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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Rakcham .Why we preferred it to Sangla (Kinnaur)



We reached Rakcham in a drizzly chill evening.Our hotel was not pre booked ,so we just happened to enquire at the only stay option in sight ,The Hotel Rupin River View. With the appealing scene around us accommodation was no longer a priority.The place fulfilling all our basic requirements of stay and food, and with a magnificent view of the stream flowing adjacently from the balcony,we decided to look no further.





The ranges which accompanied us for quite some time ,now seemed to be at hands reach and the small rivulets  which flowed down the folds, froze on their way to the stream .We could distinctly hear the gurgling sound of the water flowing through the apple orchards next to our balcony.


Sunset from the hotel balcony


 With a very palatable  dinner,we decided to call it a day,quite sure that the next day promised to unfold a lot more.
Three layers of quilt did not seem to be enough to keep us warm with the children refusing to take off their socks to bed. The temperature had actually dropped below freezing point in the night.We could make out that the evening drizzle had precipitated to light snowfall in the night, when we saw that the trees which were green the previous evening covered in a layer of snow in  the morning rays. We could not have asked for more.


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   Words defied me ,as we walked on the dusty cobbled roads of this Himalayan village.The landscape wore a brownish hue this time.It was a scene dominated with stones of different shapes and sizes and logs of wood.I had never seen a bigger collection of stones before,which demarcated one field from the other.With every splash of rain the landscape was slowly sprouting back to life. I guess ,people​ visiting the place after us would have seen Rakcham  in a different colour.With the melting of the snow ,life was slowly staggering back to normal in this lesser known village of Himachal Pradesh.
 






  We refused to have breakfast at the lodge,and decided to take a stroll around the village.Having breakfast out in the open ,at one of the shacks, under the warmth of the morning sun is what we had in mind..We were living on alu parathas for breakfast since the beginning of the journey,but had still not grown tired of them .Needless to say the lady running the shack prepared the tastiest of parathas ,with her very deft hands. Breakfast followed with a conversation on the day to day life of the people in the  valley.I was surprised to find myself ,a regular tourist ,out on my annual quota of fresh air ,to be so interested in the lives of the people in this distant land.Was it the call of the mountains or merely a curiosity delible with time,I wondered.......
 

  People in the Kinnaur valley have their own Kinnauri language ,but everybody seemed to be very proficient in Hindi.There was a good many things I learnt about their lifestyle, from the couple.(the lady and her husband). Surprisingly they never complained about their hardships,though her talk was frequently punctuated with phrases like "apke shahar me to bahut achha hota hoga ,ji".   "It must me better in your city," referring to any comparisons between the city and the  mountains. I smiled silently as we headed to explore the rest of the village, wondering how truly it is said that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
 



What followed was  a leisurely walk in a village amongst the mountains. The beauty of the mountains and surprises in a far off land ,took turns to charm and entice us in  ways so unknown.

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  Scenes reminding us that life can still remain so simple in many parts of the world,where ones daily chores revolve around the very basic needs.
Men folk primarily look after the cattle while the women do the rest of the household chores.









Time to go home after a hard days work......
 





The ranges from the bridge






Wood left in the open for building houses and to be used as firewood.







  While the people and their capacity to deal with the hardships intrigued us endlessly,we stumbled on another utility which supports  their sustenance .We caught sight of  the kathar (as called in the local language) , which are wooden godowns for storing food grains for the year, reminding us that the place is remote and provisions are scarce ,and the roads we had travelled to reach this place could get blocked by landslides with any casual downpour. Also ,for a place that remains covered in snow for nearly 5 months a year,people had to store enough  food to last them for at least few months.


Kathar





 


   Strolling in between the wooden houses, we visited Buddhist and Hindu temples which complemented each other perfectly.They were built in the same premises.We had seen a similar amalgamation of the two religions in our visit to Sangla Kamru Fort.  The proximity to Tibet had brought in some changes in the cultural and religious practices of this region . Hinduisim had adorned itself with several Buddhist practices .So the people now follow a religion common to both.......


....... All said and done can we deny the fact that the only religion of people here  is that of cohesion and teamwork,without which it would be difficult to keep things going.


























   Rakcham is a small hamlet at an altitude of 2900m,comprising of a population of only 800 people. This picturesque village on the banks of the Baspa river can be reached on the way to Chitkul.The village is a very clean place but with very few stay options.In many ways it is self contained inspite of being in a very secluded place due to physical barriers. This has won Rakcham the status of "Modern Village"by the Himachal Pradesh Government.The place does not have any ATMs or Petrol stations,so it is best to do the necessary from Sangla. The place we stayed in can be booked online. According to me the rooms here provide the best views of the valley and the stream. Food here was excellent ,something beyond our expectations in such a remote place.I would suggest spending a night here instead of Sangla would be better,as we can also visit Chitkul (only 8 Km from here) on our way back to Sangla. As already told the place gets very chill at night,so carry at least two layers of woollens.

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