Johar Valley

These are both old photographs from a trip I did to Uttaranchal in India with my friend Neil.

This is the Johar Valley, home of the Shauka. It is the part of India close to the borders of both Tibet and Nepal and the culture here is influenced by both.

Kundan on the trail...

Traditionally the Shauka are traders, using large herds of pack animals to transport goods between Tibet and India. This lifestyle made them rich and the villages in this valley have intricate wood carvings around all the doors and windows. However the Sino-Indian war of 1962 lead to the border at the head of the valley being closed and ever since the valley has been in decline. This is sad for the livelihood of the people of the valley but it has had the effect of almost freezing it in time and is part of what makes it such a fascinating place to visit.

The major reason that people walk up this valley these days are the views of Nanda Devi, the highest mountain entirely in India (7,816 m or 25,643 ft) and to see the Milam Glacier. The mountain took a long time to conquer partly because it is a technical and dangerous climb but also because it is almost surrounded by 6000m peaks. The only way into this ring is through a treacherous gorge that drains it and a safe way through took nearly 50 years to find. When Tenzing Norgay (one of the first 2 men to climb Everest along with Edmund Hilary) was asked what the most difficult climb he had ever been involved with he surprised people by saying Nanda Devi East. The expedition he was part of led to the death of several of the team.

We were lucky enough to get an amazing sunrise view of it. The mountain shares its name with the local deity, she is an incarnation of Parvati and lives on the mountain.

Nanda Devi East at Sunrise


13 Responses to “Johar Valley”

  1. cruxphoto Says:

    Beautiful photos. I really need to travel more. Your images are very inspiring.

  2. xntricpundits Says:


  3. uttarakhand Says:

    Excellent pictures.
    Would you mind us using these pictures on our website and giving you due credit.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. motleycollection Says:

    thanks for the kind comments everyone, they are very much appreciated!

    uttarakhand – I have sent you an email about the use of my pictures.

  5. Idetrorce Says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  6. Narendra Pangtey Says:

    You have taken excellent pictures of my homeland Johar. Kindly grant permission to use them in our community newsletter.
    If you could give me your experiences also about Johar which I intend to produce in my community newsletter.
    Waiting for your reply,
    Narendra S Pangtey

  7. motleycollection Says:


    thank you for your comment. You are more than welcome to use the pictures in your newsletter. I really enjoyed my time there and often dream of going back sometime. It is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and we felt very wolcomed when we were there.


  8. Devraj Singh Rawat Says:

    Thank for your great comment for my johar,great pictures,want more from your side.

  9. motleycollection Says:

    thank-you for your comment Devraj 🙂

  10. Vivek Martolia Says:

    Mr. Motley your collection is really awesome.I m also shauka.We are really greatful to you for exploring johar’s beauty.Mr. Narendra ji is also a very active member of our society.I really thank both of us for all your efforts.

    Vivek martolia

  11. motleycollection Says:


    Thankyou for your comment and sorry for taking so long to reply.

    I am glad you like my pictures – I only wish I could come back to this beautiful part of the world and take some more!

    Warm Regards,


  12. Devraj Singh Rawat Says:

    Nice pics Vivek

  13. Devraj Singh Rawat Says:

    Nice to know about u Dave that u are making world know johar vally,Thanks

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