Silence inspiring creativity.
Thanedar is situated in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. It is known for being the only open valley in the State. You can see across the valley for miles. In the distance one can see the Kinner Kailash peak and the Satluj river below. The Satluj river starts its journey from Tibet.
All you hear is the sound of nature. The rumble of the river Sutluj below. The mountains are a natural habitat for so many different birds from the Himalayan Magpie with their gorgeous blue tails - the woodpecker, different small finches flitting about and above that one can see the Himalayan Vulture gliding above it all. Bliss!
Thanedhar is located in the Kotgarh district and is situated on the old China-India Silk Road. 4 hour drive from Shimla. It is on a popular route to the Lahaul-Spiti valley in India which borders with Tibet.
Pahars "the mountains"
The Majestic Himalayas. A zoomed in image of the Kinnaur Kailash Range in India.
The Kinner Kailash Peak is part of this mountain range. It is a sacred peak for both Hindus and the Buddhist Kinnauris.
A walk through deep forests.
The path that leads from Thanedhar to Kotgarh.
It's a beautiful 45min walk through deep deep forests.
On this walk there is a cave where Satyanand Stokes lived as a Christian Sadhu aesthetic on his journey to be closer to the community he fell in love with.
In the clouds
The Nature here is absolutely stunning. This is another image from a walk on the route from Thanedhar to Kotgarh. It is not unusual to see Himalayan griffon vulture soaring above in the skies circling possible prey.
Deities of Himachal. This is the local Deity for the tribal region of Kotgarh. Every region of Himachal believes in a distinct deity.
All the faith of the local people is vested in this local god,
known as a Devta.
We were lucky enough to be able to attend an invitation to a Devta gathering by one of my relatives. Apparently a wish was granted by the Devta. Once that has been granted its customary for the family to invite the Devta back to give thanks and as well as consult through an oracle for advice on the future. The oracle goes into a trance and any questions the family has is answered by the Devta.
If you would like to know about the Gods of Himachal here is a link.
Local Nepali Gorkha Bhau (Boy). Such a cute styling Bhau with a sharp tongue on him.
Most of the children who grow up in these hills are free spirited and confident. Wild children just enjoying nature to its absolute fullest. Playing with cows, stealing fruit from local orchards. Not worried about getting dirty and definitely not shy.
Every child in the village has a similar childhood. Does not matter what background you are from. Nature is their playground!
All the knitwear worn has probably been knitted by his mother. All Pahari (of the mountains) women are avid knitters. In the winter months with no central heating and obviously being snowed in. The women spend the winter months knitting.
Most of the workers in the farms are Nepali descent. The Nepali people are known for being extremely hardworking. They know how to do hard labour-navigating steep inclines on challenging terrain. This photo was taken in 2008.
Everyone loves to dance the Naati (folk dance of the Pahari people).
On special occasions everyone loves to dance the Naati. It comes with its own distinguished music. It’s a slow and rhythmic music sung in the local dialects. The local Devta also dances the Naati.
The dance with its slow rhythm does immerse people to a point of a trance like feeling of just letting go. There is a spiritual significance to the Natti.
This picture was taken during a marriage ceremony.
Sheep Herder of the Mountain Goats. Mountain Goats in the mountains are called Khadu. The local people have also adopted that name as their own. You will often hear people referring to themselves as Khadu's. Just like the Mountain goats Khadu's are resilient like the terrain and nimble.
The sheep herders migrate from the valley below in Kinnaur to the greener pastures of the Kotgarh area.
Nepali Women Gorkhas with their kids sitting under a 150 year old chestnut tree. The Gorkha women wake up at 4 am to look after and milk the cows, they look after their children and families and also do hard labour in the fields cutting the grass and carrying stack of it on their backs up steep terrain to dry and feed the cows.
The winter months are frigid and these women endure being snowed in with no central heating just log fires. In the winter months they knit.
Wild cheeky children of the Himalayas.
Cheeky mates caught hanging out together. The children of the Himalayas learn how to be by their interactions with nature. They are confident, witty and filled with personality. One cannot help but want to do right by them and help to teach them skills that will see them through. Would be very fulfilling to not forget but help empower them.
The 3 Stooges enjoying their Beedi's (western rollies)
We have immense amount of respect for the Nepalese, they have been working in these farms since orcharding was introduced to Himachal.
What they are wearing is their local outfit. The Green Himachali Topi (Hat) is local to the Kinnaur area. Every region of Himachal has its own colours for the Topi. Forest green with Gold border belongs to Kinnaur.
Also pay attention to the way they are sitting. Local people from the Himalayas are used to sitting like this for hours.
The Gorkhas can navigate and work in these challenging conditions. We consider them super human. They come from the land of Everest and the ease at which they carry heavy loads of fruit on their backs navigating through narrow steep paths is a sight to behold. The Nepali women are no less. They tend to the cows and buffalo's. Cut the grass in the fields. Carry the heavy load on their backs in the steep inclines and also look after their children and homes.
Utmost respect to them! We cannot do what they do!