The People of Kinnaur
Just a few hundred kilometers northeast of Delhi , we’ve gone through a massive transformation. We’ve entered Sangla Valley and everything looks different: the architecture, the landscape, and the people. It’s difficult to believe, we are still in the same country.
The Kinnauris, recognizable by their green felt hats, are some of the nicest people we’ve ever encountered – anywhere. While exploring one traditional mountain village outside of Sangla, we stumbled upon a gathering of Kinnauri women in the market place. Excited to see visitors, many women rushed up to us and offered us hand-fulls of roasted barley and fried Tibetan flat bread slathered in sweet stickiness. One ancient woman pulled stale cookies from her pockets and forced them into our hands as gifts. These people are amazing!
In the small, stone central square, a group of wacky village women excitedly invited us to sit with them and urged us to take their photos, which they scrutinized on our digital display afterwards. The granny with the thick coke-bottle glasses switched hats with me, which had everyone cracking up hysterically. It’s so nice to see women laughing and joking and relating to us. This is a rarity in other parts of the country.
On the way back, totally enthused, we were spontaneously invited in for chai by a welcoming family. Wonderfully flavored, a bit like liquid gingerbread, it was the best chai we’ve had in India. Then again, it may have been the fine company. What a fantastic experience.
If this is what Northern India is going to be like, I’m ready for it.