Kaza is the capital village of Spiti, a tribal region of India that was only open to outsiders, even Indians from other states, in 1992. It is filled with natural beauty, kind hearted people and Tibetan Budhism. All the photos in this series were taken between June and August 2014 in Kaza’s main bazaar.
As the village swiftly undergoes new infrastructure developments and unavoidable cultural changes these images create a porthole back to this time and capture a spirit of the locals in this buzzing Himalayan village.
The original motivation for this project was to use it as a way to raise money for a local hostel that provides a safe place to live for girls from surrounding villages so they could get an education in Kaza. I managed to find the only guy in the village who could print a photo and I set up an exhibit in the cafe I was running that the time. It was a lot of fun, certainly a learning experience and a great feeling to be able to raise some money for the girls. If anyone is interested in prints of these please let me know because I will still be donating all of the money to the girls hostel.
This gent wore his finest pink diamond ring to celebrate the Dhali Lamas birthday at Kazas monastery
Another shot from the celebration of the Dahli Lamas birthday. She was too cute and wanted to keep modeling for me after I had taken a couple shots, This was possibly the first time she had her photo taken so she was very curious at what I was doing. As a side note: none of the kids in the village have any concept of wiping their noses/face and I think thats awesome!
This is Raju. The mala beads tha he is wearing are the same ones that his father wore for 40 years, now he has had them for 10. He owns a souvenir shop in the main bazaar where he carries unique tribal jewelry along with many Tibetan Buddhist relics, figures, and souvenirs.
This is Raju’s shop where we played chess and drank tea almost every day. He always won
This is Kazas Trash Truck. It pulls a trailer through the main street every morning and folks come dump their buckets in it. Kaza does have a trash problem, right now the trash is burned by the river, but the idea of proper waste management facilities has been brought up so hopefully there will be some change.
This is Caloo, one of Kazas many stray dogs. He is blind and has really bad arthritis but somehow finds his way to Ecosphere every morning for breakfast.
The cook of my favorite dhaba in town taking a break on the roof
This guy was impressive, he sat cross legged all day, 6 days a week. And he did a hell of a job fixing my sandals.
In the summer I spent here I learned what it means to appreciate electricity, hot water and internet. More importantly I had the opportunity to spend time with the people and their culture. This project is based on some of the friends that I made and things that I saw everyday.