural, raw, unprocessed without any adulteration.