Dadu Aur Madak
was our first stop in the Kinnaur. The road in (below) is fairly
precipitous, as it first climbs and then descends slightly into a lush
valley. This is considered India's "Tribal" district, and different
areas have distinct modes of dress.
people of this region are identifiable by their distinctive felt hats.
These industrious women operate a diesel generator that runs a cable
basket that conveys goods and supplies to villages on the far side of
the gorge. They are genuinely friendly, and as soon as they saw the
camera they eagerly and unselfconsciously came over to pose.
moment Karen took off her helmet, they found it extremely amusing to
plop one of their hats on her.
in Sangla we met the first of several motorcycle tour groups we
encountered. There are a dozen or so companies in India and Nepal
operating these package tours. We've met one operated by a British
woman and another operated by a couple from Australia. This was an
Indian outfit, and there were thirty people on the tour. While I
suppose this is useful for individuals who don't want the hassle of
planning everything out each day, it's not exactly our cup of tea. For
one thing the riding really takes on a competitive tone, and each of
the groups we encountered had at least one seriously injured
participant or one badly damaged bike. The other thing is, that you'll
note that none of these people are carrying any luggage. That is
because they are followed by three support vehicles driven by
and carrying all manner of tools, spare parts, and extra petrol. Not
that we are much better with our luggage overkill, but these guys are
invariably wearing close to two thousand dollars worth of high-tech
riding apparel and gloves and boots to do what the average Indian
family of four does bare headed in saris and sandals on a 150 cc bike
on a daily basis. We have seen families as big as five, and routinely
see three adults on these tiny bikes.
on the last day of our stay in Sangla, in the last moments before
sunset, the Kinnaur Kailash, which had remained covered with clouds for
the whole time we were here, revealed itself for a few minutes. This
was the view from the roof of our hotel. It's breathtaking.