The Himalayan Connection
The Himalayas have long been known around the world as the home of the highest peak in the world – Mount Everest. But they also comprise of a number of other high mountains, all of which make the range one of the most daunting in the world. Consider this: The highest peak outside Asia stands at just under 23,000 feet while the Himalayas alone have over 100 peaks in excess of 23,500 feet! The Himalayas have thus created a natural barrier that has resulted in a unique culture in these high hills.
With the harsh terrain and climate in the Himalayas restricting the movement of people, the region has remained largely untouched by modern developments. A number of the Himalayan peaks have importance in Hindu mythology and as a result the region is a spiritual centrepiece. If you are out looking for a pristine location to spend a few days while skiing, you could not have chosen better! People living in different regions of the Himalayas have preserved their cultural identities. Ladakhis, Nepalese, Bhutiyas and Sherpas are some of the common cultures spread across the vast mountains. Even among them the traits and behaviours differ as you climb higher into the isolated peaks. Inspite of the fact that nearly 40 million people living here, the cultural peculiarities of each group is still clearly evident.
The general standard of living in the Himalayas is low as a result of its location. Lack of communication, infrastructure and development potential has meant that the way of life has remained the same over the years. In some of the high altitude places, you may find a few agricultural developments, but these are few and far apart. Tourism is the biggest industry with the high peaks attracting thousands of eager climbers every year.
Food here is relatively simple because of the cultural isolation the region experiences. Lentils soup and rice curry are popular dishes while every group of people may have their own peculiar styles. But as a skier you need not worry because the locals here have perfected the art of getting optimum nourishment to sustain the body in the climate.