Himkatha is a bi-annual newsletter that yearns to celebrate the human-nature relationships of the agro-pastoral communities that inhabit the high-elevation landscape of Himachal Pradesh.
Civilization in this landscape dates back several millennia. Remoteness and tough weather conditions made it difficult to get to these places. In the process, they formed their own unique identity. Underling this was a sacred bond that people shared for the place which manifests in their folklore, traditions, beliefs, and their way of life. With improvements in accessibility, these regions became a subject of curiosity among explorers, academics: history, anthropology, geology, ecology, and many more.
More recently, with a rise in tourism, travelers have reached these places and brought back stories depicting life from remote valleys that are broadcast regularly on popular media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Despite all of this, seldom have we heard from the people of these regions.
Through HimKatha, we hope to explore and celebrate these local cultures, traditions, and practices that have stood the test of time. We encourage local communities to share their stories, experiences, and knowledge through the newsletter. While doing so, we hope not to shy away from discussing nature conservation topics that concern the region.
We hope that you will make time to read Himkatha and join the dialogue.
About Nature Conservation Foundation
Nature Conservation Foundation works in India’s high altitude region, striving to help conserve the snow leopard – as well as the diversity of life & landscapes that this beautiful cat symbolizes – in a scientifically robust and socially responsible manner. We combine research, community involvement, conservation education, and policy-level dimensions.
About the Team
Chemi is a Literature graduate with a penchant for reading and creative writing. She has worked in the Indian development and conservation sector as a communication professional for about five years. She is currently part of NCF’s high-altitude program building outreach networks among high Himalayan villages in H.P. She is passionate about storytelling, documenting human-nature stories, and bringing out lesser-known community stories from the high Himalayas.
For the past eleven years, Ajay has been working with local communities and government agencies to plan and implement conservation action in the high-elevation landscapes of India. He also supports research activities in these regions.
She has a master’s degree in Development from Azim Premji University and is currently working as a conservation coordinator at Nature Conservation Foundation. She facilitates community-led conservation in upper Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh and in parts of Ladakh. She has been involved in trying to improve community involvement in conservation by involving local youth.