Toda people and the Sacred Bees

In southeast India, in the Nilgiris mountain range, the last remaining Toda people have preserved a unique co-existence with the Apis Cerana bee. Every spring, Thedelli, Nathelli and Sachin go deep into the woods searching for the trees where the bees build their hives. When they gather the honey they never damage the area where the queen bee lives. They also construct a stone door in the tree hole as a protective measure. This way the hive is always in the dark, can withstand the rainy season, is protected against predators and the bees can stay in the trunk for decades. It’s astonishing to watch the Toda slowly extracting honey with their bare hands while never getting stung.


“We are the Todas, the very first tribe of the Nilgiri Hills. We and the bees belong to the forest. We have bloomed is this land”.