Environment & Women
By Deepshikha Sharma
Women for centuries have shared an innate connection with the environment. Nature is embedded in the work women engage with and thus, for generations, they have worked hard to conserve it for themselves and the future generations. Forests and rivers preserved for thousands of years are now threatened across the planet.
The Predicament of a Herder
By Tanzin Thinley
The next day when he went back and opened the door of the corral, the animals rushed out in panic. Usually, he would have had to take a lot of effort into getting the animals out of the corral. He knew something was wrong. It was strange behavior. Standing by the door he carefully scanned the inside of the corral and to his surprise, he saw a set of shining eyes staring back at him in the dark.
Trekking The Forests of Himachal
By Tinkle Bhatt
A few months back while I was patrolling the forest near Yangla village alone, as I mostly do, I came to learn that a black bear was also roaming the same areas that I had covered. The thought of encountering a bear is a scary one, and I was glad that I didn't cross paths with the animal
Living With The Wild
By Deepshikha Sharma
The 19th day of November 2018 was like any other day for Vikram of Pangi, Chamba district. He was walking his cattle in the nearby village pasture by the banks of the Chenab river. Little did he know that his life was about to change.
Art From Our Valleys
By Sherab Lobzang
Ulley Tokpo is a village in the western part of Ladakh. Walking along the banks of the Indus River, I stumbled upon this curious rock art. The image shows a hunter pointing a bow at an animal with long curved horns, while a guard dog watches on. Did our forefathers hunt for food? Maybe they did not rear animals like sheep and goat then.
Traversing Climate Change
By Virendra Mathur
In the mystical lands of Bharmour and Lahaul, located in the north-western part of Himachal Pradesh, India, a seasonal event takes place every year that is an elegant harmony between local culture and nature. Here in the traditional seat of Gaddi shepherds, the community is described variably as semi-nomadic, transhumant pastoralists, or agro-pastoralists.
Lingering Memories of My Grandmother
By Chemi Lhamo
When I was young, I remember my Evi (grandmother) used to take me to yul-sa (Buddhist shrine for village deity) every day in the morning to offer prayers. She would ask me to light butter lamps while she circumambulates around the altar before joining me in prayers.
The Water Managers in Kibber
By Ranjini Murali
In the distance, the early morning sunlight chased the shadows on the mountain peaks. I gazed longingly at the golden patches, wondering how long before I could feel the warmth of the rays. Lobzang saw me and laughed, “Are you cold? Come help, it will warm you up!”
Ecological Importance of Dry Toilets
By Sonam Yangzom
In Spiti, there is no concept of ‘waste.’ The symbiotic relationship between the toilet design systems in Spiti and the fragile ecosystem facilitates growth of healthy crops and reduces the brunt of water crisis in the region. The use of dry toilets is therefore an eco-sensitive wisdom born out of the geographical realities of this cold desert and is especially useful in the winters when water freezes.
Changes in Agriculture: A story from Himachal’s Lahaul Valley
By Chhering Gaaji
I remember, when I was young, we used Yak and bulls to plough our fields. Traditional methods of ploughing like this required at-least two men and yaks to complete the task but we have gradually shifted to machinery to get the work done single handedly.
By Amshu CR
At 14,200 ft above sea-level, surrounded by the trans Himalayan range, I was looking forward to seeing the yak, for which I had travelled from Mysore to Kibber village in Spiti during the summer of 2016. The walkfrom the village to the pasture was an arduous one, but I had two girls from the village Lobzang & Tenzin who were accompanying me on my quest.
Agricultural Practices in Spiti Valley
By Lobzang Tandup
The relationship between people, wildlife and nature go beyond utilitarian aspects. It is heavily influenced by cultural values and local practices around it. For instance, many Spitian households have unique names for their agricultural land which is a helpful marker of identification of one’s land and also carries meaningful symbolism.
Traditional Farming in Spiti -
A Photo story
By Himanshu Khagta
The concept of organic farming, which has become well known in the last decade, is not new to Spiti. Crops like black pea and barley still remain free from any chemicals. So the next time you have Sampa (local Spitian barley flour), you can be certain of its purity!
