Bright sunny, blue sky day. People who’ve been here for the last six months said this was the first such day they’d seen in all those six months. Naturally, I had to photograph everything! Menchukha is gloriously beautiful when the sun is out! The snow-capped peaks, the greenery, the stark blue skies, the cool breeze, the sparkling water of the river. Just glorious.
The entire bumpy drive was forgotten the second I stepped out of the door of my room in the morning. I could barely open my eyes and it took some squinting before I could see what the sun had lit up.
Spent the rest of the day photographing #CoverUp and preparing another set of garments – these were completely crumpled in the suitcase during the journey and while an old-fashioned iron was located, I didn’t trust the chap to treat these garments well. So I decided to try the dunk-in-water and dry-in-bright-sun trick and it worked. Wouldn’t have worked if it was a typical rainy, Menchukha day.
After lunch, I decided to take a walk through “Gandhi Market”, which is a tiny cluster of general stores, clothing stores, alcohol stores etc. in Menchukha. I asked around for local clothing / weaving and was shown a few items of local clothing but these were made of cheap Chinese material. When I pressed the lady for more information about local weaving, I was told that a local old man had recently passed away – he was the be-all and end-all of the local weaving and had not trained anyone under him. Also, the local women no longer preferred to wear garments made of wool because these absorbed rain water, got heavy and took very long to dry.
The lower garment, worn like a simple, long, wraparound skirt is called a “gaaley”. I was extremely disappointed at not finding a single store with local weaving. I waslked around a little more before returning to my room, rather crestfallen. I was told I would have to try my luck at Aalong, which housed many such stores and “collections”.
Most of the construction around Gandhi Market is concrete and / or wood. All roofs are slanted and all houses are built on short stilts of concrete blocks or stacks of flat stones. The erstwhile thatch, wood and stone houses with high stilts are nowhere to be seen, yet.
In the evening, I also visited a view point, which is at a higher point than the town and from where the entire valley is visible. The sun had set and the wind had picked up speed. While temperatures in Menchukha aren’t freezing, the wind-chill factor can be brutally cold.
Ended the day hoping Monday would continue the sunny streak but was mentally prepared for the rain and grey clouds.