Like the side alleys of main shopping streets, the valleys off of the main touristed routes in the Indian Himalayas remain innoncent of the humdrums of mass tourist transport. A refreshing breath of crisp mountain air after the stale smell of towns competing for the tourist dollar and offering not much else. And like the side alleys off of the main shopping streets they are actually very easy to get to. Welcome to Chamba Valley.
As we walked into the village of Kugti at 2600m which clings to side of a steep gorge we had actually stumbled into the middle of a great wedding celebration. During the celebrations the organisers feed the entire village. It goes without saying and a true testament to the hospitality of the mountain follk that we were immediately asked to sit and that we MUST eat with them. Rice and curries were piled onto our thin throw away plates in such frequency and quantities that had we not insisted for them to stop the mountain of rice would have been higher than the 6000m snow capped peaks towering all around us.
Another adventure awaited us that evening when we left to climb up to the 3000m Hindu temple that was meant to be open and well supplied for cold and weary travellers needing a place to sleep and another wedding we ended up in the following day... but that story is for another time.