Buddhist temple. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Buddhist temple. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

Purbani is a small village some 2500m above the river Sutlej, in Himachal Pradesh Province, India. Being close to Tibet, the people are mostly Buddhist.

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Boys at prayer 2. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Boys at prayer 2. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

These young boys will become Buddhist monks

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Monk reading prayers 1. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Monk reading prayers 1. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

A monk intones from Buddhist scriptures

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At Prayer 1. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
At Prayer 1. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

Sacred texts.

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Washing dishes. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Washing dishes. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

The women in this area of Himachal Pradesh are androgamous. That is, they can have more than one husband. For women in the mountain areas of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, silver jewellery is very popular.

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Kneading almond paste. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Kneading almond paste. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

The terraced land is very productive. Almonds and apples grow well. Here, the women are grinding almonds into a paste

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Girl. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Girl. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
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Two girls & grandmother. Himachal Pradesh. India
Two girls & grandmother. Himachal Pradesh. India

From the leaves decorating the hats of the girls, it is evident they are going to participate in some event.

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Old Woman. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Old Woman. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
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Old man in spectacles. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Old man in spectacles. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
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Dr Dogra and patient. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Dr Dogra and patient. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

The Tibetan ethnicity of this boy is clear. Dr Dogra, from the flat plains of the Punjab, was posted to this remote mountain village for a time by some health authority.

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Dr Dogra in his dispensary. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Dr Dogra in his dispensary. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

Dr. Dogra's dispensary was sadly minimal and filthy. He had nothing more than potions in bottles. Any patient with an illness needing treatment with medication would have to take the bus to Simla. Returning to Simla on the bus from the military check point 20 kms from Purbani took 3 days due to snow blocking the road. Once the snows are gone, the problem is rockfalls.

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Janta Hotel. Hindustan-Tibet Road. Himachal Pradesh. India
Janta Hotel. Hindustan-Tibet Road. Himachal Pradesh. India

I did not stay at this hotel.

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Man in cap. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Man in cap. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
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Man Weaving 1. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Man Weaving 1. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

The clothes that are made from the wool he's weaving can be seen on most of the people in these photographs.

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Man Weaving 2. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Man Weaving 2. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
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Young couple. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Young couple. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

The structure of the houses in these mountains is heavy timber beams alternating with large stone blocks. This offers a measure of protection from earthquakes.

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Brothers. Himachal Pradesh. India
Brothers. Himachal Pradesh. India
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Boy and kid. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India
Boy and kid. Purbani. Himachal Pradesh. India

Caps like the one this boy is wearing are almost universal on men and women in this region.

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Street Cobbler. Delhi. India
Street Cobbler. Delhi. India

Asia and the subcontinent have millions of businesses working on the streets.

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Street Food Stall. Rampur. Himachal Pradesh. India
Street Food Stall. Rampur. Himachal Pradesh. India

This food stall was in the bus station at Rampur, an important hub on the Hindustan-Tibet Highway. This road was built, mainly by Nepalese who were accustomed to mountain work, to enable India to move troops and material to the border with Tibet, after the Chinese incursion in the 1960's.

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Photographer. Himachal Pradesh. India
Photographer. Himachal Pradesh. India

Has he been replaced by SD cards and an inkjet printer in the 45 years since this photograph was taken? Probably - but hand colouring a black and white print will still be in demand.

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