September 2022 was all about the theme of Culture. And much to our pleasure, we spent the month looking through photos that told us incredible stories!
We want to tell you the background of why we selected these photos. Usually, we choose images of the best quality, contrast, or composition. But this time, none of the pictures have been selected for quality. So, this month's photo contest isn't a photo contest at all. It is a contest.
We ask you which photo resonated with you the most as a trekker. Which of these captures the life of the mountains the best. That is the contest.
Life in the mountains is different from the cities. Some we are aware of, some not. So today, we want to showcase some of the lives we see in the mountains. You tell us which of these photographs captured life in the mountains the best. Every photo has a caption. Please read through that.
That’s why, going through over 350 photos was a delight. Yet, choosing the best 10 was hard.
Below, we are laying out our Top 10 nominations for the month of September.
We have special prizes for our top 2 photographs:
The first winner gets a trek voucher of Rs 5,000.
The First Prize Winner Also Gets This Thoughtfully Designed Backpack by AdventureWorx. It's perfect for day hikes and cycling trips. We especially love that it has suitable compartments to hold two water bottles, a hydration bladder and even a helmet if you're cycling. It also has a laptop compartment making it work-friendly.
The Runner up gets a trek voucher of Rs 3,000
The Runner Up also gets a water purifying bottle, Paany, made by NOK Japan.
Water purifier bottles are hard to find in our country. Yet, here's one that does its job beautifully and is used while trekking and travelling. Paany is a water filter bottle made by NOK, Japan and has recently been launched in India.
We also have a Trekkers' Choice award that you can vote for! The photo that you chose will be the winner! So vote carefully. If your image is nominated, ensure you get your friends to vote for you too. :)
The Trekkers Choice Award gets a trek voucher of Rs 2,000. You can use these vouchers to book any Indiahikes trek in the next 1 year.
You can vote only once, so look at all the entries before you cast your vote at the bottom of the page.
For any queries, contact: email@example.com
1. Raunaq Moraka - Deep from the villages of Kashmir
This photo is taken on the Warwan Valley Trek deep inside Kashmir - a part of Kashmir that even Kashmiris don't go to.
This is a picture of a Bhakarwal leading his pack of mules with sheep's wool on their back. He will now make a long journey to sell the wool to a person who'll buy it in bulk and who, in turn, will sell it in the cities. The Bhakarwals stay so deep in the interiors of the mountains that their life is the bare minimum. Only to sell this wool does he comes out of the Warwan Valley.
2. Debayan Parkait - Modern Cooking?
This is a story of how people in the villages of the mountains live and cook. We see a lady from her home cooking by the fire. Automatically, we start thinking about the unavailability of gas and modern appliances but look how well organized, clean and minimalistic her kitchen is.
This sparks a counterintuitive question -- are they modern, or are they not modern?
3. Siddharth Seth - Gujjar Huts
Gujjars are nomadic people. They rear sheep and cows.
This is a typical Gujjars hut in Kashmir. These huts have flat roofs that make them unique, and these roofs are covered by grass.
This is what gives it insulation, and to anyone's surprise, they are actually quite warm inside. If you go inside one, even if it is cold outside, you'll feel warm because of the roof. That's the uniqueness of the hut. This is how living is like with Gujjars.
4. Nitish Kumar
In our cities and town, there is a certain taboo about women smoking. We subconsciously get alarmed seeing young women smoke, bringing immediate questions to our minds.
Yet, in the mountains, when we go, women smoking a bidi is so ordinary that we don't even give too much thought to it. So this is a very typical scene. This is what it's like in the mountains. There's no judgement. People are free.
5. Ravi Gupta - Nanda Devi Jat Yatra
This is perhaps one of this nomination's most colourful and cultural photos. This picture is taken at the Nanda Devi Raj Yatra, which happens once in 12 years, at Ranaka Dhar on the Bedni Bugyal trail.
Devotees carry these colourful umbrellas shown in the picture. They begin a long, arduous journey through meadows, forests, and glaciers all the way to homkund at around 15000 ft to worship the mighty Nanda Devi.
The devotees go with a four-horned sheep known as "ram", who leads the way to Homkund, and devotees follow the ram. So the Nanda Devi Raj Yatra is synonymous with the culture of Uttrakhand.
6. Neethashree - Old lady weaving
Life in the mountains is hard. This picture shows exactly that.
Women who have crossed their prime, unable to work in the fields, often try making a living by knitting and selling wool.
You would be surprised to know that most of their buyers are not tourists but the locals themselves. This is one such lady who is doing this. This is what life in the mountains is like - A stark reality.
7. Venu K - Traditional weaving machine
This is a brilliant photo showing a woman weaving. This is how the people of the villages actually knit their mats and handcrafts.
This is a typical crude handloom. All modern handlooms are a better version of this. But this is the primitive and traditional version of handlooms which are very common in the mountains - something we don't usually witness in the city.
8. Srinivasa Prasath - A typical winter day
This is one of our favourite pictures because it accurately depicts life on a mountain perfectly.
It is a typical winter. There really isn't much work. Men spend a lot of time playing cards, whereas women work at home. Some women are wise, though. Unknown to the husbands who are busy playing, The women give their husbands the responsibility of caring for the kids, just like the baby in the man's lap in this photo!
9. Srinivasa Prasath - Traditional Wooden house
This is a beautiful picture of traditional wooden houses.
The wooden architecture of these houses has a history that goes back many centuries. The houses are always built in a way that they always face east. The first sunrays hit them first.
The wooden architecture of the houses is warm and unique as well. They have multiple layers to keep the inner rooms warm.
Even as we speak of 2022, new houses are built in the same tradition. This is perhaps the last time the convention will be followed as future generations may not be living here. So we are witnessing a rare construction of a traditional house.
10. Rohit Mutt - Sibling Responsibility
This is a profound picture.
The responsibilities in the mountains are very different from those in the city.
Here a young brother is looking after the sister. There is no question of gender or individualism here. This is his job. It's his responsibility. He will take his sister around and look after her when the parents are busy in the fields.
Responsibility for looking after the sibling at such a profound level is not really heard of in the cities. This is something we all can learn from the mountains.
That brings us to the end of the nominations of our September 2022 Photo Contest. Ensure you leave your vote for your favourite shot in the form below. The photograph with the highest number of votes wins the Trekkers' Choice Award!