Kinnaur has been in eye opener for us in every way. The land itself and the challenges it presents... The people and their zeal to survive just about anything... The power of the Gods that gives this land a distinct sense of divinity... And of course the culture...
We Junoonis always have this idea of exploration - going to places where people don't usually go. And so, when life gave us the chance to visit Chitkul - The Last Village of India, we ended up putting it on the backburner for a bit. Somehow Sangla gave us much more than what anybody told us, more than what we could have imagined! And so, what was initially planned as a touch-and-go thing as part of a longer drive to Chitkul became a full-three-day cultural extravaganza!
But more on Sangla later... This blog is about this amazingly interesting trend we began noticing here as we walked the pathways and pugdandis of the place - The fascination of Kinnauris with Gateways. Every home, every temple, every government building, even the smallest farm has rustic and charming gate, beautifully decorated and embellished with the most intricate wood carving work we had ever seen! Here is my photo blog dedicated to the Gates of Kinnaur - these enigmatic doorways to heaven-
Amazingly carved - Gate at a Monastery in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Rustic entryways to Apple Orchards in Palika Kamru
The unassuming gate to a Farmer's Home in Sangla, Kinnaur
Massive and Daunting - Iron Lock to keep the world out!
Vishnu Temple Gate decorated with Dragon Motifs - awesome wood carving!
Colorful Village Entryway - Sangla, Kinnaur
Colorful Village Entryway - Rarang, Kinnaur
Mix of Hindu-Tibetan art and culture - entry way at Beri Naag Temple, Sangla
This road trip to Kinnaur has been inspiring, to say the least. It's fascinating to see how well the cultures, traditions and artistic styles of Tibet and India have mixed together. They say there was a time when locals could freely cross borders and roam the mountains on both sides via Shipki La. Some even say people from Kinnaur had lands in Tibet and vice versa. Of course, such feats aren't allowed anymore by the government. But then, when you see a Hindu Devta Temple guarded by wooden dragons on the gate, you realize that no international border can keep these cultures and people apart.
More in our Kinnaur road trip in future blogs... Stay tuned guys!