Kinnaur

Kinnaur District – Rampur – Sangla – Chitkul – Kalpa

• When I look at the map I wonder what’s the scenery between two dots, our departure place and destination. Usually, along the roads there are endless strings of human habitation. Remnants of civilization are everywhere, and of course the occasional obstacle, cows. And why should I wonder, this is India after all, with 1.4 billion people.

• In a few days we will arrive at a higher elevation, 3000m and above, where I expect to see nothing but sky and earth between two dots. 

• Kinnaur is in the Western Himalaya and lies in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. The green scenery is breathtaking. The road is hair raising and there are apple orchards all around. Local Kinnauris wear green felt Basheri hats, named after their local king. Because of the close proximity to Tibet, some influence can be seen in dress, architecture and language. It is common to find images of the Buddha and other Buddhist Deities side by side with those of Hindu Gods....Continue reading

• A quick stop to pray for a good journey and offer a donation to the goddess Kali. She is black skinned and known for her powers to destroy ego and sin.

• A little landslide that forces all traffic to halt, but not our car.

• The many dogs that lay around seem to be relaxed and timid during day time. Yet at night they bark to no end. I asked my driver if he hears the barking, he said no. I on the other hand wake up a few times every night to their sound. It reminds me of long night walks years ago when I was a soldier in the Israeli Army. What is it that makes the dogs bark; it might be fear, guarding instincts, or just a call of longing.

• In India more is more with regards to color. It comes across in many ways: the colorful women’s saris, the decorative trucks, the bright exterior house colors and of course the temples. The color brightens up everything, including my mood.

• From Chitkul Village to Tibet is 40 km, but of course no civilians are allowed there. Two elderly gentlemen told us that the road first reached the village in 1966 and electricity in 1979. The first white person they saw was an American hunter who came to the village with one porter when they were in the 5th grade (1959). They clearly remember it with great excitement.

• Indian people will ask me sometimes, ‘what is your good name?’
I wonder about the origin of this expression; regardless, I think it is a most gracious way to ask someone not only for their name, but their good one.

• The mountain covered by mist behind Kalpa is regarded as one of the mythical homes of Lord Shiva, it’s called Kinnaur Kailash