Photographer's Note

Sangla is a picturesque village in the Baspa Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is located 230 kms. away from Shimla. It is located in the Kinnaur district where the tribal Kinnauri people live. This valley was closed to tourists till 1989. The valley is full of apple, peach and apricot orchards. The emerald colored Baspa River runs through the valley.
The above shot is of the Bering Nag temple in Sangla. It is dedicated to the snakes that adorn the shoulders of Lord Shiva. The Hindu temple is based on the Buddhist Pagoda style of architecture because of the regions proximity to Tibet where Buddhism has a major influence. It is made of stone and wood only. The top dome is made of pure gold and the temple is also said to contain lot of gold and precious gems. Thus it has round the clock security presence.
The temple is the site of the Annual Fulaich festival.
During the festival people from each household proceed towards hilltops to collect flowers, which are offered to village deity and afterwards these flower garlands are distributed among the people. Priest makes forecasts about crops and changes in seasons etc. Priest's words are taken as the voice of God by local people. Dancing, singing and community feasts with the local brew derived from apple is also an integral part of the festival.

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Additional Photos by Subho Banerjee (Subhogen) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 14 N: 901] (4043)
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