Hidden Adventure in the Himalayas

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Our guide Deepjyoti is based out of Calcutta, India, but his specialty is trekking trips out of the city and into the magical, mountainous kingdom of the Himalayas lying to the north of the city. As Deep says in his guide profile: “What’s the use of a guide, if you don't see more than what a regular tourist does?” Today he joins us to share the secret of a special place he likes to take visitors, a place you won’t find in any guidebook.

Hidden Adventure in the Himalayas

India is a land of incredible diversity, and while places such as the Taj Mahal are famous to travelers and tourists throughout the world, it is actually in the distant nooks and corners of this great country where its true fascinating stories live. Today I bring to you a story of such a place, which is guarded in secret and hidden in the high Himalayas, but not so far from the country’s capital. In the state of Himachal Pradesh of North India, villages and hamlets are tucked inside gorgeous valleys, for most of this state finds its existence in the lap of the great Himalayas. And one such hidden hamlet is known as “Grahan,“ home to the native “Pahadi” community.

“Pahadi“ in the local terms means “born of the mountains“, which is justified by their place of being and existence of their village. But the foundation of this community, in this particular village is quite a history. Legend has it, when Alexander The Great of Macedonia invaded India in 300 BCE, some of his men fell in love with this country. While Alexander moved away, some of his men decided to stay back and start families. These Pahadi men and women of are considered their direct descendants. Though history is all about assumptions and controversy, the biological structures of these natives here attest to that legend. Many of them have blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, and simply look different in a country where black hair and brown skin is the majority.

Their rituals and customs are quite interesting too. Their temples are all made of wood and stand as the biggest building in the village, reflecting that God is the most powerful being among them. The coniferous forest and vegetation in this mountain is their source of natural abundant materials. The carvings on the temple are intricate and define ancient languages and stories from their myth and folklore. Their true native language is dialect based, and is rarely written. Most people here are highly spiritual and very avid followers of their rich traditions.

They fear “Devta“, their almighty God, and their “Pujaris” (Shamans or priests) are held in high regard in the local village council and make laws for everybody. Some of the laws here are unusual, for example, no outsiders are allowed to touch their God or go inside their local homes. They consider themselves of purest Aryan blood and that is their way of being.

Though outsiders are not allowed inside their temples or houses, they are one of the most hospitable people to be found with warm greetings and smiling faces always. All of them have separate guesthouses to accommodate visitors, and home-cooked meals are served fresh and tasty while you are being their guest. Their houses are all made of wood and mud, from their traditional architecture and have stood there for centuries. Their prime occupation is agriculture and their crops are organic and farm-based, served to us in sumptuous meals.

Grahan village yet doesn’t exist in maps and there is no road access, hence to reach here a 6-hour hike has to be done from the nearest road, adding to the adventure and thrill. The landscape is breathtaking all around the trail and village since dense forest covers the mountain slopes, that rise up to high snow clad peaks in the background. The sunrises and sunsets here will surely remind you of the simple pleasures of life, and every moment is a story to witness and experience in “Grahan“, the hamlet hidden in the Himalayas.

Want to explore the hidden valleys of Himachal Pradesh with an insightful and inspiring local guide? Get in touch with Deepjyoti and start planning the trip of a lifetime.
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