The Himalayas' most remote village – Bara Bangal is an Indian village cut off from the rest of the world by the 4,800-meter-high Kalihani and Thamsar Passes, sheer mountainsides and the Ravi River. Here, some villagers build a bridge over one of the streams that meets the Ravi.
Tough trek – It's a tough trek, particularly when the weather is alternating between squall and blizzard. Pictured, a snow-draped approach to the Kalihani Pass toward Bara Bangal.
Gaddi tribe – A Gaddi (of Himachal Pradesh's Gaddi tribe) we meet on our way puffs at a hookah, killing time in a cave as he waits for the weather to clear.
Moving forward – A break in the weather sees us following a band of Gaddi. They are beating a path in the snow to make it easier for their sheep to make the crossing.
A sight for sore eyes – Our first glimpse of Bara Bangal village. The huts on the left of the frame make up the original village. The ones on the right are a work in progress, with homes being added as the population grows.
Origin stories – There are conflicting stories about how the hamlet came about, the most colorful being that it was settled by soldiers who served under Alexander the Great.
Ancient village – Bara Bangal's age shows everywhere, from the huts, to the trails through the village, and the walls that keep the mountainside from caving in. Here, two women chat while keeping a lookout for movement on the mountains that could be their husbands leading their flock back to the village.
Hospitality – Everywhere we go, we are greeted with smiles, offered tea and given invitations for lunch. "It's tradition," says an old man who invites me to swig arrack (an Indian alcohol) with him. "We'd all be hurt if you don't eat or drink something in each house."
Minimal contact with the world – Today, horses carry rations for the villagers during the summer. For most of the year, their only contact with the outside world is through a satellite phone installed by the government -- to be used only in emergencies.
Thamsar Pass – After a brief stay at Bara Bangal, we start the four-day journey across the Thamsar Pass to Dharamshala. The approach to it is through a glacial cave.
Sanju, a Gaddi shepherd we follow from Bara Bangal to the outskirts of Dharamshala, gives his herd a break after crossing the Thamsar Pass.