Monday, July 23, 2007


I'm close to the top of the Kinnaur Valley and I've loved every bit of it as I've climbed up.

After leaving Shimla I headed to Sarahan, a little village on the side of a mountain. I met several other tourists there and much to my dismay I found out that everyone had the same itinerary planned as I did (albeit quicker with Kashmir etc. tacked on the end). I compensated by taking a day walk out to remote villages where I helped an old lady herd cows, carried a drunken grandad up his steps and sat for an hour talking to an old apple grower about the shock of his first trip to Delhi as a 19 year old.

Wanting to be a little different, I changed my planned route and headed off to a little village in a remote valley and stayed in the family home of someone I met on the bus. I learnt about edible forest fruits, trekked up to an alpine meadow,

evaluated 'Hips Don't Lie' impressions on a glacier (Vengaboys are out and Shakira is in!),

gained a following of loyal dogs,

drank the local apricot brew, learnt to play carrom and chased cows out of apple orchards.

I'm now in Kalpa, a village on a hillside directly opposite towering snow-capped peaks which are over 6,000m.

I've met some much more interesting and positive tourists here and now have a little Italian/Spanish/German possee to travel up into the dry Spiti Valley with. I thought that I wanted to get away from tourists but spending time with people who really appreciate this place is a lot of fun. Jason, I have discovered your German double, he's photograpy, football and Formula One crazy!

And there is so much to appreciate. It's stunningly beautiful, there is fruit growing everywhere and I've met so many lovely people. Tailors who adamantly refuse to take money for fixing my clothes(!), villagers who go to the trouble of preparing rice for me instead of bread, locals who go out of their way to show me how to get somewhere - I've been really amazed.

The area is also fascinating because of the amount of change going on. There are a lot of hydroelectric projects and all the labour (hydroelectric, farming, construction) is done by migrants from Nepal and poorer parts of northern India.

My favourite uni essay was on internal migration in India and I've spend hours listening to people's fasinating life stories.

I head off into the 'Inner Line' are tomorrow, near the Tibetan border (they refrain from calling it the Chinese border here, very fascinating!). From there I'm going to explore the high altitude desert valley and then come back through the Kinnaur Valley, stopping again at places I've liked most.

I should be online again in about a week :)


Cal said...

Oh my goodness, that sounds wonderful. I am sooooo jealous. And I really, really want to travel India with you now. Can't believe our dates aren't going to match this time.

Knuffy's Owner said...

I was going to say exactly the same thing! That sounds more exciting than any place I've travelled to. One day I'm really going to tag along with you on one of your India trips...

j a s o n said...

When are you going back to India Joe? Anytime soon :D ?

Will you be my tour guide?!

Sounds amazing mate, another world away from us in downtown Toronto...

Joe said...

hehe... I think I'll be back again this time next year - there's too much more to see!

Iqbal Khaldun said...

Wow, what an amazing adventure brother!

Anonymous said...

Kinnaur is a breath takingly scenic and sparsely populated region. Spiti and Satluj rivers flow through Kinnaur to

meet at Khab and become one the Satluj. Scores of flowing streams feed these rivers and all their valleys are

strikingly beautiful the slopes are covered with thick woods, orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets.Here are two

of the world's great mountain ranges the Zanskar and the Great Himalaya.Sumdo is the last Kinner village on this

road i.e.NH-22 whereafter the SH-30 starts leading into Spiti Valley. The total length of road from Shimla is 355

Kms whereas Shimla is another 385 Kms from Delhi.
Please Visit For More Detail