This is from Drass, a small town in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and one of the coldest places in India. According to Wikipedia the average winter temperature is -22 °C, sometimes going down to - 45 °C. In summer the average is a modest 15 °C. The altitude of Drass is 3.280 meters above sea level.
In a place like this hot tea is a necessity at any time.
I passed through Drass on my way by bus from Srinagar in the Kashmir valley to Leh in the region of Ladakh in the early autumn of 1985. It was a two day ride and we stopped for the night in Kargil, another very cold town where I spent the night in a very basic hotel room, trying to get some sleep.
During the "almost war" between India and Pakistan in 1999 the Pakistani army and islamic militias entered Indian territory in Kargil district and shelled Drass among other places.
In 1987 Swedish writer Carina Rydberg made her debut with a novel called Kallare än Kargil (Colder than Kargil). I haven't read it and it probably is of no significance to this photo.
I don't remember why we stopped for a while in Drass. Probably the driver needed a cup of tea.
I have scanned this from a Kodachrome slide. A larger version can be seen here.
Critiques | Translate
yquem46 (38752) 2014-03-20 11:13
I did not remember the name of the village but I remember passing there too and that this fact concerning coldness was well claimed throughout the whole place
A good oldie again
masala chai, cheers !!
photographer_sg (4414) 2014-03-20 11:23
the Drass sector is a disturbed area even today and the Kargil war has not entirety faded from public memory. It is sad that one of the most beautiful regions in the subcontinent should pass through such a long and bitter ordeal.
The picture is excellent with many fine details and lovely colours with the misty hills making a wonderful backdrop. Thanks for sharing and have a nice evening.
SnapRJW (31629) 2014-03-20 11:37
Winter or summer tea is the drink Gert! I love this shot with its fabulous local colour and the variety of styles the men wear. Two seem to be dedicated followers of fashion, the others not so. In a sense a timeless scene and one you could probably see today.... only the fashions change!
emka (100989) 2014-03-20 12:09
Hi Gert, For me hot tea is a necessity all the time - in cold and also hot days. As maybe you know I am addicted to tea.
Stunning oldie, as usual. This old sign is just marvelous. Interesting scene, two guys look at your camera, others are not interested. Fantastic shot.
WArm regrads MAlgo
Fis2 (100828) 2014-03-20 13:00
Your archive is amazing!
Curious scene from daily life.
Good frame and super "retro" colors.
ourania (47880) 2014-03-20 13:44
I like very much the stillness and timelessness of this casual scene. Even though two of the people are moving and the others have interesting attitudes, they seem to be surrounded by a fixed and timeless framework of features, textures and details. The people don't look very extrovert and there's a very mysterious figure in the background. The sign of the shop tops the little group intriguingly and the outside world is perceived through the suggestive view of the cloudy sky and the mountain. The colours are moody and vivid at the same time, particularly alluring. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,
Glint (6171) 2014-03-20 13:53
as ever your photos are full of interest. I like the mix of fashion, both modern and traditional. What also catches my eye besides of course the big 'Cold Land' sign, is the little 'Tea@ sign on the right.
Antipodean (1312) 2014-03-20 13:54
Kia ora Gert,
another great photo that brings back memories. I ran a series of tours between Srinagar & Leh in 1983 so this is familiar. I don't recall that we ever stopped in Drass, but know it was a cold bleak place. Great human interest & the signs in that part of the world were always amusing. Cheers, Neil
GyurMaster (4920) 2014-03-20 14:18
Your photo has an excellent composition, every person is just in the right place and seems in the right direction. I like the contrast between the foreground and the background as well!
williewhistler (16398) 2014-03-20 14:48
there is definitely a look of disdain upon the faces of the two men looking into the camera whilst the others appear to be uninterested in your presence.
The whole scene has many interesting features that have been well retained from the original slide.
A fascinating travel photograph.
Kind regards Les.
nikkitta (17066) 2014-03-20 15:18
Your archive ( and life) is quite amazing , from Afganistan to this desolated high part of India, here you take a daily life scene plenty of details as for instance the tight and unfashionable sweaters wearing by the men at the sides
Enjoy reading what is writing on the door
Cold Land and the good drawing of the teapot at the side
Congrats, enjoy watching and reading
carlo62 (50948) 2014-03-20 16:43
continua il tuo viaggio nel tempo attraverso le immagini, una vera e propria documentazione storica di ottima qualità.
Interessanti questi uomini, è bello osservare i loro volti, il loro abbigliamento e il loro modo di porsi davanti a un obiettivo.
