|This is called the gateway of Kinnaur Valley. This very gate has a mythological importance for the Himachali residents|
The enchanting and vast Himalayan range houses many villages in it's foothills. One of such kind is Keylong which is in Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh, India. Keylong, the mighty habitat, is one of the world famous Himalayan valley, which not only attracts a traveler, a photographer, but also motor bikers and adventure lovers. The valley remains isolated for 5months (winters) approx. due to heavy snow on high mountain passes which connects this valley to rest of the world. Hence, it has become a good choice for tourists in summers, where in, tourists outnumber local residents. For entire year, of course except winters, local residents here plays models and trophies for the tourists hovering from all over the world. They are used-to this, and never mind posing for you anymore, however, there are still people, especially ladies, who avoid getting photographed. Tourism is no doubt, that residents of Keylong welcome, but is this all they need?
Keylong houses some of the good cottage industries which makes good quality shawls, and agriculture is also considered a good option over the valley. Apart from these, many of the local residents are good in weaving making clothes and cattle rearing, which gets them their share of bread.
Keylong requires truck load of vegetables, grains, dairy products, clothes etc. in daily basis to meet the overall requirement of the valley. Tourist wont ponder even for a while before asking for a cappuccino, after they check in to their room, but this is what the residents take care of, because for many out there in Keylong tourism is a key subject for their bread.
The market of Keylong is different from any other market I saw until now. It's a 1km long road, where houses are build on both sides, and ground floor of every house have a shop space. This small market runs into the heart of the valley and has approx all kind of shops ranging from automobiles to garments to cooked food to fruit shops to household items and grocery. The market even have 1 medical shop and 4 ATMs. Interestingly, I couldn't find anything of daily need which couldn't be get from that small market. In fact, I had my Mom bought a piece of beautiful Lahaul attire, from a local shop which was run by couple of house wives. They were carrying out their work, along with their children either in lap, or sitting beside them to follow up on their school works. It gave me a good feeling, to see the women enough literate to help out their children in their primary schooling.
All said, and seen, I feel quite surprised, that such a small market suffice approx all daily needs of Keylong valley. However, cannot disagree the work and labor of countless people directly or indirectly contributing getting all items from cities to this valley. It haunts me more than anything, when I think how the valley manages it's needs while winter season when all transportation is halted and valley gets isolated from rest of the world. Of course at this moment, I can just keep guessing, but soon I would try to get to the valley again while those few months to know, and let you all know the rest of the story.