Between the valleys of Parvati and Spiti lies Pin Valley. Much of the valley is included in the Pin Valley National Park which protects about 12 of the elusive and endangered snow leopard as well as ibex, bharal, Himalayan brown and black bears, porcupines and Tibetan wild ass. The tiny village of Kungri is situated near the boundary of the national park. Life in Kungri revolves around a Gompa of the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism. This is the most ancient of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and is unique in many ways, for example, it is the only one to support the use of weapons.
This woman is tending a field beside the 700 year old Kungri Gompa. Wheat, two kinds of barley, mustard and peas are grown in the Pin and Spiti valleys. Seeds are sown in May and the crop is harvested in September. Growing conditions are harsh owing to the cold temperatures and low level of precipitation during the 5 month period when the slopes are free of snow. This valley is a ‘brown valley’. Parallel valleys in this part of the Himalaya alternate between being ‘green’ and ‘brown’ owing to the pattern of clouds rising and condensing in one valley and the next valley falling in the precipitation shadow.