Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 17:41 UK

In pictures: Seeking the elusive yeti

Fossilised foot print in South Garo hills

Reports of a yeti or forest man have existed in the north-east Indian state of Meghalaya for centuries. Many people in the Garo hills believe that this is a fossilised footprint of a giant early yeti.

The hills of Nokrek national park

There have been repeated reports of sightings of a yeti - known locally as mande barung - in the hills of Nokreg national park. The creature is described as hairy, black and grey in colour.

Nelbison Sangma points to where he believes he saw a yeti

One of those who has more recently claimed to have seen the creature is wood cutter Nelbison Sangma. He says that it was about 8ft tall and could clearly be seen effortlessly breaking tree branches.

Garfield N Marak at home in Tura

"I believe that I came close to seeing the yeti in 1953 when I was a boy," says farmer Garfield N Marak. "The villagers were terrified, but I went to investigate and clearly saw its footprints."

Magistrate Ferlin A Sangma

"The jury is still out on the existence of a yeti," says local magistrate Ferlin A Sangma. "While there are some credible witnesses who say they have seen it, the proof of their case is not there."

Watersing Marak in Nokrek national park

"It's possible that mande barung lives here, because it's believed to be nomadic and is always on the move," says villager Watersing Marak. "But until I actually see with my own eyes, I won't believe."

Retired author Llewellyn R Marak

"I definitely believe there is a yeti-like creature somewhere in the Garo hills," says author Llewellyn Marak. "Both my grandfather and father saw it and I have seen its footprints."

Divisional Forestry officer Shri PR Marak

"We have not ruled out the existence of mande barung because there have been so many sightings," says senior forestry officer Shri PR Marak, "but we have to remember that Garo people love myths."

Wild elephant dung on the road leading to Balpakaram national park

Balpakaram national park - where there have also been sightings of the yeti - is in a remote part of north-east India. The road leading to it is littered with the dung of wild elephants.

Alastair Lawson straddles the border between India and Bangladesh

The road to the park adjoins the India-Bangladesh border and it's possible to stand with one foot in each country. The jungle - home to tigers, leopards and possibly yetis - gets thicker further east.

Balpakaram national park

Balpakaran is famed for its canyon filled with dense and inaccessible jungle and surrounded by steep cliffs. If an Indian yeti does exist, this must surely be where it lives.

Thick jungle in Nokrek national park

Whether or not there is a yeti in the Garo hills may perhaps never be known. The jungle is so thick and so extensive that it's impossible to prove whether mande barung is fact or fiction.




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