I am not sure whether it'd have been better to write the full form of USA in title, but here I want to share a PHOTO JOURNEY through some of the villages in Upper Shimla Area. USA word is very famous in Himchal Pradesh University :) ... Let's continue this journey with some information about these regions of Himalayas !!!
This is a typical structure of a house in Himachali villages. few rooms on ground floor, a big varandah on first floor with some rooms adjacent to kitchen. Most of the times Kitchen is on first floor with a room for dining and general chit-chat. Most of the bed rooms are usually on the ground floor. With time, this architecture is changing and everyone wants to have modern houses with completely different styles.
Kidney-beans plant in Upper Shimla Region. This is one of the main crop in some part of Shimla and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh.
There are many villages which are really dense and have lot of population. On the other hand some of the villages have seen a dip in population, as new generation has started moving out in big cities like Shimla, Chandigarh and other Metros in India.
Main occupations of villagers in Upper Shimla are agriculture and Apple growing. Some of the families have huge land, which has been converted into Apple Orchards or Cherry orchards. Many companies from Europe have opened their research centers in these regions to invent different types of hybrid seeds of various fruits and vegetables. Some of the aware farmers in this region are doing good out of agriculture and fruit-business.
With recently popular scheme by India Government; NAREGA (National Rural Employement Guarantee Act), basic infrastructure in these villages is improving. Although most of the villages are quite advanced in terms of technologies used and their lifestyle.
Most of the villages in upper Himachal are better utilizing the solar power. Himachal Government has also launched various schemes under which folks get solar plants at lesser cost and as a result running costs come down as well. Since temperature in these regions is comparatively low throughout the year, they also need to consume more electric energy. Now these solar projects at each home are helping these families as well as government.
During this journey, we met this gentleman. He is the oldest person of the village and is also the most informed about the traditions of their village, which have gone for a toss over the last few years. He belonged to a village where people don't have enough land for agriculture. This village was 13 kilometers away from the main road and the nearest market was also 15 kilometers away. Most of the families in this villages have pets and they sell milk in those markets for their bread & butter.
We spent around an hour at this village and talked to various folks. Most of them were mainly into agriculture on a very small scale. There is a very large difference between economic conditions of villages in this region. Some of the villagers have huge land and also good for Apples etc and the others have very limited land which can't be converted into orchards, as cost involved would be much higher than expected returns.
It was unbelievable to see such things in USA (Upper Shimla Area)... Either there is no threat or there is some common understanding OR some other reason...
Himachal Pradesh is also known as Dev-Bhoomi. There is at least one temple in each Village. Many of the villages have some Devtas, who are considered supreme in a particular region. These Devtas need to be updated for every happy news in all families in a particular region. And it's considered that Devta (God) from a particular village has some relationship with others and there is a proper eco-system around this. They have dedicated fairs where some of the Devtas come and meet each other. Also there are some conflicts in some regions due to all such religious facts.
Two years back, the BJP Government in Himachal Pradesh launched a village tourism scheme. There were two parts of it. One was about promoting tourism in Villages and the other was about home stay schemes. Under the first scheme, villagers have to send a story about the place to Tourism department and they will figure out appropriate tourism avenues for the village. Other scheme was about earning some money by registering a portion of house as guest-house, which will be taken care by Tourism Department. There are some norms, which need to be fulfilled. Tourism department has been successful so far on the second initiative. Now Tourists prefer Home stays as compared to greedy hoteliers and also get good hospitality experience. At the same time, people in the rural areas have got a new avenue to earn some money.
It's not child labour. Kids in hills help their parents in their daily activities and this also keep them healthy. Most of the kids play an important role in agricultural activities and at the same time parents ensure that they are not compromising on their education. Good part is that most of the kids in these villages go to schools. Himachal Pradesh was second most literate state in India after Kerala, but not sure if stats have changed recently.
Some of the regions are also good for growing potatoes. There are many Vegetables growers as well. Soon I will be sharing another Photo Journey from Villages in Kangra Valley !!!