Sunday, November 15, 2009

travel and the Bhagirathi Valley: Bagori and Harshil

Harshil is an easy 3km walk from Dharali, along the contours, and so absolutely flat. Harshil is a famous tourist village filled with little concrete hotels with names like Skylark, Swiss Chalet, and the unfortunately named one below:

Thankfully, they added the illustration to clarify what they meant. Harshil is famous for it's apples though and is a pretty and clean village for a day's visit. It is an army base camp as well so be prepared for restrictions on photography of the helpfully labelled arms and ammunition godown.

Less than half a kilometer from Harshil, along a concrete path and over 4 bridges that cross mountain streams is the picturesque village of Bagori. This was originally formed as a Tibetan settlement 50 years ago. Today, it is populated by both Tibetans and Pahadis

However, the Tibetan influence is strong and evident in it's people, architecture, and of course in the many prayer flags strung across the streams.

Bagori is predominantly a herder's community, with people owning anything from 400 to 50 sheep that they graze in the bugyals in the summer and in the forests of Uttrakashi in the winter. Also, most people here move down to Dunda and Uttarkashi in the winter, by the beginning of November. When my colleagues and I visited, the place was locked up for the winter, except for a few families who were just finishing packing up.

But it was lovely to walk in that empty village and exclaim at the lovely carvings everywhere. Most houses are traditional, with slate roofs and wooden frames. The colours are luxuriously rich, with multiple warm shades of grey stone and deodar. In the middle of that, like a bright sapphire on velvet, I saw a blue whistling thrush. I wish I had a picture to share..but well.

This is one of the houses I loved..with its incredible carvings and warm, warm wood.

and another..Can you tell I loved the houses?

Here, there is a little monastery with  a solitary caretaker. These windmills are made by him from bits of wood and metal, just for the pleasure of making the wind visible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the 'helpful' label


your pictures make me
feel 'homesick' for a house that i've never seen.