My farming memories
By Vikram Katoch
In Lahaul, the sowing season starts from mid-March. Villagers would first clear the snow from the fields and then start sowing various seeds. Farming is the sole livelihood of many villagers and before ploughing, people pray to their fields, the tools and the baang (oxen) in hope of a good harvest.
A day in the life of a young farmer
There’s an air of celebration when the agricultural season begins in my village. It is time to end the dormancy of long winter days and come out and start preparing the fields .My family would then begin the hard work in the fields which would last a few days. The fields which were harder to plough, were then ploughed with the help of Shaalu - my favourite mare.
Mushroom Cultivation in Spiti
By Kalzang Ladey
Given Spiti’s mono cultural practices, I realised that mushroom cultivation in Spiti will provide a viable option for the locals. Growing mushrooms is fairly easy and anyone can replicate the process once they are a bit familiar with it. Mushrooms are one the cheapest crops to cultivate if done with proper care -thus, with limited space and time, one can obtain a good yield.
Reflections on farming life
Prithvi Singh in conversation with Panma Gyatso
I was born in Hango which is a remote village in the Hangrang valley of Kinnaur. I am 72 years old and have spent my life in this village as an agro-pastoral farmer. When I look back, I now realise that some of my most treasured memories of my village are related to agriculture and food. One of my favourite and most vivid childhood memories is from the time chulli (apricot) season arrived.
Reviving Organic Apple cultivation in Shalkar (Kinnaur)
Story narrated by apple cultivators of Shalkar, Kinnaur
Kinnaur valley in Himachal Pradesh is well known for their apple cultivation. These high hills provide ideal climatic conditions for apple crops with the requisite chilling season in the winter. Apples grown in organic farms in Shalkar have a distinctive sweet, crunchy taste with a natural waxy exterior
Beyond Agriculture- insights into farm based entrepreneurship in Lahaul (H.P)
Tashi Angroop in conversation with Chemi Lhamo
One of the major changes in the mountain farming system is from subsistence to commercial farming practice. There’s a curious move towards high-value cash crops and diversification of cropping patterns. With connectivity and better exposure, farmers in these landscapes are increasingly becoming more innovative.
A Quiet Desperation
Nestled at the foothills of gigantic mountains, my village Gue is located south – east of Spiti near the Indo-China border. Away from the hustle-bustle of urban plains, we have always lived a quiet life. Our lives revolve around what we primarily derive from nature. Our days are spent tending to our barley farm and grazing livestock in the high pastures of my village.
Who owns the water?
In Spiti we define wealth and prosperity in terms of water -“Chu Sang-na, Yul Sang” the expression aptly translates as “abundant water results in prosperous villages”. Being a cold desert in high Himalaya, It is difficult to think of a resource more essential to the well being of people and their economies than water, yet managing water resources is a complex and challenging task...
Women and Water: A Photo Story
Last year, we did a photography workshop with women’s group in Shushuna village, Spiti Valley, who are primary caretakers and farmers in their households. After the session, we left them a camera and asked them to document their village life in addition to nurturing their photography skills. We returned a year later and they enthralled us with amazing pictures and great stories!
The Many Tales Around Water
Spiti’s oral literature has extensive reference to water. Many ancient verses, odes, hymns, folk songs, old lore allude to water with sheer reverence, refer it as a treasure and embody ancestral affiliation within physical, ecological, social-cultural and spiritual contexts. Each narrative is deeply embedded in local space – intimately bound up with natal soil, water bodies and their complex manifestation...
In conversation with women of Chicham
This article is a converstation led by Tanzin Dawa with Ane Dikit Lamo & Padma Norzom
Verses of prayers reverberate throughout the valley as men sing and climb mountains to ensure their village has water in the summer. People from Khadra, Akpa and Rarang village trek for 27 km to reach Pangi top and clear the path of the artificial stream - Kashang nahar to let the water flow freely towards their villages.