Does myth end where reality begins? In a first, the Indian Army’s expedition team claimed that it had spotted gigantic footprints of ‘Yeti’, which has commonly been known as a ‘mythical beast’. Given that the footprints were 32×15 inches in size, it caught the entire world’s attention when the Additional Directorate General of Public Information official Twitter handle tweeted that the footprints of elusive snowman has been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park.
In a report today, the ANI has cited Dehradun-based mountaineer Tarun Goel sharing his insights about sensing voices of creatures and strange movements, which he conveys can be similar to ‘Yeti’ or other mythical creatures. Another mountaineer Manjul Rawat called for more evidence that can help and corroborate Yeti’s existence. The current debate around ‘Yeti’ is in the context of gigantic footprints spotted close to Makalu Base Camp on April 9 by an expedition team of the Indian Army.
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The mythical creature named ‘Yeti’ is believed to be taller and much bigger than the average human being. Way before Yeti’s descriptions caught everyone’s fancy as it does today, Herge’s ‘Tintin in Tibet’ led the narrative on portraying that the Yeti exists and infused the mythical creature with human characteristics such as being lonely, brooding, free and kind yet deeply misunderstood due to ‘size’. However, scientists have long been skeptical about Yeti’s existence, which is why it has also been called as an ‘abominable snowman.’
Eric Shipton, a highly respected British explorer, first spotted the giant footprint in the 50s which led the world to be enchanted by the possibility of the mystery that we now call as ‘Yeti’. When he brought back the footprint image, no one raised a question about the authenticity. His reputation clearly preceded his discovery of something that remains almost unimaginable to the human mind. But Eric Shipton, on his part, was determined to keep exploring until he could decode the mystery of the Yeti.
Another mountaineer Reinhold Messner also undertook an arduous journey to find the Yeti, spanning twelve years. After more than a decade, Messner published a book titled, ‘My Quest for Yeti’.
In 1957, another explorer Peter Byrne, who was part of a Slick Expedition heading to the Everest, is known to have swapped ‘yeti hand’ bones for human bones and smuggled the original bones to England reportedly for ‘analysis’, but the test results remained inconclusive.
The Yeti legends are plenty across the world. A Russian legend, a Chinese legend, and many more legends about the Yeti flourish. Believe it or not, even the Nazis were fascinated by the legend of the Yeti and are known to have embarked on a scientific expedition to Tibet way back in 1939. However, Nepal is where the Yeti legend has most flourished. Specifically, Tengboche in Nepal is believed to be a most important place for Sherpas and therefore, the best place to start searching for the mythical beast that has been referred to in various Sherpa legends.
Yet the missing link to the mythical creature has never been found though Eric Shipton’s photographs capturing razor-sharp images of its footprint are now legendary.