ACL1978 (7511) 2014-03-20 17:34
What a great scene, playing out in front of an ideal background. The mountains, the sign, or the people alone would make a nice picture, but the combination of the three is wonderful and allows the shot to be appreciated in many different ways. I don't know if you're familiar with the American film director Wes Anderson, but there's something about the way these men are gathered that reminds me a great deal of his filmmaking style - a very deliberate, often staged arrangement of quirky characters. That's what I see here in some ways.
saxo042 (37902) 2014-03-20 18:08
Det behövdes ju inte mycket fantasi för att hitta på titeln till den här bilden, men vad betyder "drass"? En mycket detaljrik bild med många färger och ett imponerande landskap i bakgrunden.
shreya2000 (2637) 2014-03-20 21:41
I had already assessed that this is a very old pic while watching clothes of the people before reading your note. You have shown the daily life of Drass very well especially the person in the left is creating a very good effect on the photo. I like it. Thanks for sharing.
kato (11630) 2014-03-20 22:18
You're capturing well this place by a good angle and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see the tea stall and the next general dealer in Drass of highland. The the structure of architecture looks like tasteful and friendly, although it's simple. Residents seem to relax in here. And, high mountains of backdrop show well the geographical feature of this place.
macjake (69859) 2014-03-20 22:28
there's something about this one that is making me feel like its an AD in a magazine :)
don't you think...the only thing missing is the man with the hat on holding a cup of tea and the some slogan lol
I wonder how it looks today, i bet not much has changed.
very funny photo - for some reason
Nicou (145294) 2014-03-21 0:37
encore une belle iamge du passé sueprbe quel affiche et tous ces homme devant cet établissement le couleurs sont sueprbe une bonne tasse de thé lire les nouvelles sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié
Subhogen (4067) 2014-03-21 1:52
Excellent DL shot from Drass taken so many years ago. As I have passed through this road last autumn I can vouch that nothing much has changed in the last 30 years. Only thing that might have changed is the attire of the people, if you click a street scene now I think most of them will be clad in denims. I like the various expressions you were able to capture on these people and the colourful signboard advertising hot tea. The mist covered mountains provide an attractive backdrop for the image. Good capture, thanks for sharing this.
P.S. Would love to see more such photos from your archive of this region in India.
Apurba20 (984) 2014-03-21 2:59
Drass is one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, and it shows. No wonder that humble cup of tea has so much meaning.
I am impressed by the way you have travelled.
Kamilutka (8107) 2014-03-21 3:54
I really enjoy watching this scene. The group of the people in the image are highly interesting, but I like the tea shop the most. The sign and the shelves with some products add very much to the picture. It would be actually fun to have some hot tea in this place.
The mountains in the background give us sense of location.
Pretty composition with nice colors.
Thanks for sharing
Romano46 (18472) 2014-03-21 8:47
altra bella testimonianza del tuo vagare per il mondo.
Anche se la scannerizzazione non ha permesso di conservare tuitte le infinite sfumature delle slides rimane un ottimo soggetto ed una bella fotografia.
Ciao e buon fine settimana
rbassin (23429) 2014-03-21 10:01
une très belle photo d'archive. La scène est intéressante par les vêtements et les attitudes différentes.
RhodieIke (11744) 2014-03-21 12:01
This is an unusual scene of bygone years in India.
Great scan, don't people act seriously in front of the camera.
pajaran (62590) 2014-03-21 12:04
Interesantan i dobar tekst o mestu, sa istorijom i opisom ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem, lepa fotografija i secanje na -1985.
Dobar rad, lepo pokazano mesto sa ljudima i trenutak.
Prijatno vece i lepa noc, sve najbolje za vikend, srecno.
Interesting and good article about the place, with a history and description of the ...
Good work by scanning, beautiful photos and memories of 1985.
Good work, nice place shown to people and moment.
Have a nice evening and night, all the best for the weekend, good luck.
Graal (103034) 2014-03-21 12:13
nice scene and reportage about the daily life. Good captured place and moment. Superb quality of scan. Well done photo.
Have a nice WE.
Silvio1953 (146807) 2014-03-21 14:04
Ciao Gert, lovely daily life composition with relaxing scene, wonderful colors, splendid light and excellent clarity, very well done my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio
mesutilgim (95850) 2014-03-21 15:57
Helo dear Gert,
Each of your entries from your archive is a unique one.
This one from Drass is also a topclass one. Last but not least, selfsepeaking !
TFS and have a nice weekend
fabbs99 (17167) 2014-03-21 22:23
Another great shot from Kashmir and Drass.You have really been to places in India and remember things as if it happened just yesterday.I salute your memory.I invite you to come to India again and be my guest in Calcutta.TFS.We will have joint photography sessions in rural Bengal,if you so desire.
subhendu_bagchi (26089) 2014-03-22 3:01
another nice one. This time from the gold mine area. I like the lazy atmosphere of morning. The reader of news paper and others created a nice mood. I enjoyed those grains created by film photography. Excellent composition. Tfs.
