June 2016 was one of the most hectic months ever. Traveling almost every day on non-existent roads, putting our feet up when travel got too much, a group of 19 students, my co-faculty Dr.Mukesh Patel and I were out in Himachal exploring the crafts in that region. Low oxygen levels at Spiti, sub-zero temperatures in the nights and roads of gravel tested the best of us. Of course, with it came the stunning vistas, snow-capped peaks, quaint and hidden monasteries and surprises in the form of murals painted more than a thousand years ago.
This course was part of the summer school at CEPT University, Ahmedabad. The student mix of interior design, architecture and planning was helpful in giving the course a multi-disciplinary approach in learning. We witnessed the meditation required for a Thangka painter, a way of life that weaving signifies for the pattu weavers and the sacrosanct process demanded by the metal artisan who makes prayers wheel, the ubiquitous architectural element in the whole region. We covered Thangka painting, weaving and hand-metal crafts across Kullu, Spiti and Kinnaur valleys. Our trip ended with a refreshing and informative discussion with Dr.O.C.Handa, an expert on local crafts, culture and architecture.
And of course, none of this was possible if not for the wonderful team at Himalayan Brothers Adventure. They managed both the logistics and the tough roads so smoothly with barely an hitch. Here are some pictures from the trip. For more, check out #sws2016_kulluspiti on Instagram. Explore with us!