Dadu Aur Madak

Shimla & Thanedar
Shimla is one of the gateway cities for trips to the Himalayas. It is the most popular especially with those who fly in to Delhi. It is the starting place for package tours that do a loop that includes the Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Spiti valleys usually ending in Manali. All three of these valleys are popular destinations with both trekkers and yatris (pilgrims). Shimla is also just a short distance from Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama. It's also one of the last options for obtianing the Inner-line Permit that is required for travel between Rekong Peo and Kaza--the portion of the loop that passes near the Tibetan border. The heart of Shimla's tourist area runs along a ridge-top that is a pedestrian mall. The mall was about a two kilometer walk from our hotel. It is at an altitude that is good for acclimating to the mountains, but at this time of year--the end of the monsoons--it is most of the time shrouded in clouds. We didn't get to see much, in fact when we left there we ran through patches of fog where you couldn't see for thirty feet

Monkeys pretty much have the run of the town. These are the monkey pictures I promised Evan and Emma weeks ago. Sorry it took so long guys. Maybe daddy can open this monkey movie for you. There will be an elephant movie soon!

We took a less traveled route to get to the Kinnaur valley by way of Thanedar. It was an excellent, albeit extremely narrow road. There are any number of ways that this can spell delays.

The area around Thanedar owes much of its prosperity to an American named Stokes who settled there in the early 1900s. He initially lived in a cave as a hermit. Later he planted apples that he had brought from America, and enjoyed overwhelming success. He eagerly shared that success with his neighbors, giving them saplings to begin there own orchards. Today the valley's bounty is linked to the heavily laden trees that are everywhere. It has spread to other valleys all over the Kinnaur, and tributes to Stokes are all over Thanedar. Below are a couple of curious pickers that we encountered on a walk.

The valley is also home to the oldest Christian Church in India, dating to 1872.