Life in Spiti
A Winter in a Himalayan Desert
In the winter of 2014, photographer Himanshu Khagta spent six winter months in Trans-Himalayan valley of Spiti. This photo book is a pictorial documentation of the harsh life of its people.
It is November. The autumn month of Toanga as locals call it. The temperature is rapidly falling as days approach winter. People are stocking up food supplies, firewood and fuel for the harsh winter months ahead. The Trans-Himalayan valley of Spiti is situated in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and is among the very few places in India where the temperature goes down this low in winters. Minus 34ºC is common during the coldest winter months. The high altitude villages above 4400m are even colder. Snowfall cuts access to these villages and healthcare gets complicated with just one community health centre in the entire valley. On top of that, there is hardly any electricity and phone network for connectivity. In many past years, heavy snowfall has kept this valley landlocked for many months but life is quite usual for the prepared locals. So in the year 2014, to experience all this myself, I moved to Spiti for the winter. From November to April, Kaza became my home and the people of Spiti became my family.