Mastram invited me to visit his village of Ladwara, home of his immediate family, relatives and life-long friends.

Desraj, with one of his goats

In front of Mastram's house where he and his two sons, wife and parents live. His brother 's immediate family lives just across the courtyard.

the family cow

The town has several warm springs along the river with small temples and sites of morning bathing and washing...

Bath for Riktik and more of Mastram's family

After coming here, I more fully understand how "70% of India's billion-plus population lives in the countryside." For even though the population and size of a city like Delhi is staggering, the Indian countryside is settled rather densely (compared to American standards). And between every home, path and cow shed, there is food growing in the ground; shown here are mostly wheat and mustard greens. And the total integration of small-scale agriculture encompassing never-sprayed wheat, vegetables, fruit trees, chickens, cows and goats with small communities and family life is very beautiful. The cows are all right on the doorstep of the family homes, and almost every home in proximity to Mastram's belongs to some member of his extended family. A true village.

Mastram's mother and sons

Mastram with his friend Suresh at the local canteen...

...and in Suresh's home.


ready for school

Mastram's wife cooking up delicious food upstairs in their kitchen - All of the food seen here was grown in their small patches of land scattered throughout the village.

And Mastram brought me to the Tatwani hot springs ... perfect temperature with an ancient Hindu temple complex built up around it.

A Walk up to Kehriri

Locals kept telling me that Kehriri is very beautiful. So one morning I took the local bus up to Ghera and spent the day walking around. To get to Kehriri I had to walk up old paths beyond the reach of the road, though construction of the road up to the mountain top village is well under way. I was impressed at the variety of people (men and women, young and old) seen journeying up the steep steps with huge loads of grain on their heads or giant bundles of leaves on their backs. The other day, I saw a woman with a huge basket on her head walking and knitting with both hands at the same time. And after carrying a heavy load of straw down a steep mountain, I have great respect for this ability and neck strength.

Hay in the trees

These folks invited me for chai

Like so many photographers before me, I can't resist stealing photos of cute brown children...

When I got up to Kehriri and asked where I could buy food, the woman invited me back to her house and fed me lunch. When I tried to give her family money after the meal, they refused my offer and her son insisted, "In India, the invited and uninvited guest is God."

School in the warm sunshine, fresh breeze and beautiful view

Load of fresh cut branches for the cow...

This guy also invited me into his home for chai.

Beginning the descent back down...

Guys installing poles for the electric company...

Heading back down the road to the farm with the Dhauladhar range in the distance