Kinnaur- The stories of half Man-half God
Kinnaur, The Devbhoomi (Land of Gods), disrtict of Himachal which has been bestowed by God with the divine beauty. Most of the Kinnaur region has beautiful architecture, where we see amazing wooden houses which last for hundreds of years and a very good option for the folks who have to spend most of the year in snow or chilly weather. Their temples and monasteries have beautiful work of art made from devdar wood carvings.
I was keen to know the lives of Kinnauri people- understand their culture and feel their hardships in this inhabited village. I have never met such cheerful and warm people. I got invitations from the villagers as I smiled and nodded to say hello. Sitting in their small wooden houses they talked about social and cultural values of Kinnaur. They are big hearted people who love to drink and celebrate. In the weddings they would consume as much as 600 liters of homemade apple alcohol, that would be quite a wedding to attend I guess. The ladies do all the hard work of making the drink and storing it however they don’t consume it except the one which is being served for the Puja of Goddess- Durga. Hinduism and Buddhism are the major religions here. I had the chance to meet a Lama in the village and was curious to know how he actually predicts the future. It felt like a game of ludo where he would roll the dices and match the number in his holy book. He looked at me if I wanted to ask something about my future and there was absolutely nothing which I wanted to know, I was living the happy present.
Knowing about the cultural and social aspects of these tribals from their own words was exhilarating. There are two major casts here- Rajputs and Kinets and they are particular about getting married in the same caste. Inter caste marriages would make you an outcast and you would also not get a share of paternal property. Polyandry is still a debated topic in the society which could have been influenced by the story of Draupadi and Pandavas. This practice of polyandry was introduced in older times to balance survival as cultivated land was less and family planning was unheard of. But with change of time and impact of education, now it is found it traces.