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August 27, 2017

Barren Life up the Himalayas

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They were shocked and rather pitiful, a bunch of tourists who traveled up the hills for adventure and were digging up the extremely cold village on a freezing mountain. They found the little ability to gather food or growing anything to eat, still, the natives survived in happiness, content with a little variety of food they had. Adapting well to climate, with years of coexistence the natives lived like kings. The experience of trek one the highest mountain ranges is an experience for life. And if it has to be an authentic cultural experience it has to be the Himalayas, dominantly the Upper Himalayas. The Himalayas rise from hot tropical zone to the chilly mountain zone same as the arctic. The upper Himalayas begins from Pakistan and stretching up most in India, then Nepal and Bhutan to China towards the east. The youngest as known, and the most wonderful as you see. A travel to these magnificent places is an event for life rather just a spectator affair.

The Landscape            

The Manali to Leh stretch is one the most stunning yet complicated and challenging routes of all. Altitudes’ ranging from some 10000 feet above sea level, the experience is rare and wonderful. The beauty of the places that fall in this route is soothing yet thrilling. When you reach Leh you find no vegetation just sheer beauty and that is all that makes you feel you will never want to go back. And once you are in Ladakh this feeling gets stronger.

The patches up in Bhutan and Nepal have the same experience. The Hills of Annapurna in Nepal is a place unexplainable, you have very few people the barren snow covered land yet so beautiful with rays of the sun making it magnificent. The other most exclusive destination in the Himalayas is Bhutan barren yet magnificent. All these areas are arid, desolate land with thick snow cover and strong winter winds and storms. Even spring season does not bring much to the arid land rather it has melting snowdrifts. The Trans-Himalayas have no vegetation but rich in the sheep and goat community. In the rare, some places alder, dwarf birch, and heath shrubs would be found. The beautiful Himalayan landscape so barren support few animals and eventually very few humans. The only people who visit these places often are the human travelers and some mountaineers who love glacial ice.

 The Natives and their Survival

It is too hard to survive out up in the Himalayas with everything soaked in snow, even in summers. The high altitudes have intense sunlight and more snow. The people living in these areas grow potatoes only, making this mainly their staple food. The people around the Nepal area also grow corn that is basically a cash crop for them and hence depend on potatoes and corn even for their livelihood.

They even bank upon Yak, which provides meat even milk and dairy products. They  use yak hides to make tents or the herdsmen and burn yak dung for cooking. They are known for their physical strength and can work better at high altitudes even in thin air. They have adapted to the Himalayan habitat. There are not many cars or vehicles hence the people living here prefer walking around even it hardest of snow and if not Yak is the all-terrain vehicle for hauling goods. Some tribes that predominate in the upper Himalayas are Sherpas in Nepal to Kashmiris and Ladakhi in India.

Nature has always flooded humans with beauty and with that ferocity, yet these barren lands have hard inhabitants and some the tough tourists. The Himalayan journey is fabulous the mountains, deserts, sky, rivers, clouds, the beauty, the people, tough living, the terrain gives you an experience of alternating pain and pleasure. Upper Himalayas is the place with immense peace, tranquility, and enlightenment, you don’t find the Himalayas you find yourself.

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