The Women of the Mountains

Updated: Apr 2

The eco-friendly ‘Pahadi’ lifestyle

Himalayan women are some of the most highly skilled people in the world. Their knowledge/skillset ranges from organic farming, dairy-farming, agroforestry, horticulture, sericulture, hand-looming, handcrafting, and naturopathy(alternative herbal medicines). With no formal education and abundant traditional knowledge their lifestyles are an ‘epitome of sustainable living’.

Even after being a storehouse of such skills they live below the poverty line. A local Himalayan woman is independent enough to grow and prepare her own food; yarn, weave, stitch, sew, knit and embroider her own garments; make her own Koehl; and craft her furniture, utensils and jewellery. She possesses the knowledge of all the natural resources around her and uses them according to her need with minimal damage to the environment.

The mountains provide them with the greatest reservoir of raw products to support their needs but also become the toughest barriers to breakthrough. The villages in the higher reaches of the Himalayas are not well connected with the major road networks; they do not receive a continuous supply of power and the food is still prepared on the woods fetched by the women from the nearby forests. It provides a haunting contrast of lifestyles in the 21st century where on one hand wifi connectivity is considered a need and on the other, the struggle for basic life support.