Ropa valley, Kinnaur : A blog by Ritu Saini

Rusklang village

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 KinnaurRopa riverA village in Ropa

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. ApplesHand woven shawl & hand-made jewellery

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.Kinnauri women Portrait of a Kinnauri woman wearing traditional green cap

On the banks of Ropa river is the tiny beautiful village of Rusklang. Houses, streets and almost everything made of wood and stone, apple orchards and a bunch of warm & friendly people 🙂Ropa riverRusklangRusklang villageRusklang villageRusklang villageRusklang village

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 🙂

At a house in RusklangWearing traditional Kinnauri dressWearing traditional Kinnauri dressWearing traditional Kinnauri dressTraditional Kinnauri jewellery

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.All smiles :-)Chatting about life and sharing momentsChatting about life and sharing moments and stories

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! 🙂

My first Kinnauri experience at Rusklang
My first Kinnauri experience at Rusklang