I’m certainly not the first to observe that one of the great pleasures of travel lies in encountering the unexpected. Often this is a rite of passage – a wedding, a coming of age ceremony, or a funeral – to which perfect strangers are welcomed with an exuberance and generosity we’d be unlikely to extend in similar circumstances back home.
The scenes here are from a wedding ceremony in the valley of Kinnaur, which lies along the old Hindustan-Tibet road in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The Kinnauris are famous for their apples, and are immediately recognizable throughout the region for their perky green hats known as thepangs.
The particular thrill of this encounter was the fact that the wedding was polyandrous. Polyandry is not unusual in Himalayan cultures and often, at least in my experience, involves the union of a woman with two or more brothers. That was the case here. The only thing missing in these scenes is any hint as to how the principals felt about the situation….