Ropa valley, Kinnaur : A blog by Ritu Saini
Kinnaur in northeast Himachal, surrounded by Tibet in the east, is the least explored and the second least populous district, after Lahaul & Spiti, in Himachal Pradesh, India. The old Hindustan-Tibet road, the ancient Silk Route, passes through Kinnaur along the banks of Sutlej River. Kinnaur Kailash is a peak (6500 meters) in Kinnaur, considered the abode of Lord Shiva, and sacred to Hindus & Buddhists. The Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek is one of the toughest in the Himachal Himalayas. More information on the official website of district Kinnaur
Most of Kinnaur is inaccessible mountainous area cut-off from the rest of the world. The valleys of Sutlej, Bispa, Spiti rivers and their tributaries are some of the most gorgeous one’s I’ve seen! Ropa valley near Puh/ Pooh is famous for shawl-weavers, apple orchards and the finest metal artisans.
Kinnaur is the most tribal part of Himachal, and the people, called Kinners, have lived in isolation since thousands of years and have a strong culture, heritage & religious beliefs. They mostly follow Hinduism or Buddhism and speak a dialect of the Tibeto-Burman family known as Kinnauri and wear distinct green caps.
Walking around in the village we met a family who invited us over for tea and generously served walnuts & almonds from their crop. They even brought out their traditional Kinnauri costume they wear during festivals, for us to see! Excited to see such exotic hand-made textiles and jewellery, we asked if one of them would dress up for us, and they obliged with much more! They dressed up one of us and we all had a good laugh 🙂
A Kinnauri traditional dress is a handwoven woolen shawl with a bright colored border, wrapped around the body with pleats at the back. A hand stitched green jacket worn over it with the green cap, and finished with traditional hand-made intricate gold and silver jewellery.
Rusklang was my first experience of a village in Kinnaur. And the untouched natural scenic beauty & the heartwarming experience with the people made it a memorable one! 🙂