PaulVDV (29885) 2014-03-22 12:32
I didn't know it could be that cold there in September. I never travelled on that road. When I went to Ladakh in 1994 Srinagar was too dangerous. So I went back and forth via Manali. That road is also high. But I don't remember that in July/August it was very cold at night. From Manali to Leh was also a two day traject. For the night we stopped at a tentcamp. In the tent and in my sleeping bag it was warm :)
Along that road there were several stops where we drank tea and the style of the wooden signboard above the entrance is quite familiar to me.
Looking at the clothes of the man on the far left and of the one on the far right, I guessed this picture was taken in the 70-s. But I was wrong.
What I really like, is that the owners of this remote and simple teahouse ensured a colourful and nicely finished signboard and have also nicely decorated the wooden column at the entrance.
Best regards, Paul
marabu61 (11119) 2014-03-22 16:36
It is always funny to see your old shots from the 80ties. Unbelivable that we where dressing that way back then.
Pleasant every day scene from a remote village in northern India. I suspect there hasn't changed much since then in a place like that.
As usual the quality of your scan is quite amazing.
abmdsudi (55706) 2014-03-22 20:18
A colourful shot, certainly does look cosy everyday scene due to low temp and so homey in a very interesting set up making us want to look at every detail. Particularly imagining the teahouse as separate image and human interest, I can make out an all day breakfast on the menu and order a brew of hot tea! Good tonal/colour balance and contrast, inclusion of the mountain backdrop is good as reference point. Fine photo work turning this into something special. Congrats
jcpix (13930) 2014-03-22 23:56
Whatever the reason was for the driver to stop, it meant an opportunity for you, and it appears you took full advantage. :) This is a terrific shot of another locale which might never be featured otherwise, and yet one more in the long line of daily life that is so fascinating viewed through my Western eyes. You must have quite a collection of photos, and I'm glad you have decided to share them through this forum. Not sure about the cold stare from the gentleman leaning on the post, hope you got out of there before it was more than tea that boiled over. Have a great day ahead. All the best.
By the way, I loved your take on my last photo, that's a fun way of interpreting the imagery. :)
ktanska (28174) 2014-03-23 2:17
This has a strong feeling of a far away place that doesn't get much visitors. And everyone who comes there gets noticed. And well received on such tea shops. And sure it looks chilly too, dark clouds hanging on mountain slopes. Motion blur of the foot reveals long exposure and shady light.
eldancer1 (36343) 2014-03-23 12:33
I glad human beings can adjust to their environment well otherwise we will not the severe cold temperatures and high altitudes. Nice capture of those people although I don't they are happy that you were taking their pictures. Good job scanning the image. Well done, tfs.
imageme (1790) 2014-03-24 8:34
HI Gert, Cold land and hot tea, a nice mix. Beautiful scan old memory of the daily life of the place with great relaxation atmosphere. Best regards
serp2000 (44726) 2014-03-24 10:33
Hello, dear college,
When I saw this thumbnail, my first idea was about "Gold Land". Yes, the altitude above sea level is a reason of this weather. But I see some persons feel good with the sneakers on their feet. Very amazing document photo from so far 1985. I think you need an oxygen cocktail here more than a cup of tea, or not?
Greetings from Ural,
kasianowak (9407) 2014-03-24 11:36
I like this combination of a compelling portrait, fascinating daily life scene and dramatic landscape you skillfully used to create an unmistakeable sense of place.
I wonder if they served butter tea there? :)
Angshu (56760) 2014-04-01 21:58
I haven't been to Drass yet, but this is the region where there's a village where the tribe is said to have pure Aryan genes...not sure about the veracity of this, but for sure makes interesting as a place.
This isa fine DL shot with people apparently just beginning their day...a lazy morning with chai and news paper.
Fine quality of scan as always!
adores (45891) 2014-04-18 16:29
Another fantastic old one! I'm sure I'd like this region. I really like the way you framed them, their poses and the details of the place, from the bench to the handpainted sign above the door. Curious that their clothes look all different.
mcmtanyel (24593) 2014-05-03 21:20
What a precious photo that combines a layer of human activity with a layer of rugged terrain separated by a layer of architecture/signage. The reaction (or lack thereof) of the various people to your camera makes for an interesting scene.
Tigerlily (3379) 2014-06-08 1:54
Still like the color... I've never thought that India could be that cold... if you think about it.. yeah, very high up...The poses are interesting... it seemed that everyone had different thoughts in their mind.
Periko (5628) 2015-06-30 16:49
This cold atmosphere reminds me to the highlands of Peru and Bolivia, where I drank hot coca tea.
The composition shows several interesting details and different expressions and attitudes. Really a good work.
jmdias (65637) 2016-07-13 16:59
curious the expressions of the two men who are concerned about your camera, one looks like curious and other look like angry with you. nice details of the place.