14 min read

Life in Shimla is back

Driving to each village of Rohru

1 An old man walks towards the setting sun in Khashdhar village of Chwarah valley of Rohru, Himachal Pradesh, India

First of all, I apologise for not being able to post anything for quite some time. For the past many years I was working on my book on Spiti, which is now published and you can order it online or get a copy from Manali or Spiti.

An old gentleman trying to read a text written in Tankri script

An old gentleman trying to read a text written in Tankri script

So, I am currently living 100kms away from Shimla in a place famous for its apple orchards. The place where I was born and hardly know about, Rohru. Life in Shimla was conceptualised when I was working on Life in Spiti.

Khashdhar village of Chwarah valley of Rohru, Himachal Pradesh, India

Shimla being quite modern, it is quite difficult to find the rich heritage. There are few books but they all not enough. I have been travelling to the remote villages and talking to people and finding the ones who remember old folklores, traditions and the way of life. To document them visually. Through pictures, videos and audio. Change is inevitable and there is nothing right or wrong with adapting to the modern way of life but my aim is to document the super-rich heritage we had. It is our identity, our character which should not be lost. I have nothing to share when I travel and meet new people who ask me about my land. The beautiful wooden architecture. Stories of gods and demons. Old folk songs that were full of stories. I hardly know anything about it, just like almost all the people of my generation. So, my aim is to learn, understand and document whatever I could find.

Slate roofed house and apple trees in Pekha village of Chwara valley of Rohru.

I travelled to few villages which I won’t name, they are scared of sharing stories and there are places that don’t allow photographing their festivals.  I respect that and those places wouldn’t be included obviously, but I met so many people who could understand the need of preserving our culture. They shared stories, folk tales and many other interesting facts that were unheard of. There were many village Pradhans who would go out of the way to help me tell their story.

I don’t know if my plan is far-fetched, but I’ll try my best to do my bit in presenting it.
Do write to me at lifeinshimla@khagta.com if you have any insights or a story. I’ll be happy to share it on the website.

There will also be a book.

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