While the HImalayas are known for their high elevations, there's a lot more to the region than thin air.One of the main features of HImachal Pradesh is Pin Valley National Park, which extends from the barren Spiti Valley toward the north to the verdant Pin Valley toward the south. The contrast is stark.
The higher elevation northern deserts are harsh environments; it almost never rains there, though it snows quite a bit in winter, leading to the name; which translates as "The Lap of Snow."
The Tibetan influence in HImachal is very evident, with Tibetan monstaries in every village, with their locations based on trade routes through the rugged mountains. While in the Pin Valley region there are full fledged cities, the Spiti region is dotted with mostly small villages, many of them between 12,000 and 16,000 feet.
Our goal on this trip was to get to know the culture and way of life of the Himachal region, and also to learn about how the people who stay there, especially in the Spiti region. While some poeple head to the verdant side of the mountains for the winter, the farmers secure their livestock and stay to take care of them throughout the winter in their homes made of mud.
We met and talked with several people who live year round in Kaza, Koumic, Hikkim, and Langza. With the exception of Kaza at 12,000 feet, these villages are among the highest elevation vilages in the world, at around 15,000 feet. Koumic has he disinction of being the higest elevation village in the world that has a drivable road.
We are organizing and logging our footage from this trip, transcoding the very intensive raw footage into more managable codecs. Once we get our interviews translated and captioned, editing will begin in earnest.
These are some of the early frame grabs from our footage to preview while we work on the documentary.