In pictures: Garwhal, North India

The Garwhal is a mountainous region in Uttarkhand, a north Indian state that borders with Tibet. It was actually once part of the Kingdom of Nepal many years ago and the hills are terraced in similar fashion. The name itself means land of many ghars or forts, and once upon a time chiefs with their kingdoms ruled the hills.

Terraced hillsides near Dhanoulti. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Today the descendants of these clans live in villages that dot the mountainsides. The villages feature houses with ornately carved wooden doors and rooftops often used for drying grains or chillies.

Traditional Garwhali style houses, near Deosari. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Life in the Garwhal has changed in recent years with the creation of the Tehri dam and also roads that have been forged through the mountains making access to villages easier. Electricity is now being installed and most people have mobile phones.

Sheep herdsmen from Himachal Pradesh on a mountain trail in the Garwhal. Sheep are moved according to the seasons. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Still life is different out here and it’s worth plodding out by jeep or on foot–an excellent area for hiking–to get a bit of a taste. Here are some images showcasing the region that is largely mountainous terrain, narrow valleys and deep ravines.

Woman near Deosari where many families are still farmers. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

 

Village by the Aglar river. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Transport through the hills is by jeep - jump and hold on anyway you can, Mussoorie. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Vultures are a common sight in this region. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Waving children near Deosari. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Bells at Surkhanda Devi, a Hindu temple on a high mountain in this area. There are many Hindu religious sites and pilgrimage areas through this part of India. The source of the holy river Ganges also starts at Gangotri. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

All images by Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com