Dadu Aur Madak

Sangla 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.

The 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.

The moment Karen took off her helmet, they found it extremely amusing to plop one of their hats on her.

The Sangla Valley.

While 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 mechanics, 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.

Finally, 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.