Limi Valley lies in Namkha Rural municipality of Humla district at around 4,200 meters above sea level. Humla is one of the most remote districts in Nepal. However, if we observe this district closely, there are some incredibly beautiful places. Limi is one such place. I was fortunate enough to spend almost three months there, most of which was spent living with the yak herders. I worked as a research assistant for a French anthropologist, who was doing her PhD thesis on yak herders.
After observing these lands and their people for three months, I can now safely say that their culture, traditions and herding practices are quite unique. Their herding practices, in particular, though simple at first, are ingenious, and make perfect scientific sense. The process of collecting milk, making curd, butter and other dairy products is so natural, devoid of machinery, chemicals and market imperatives that would otherwise taint their quality and the process by which they are consumed. They only produce for themselves, and maybe that’s what makes for the good quality products. All these activities seem to be untouched heritage of their ancestors.
The environment itself is radically different in Limi. I noticed that I was more aware of my surroundings, and even the smallest of details were enough to make me happy. That is one of the things that I learnt from the people there. Though they don’t have all the “modern” amenities that the urban population is accustomed to today, they are sociable, cheerful and satisfied with what they have. Or, rather, they would be happy if it wasn’t for the constant intrusion from the outside world, with their display of fancy gears, phones and other such things that makes them the people of Limi long for something new and more.
As for Limi’s landscape, “beautiful” is a gross understatement. Singular words do not do justice to its beauty, and yet, it does not entirely match the clichéd image of beauty that most hold today with regard to the Nepali countryside.
The mountains were almost bare and the trees shriveled. But if you observe closely, the fauna and flora, though not flamboyant, are rich and diverse. Even during extreme weather conditions, the mountains remain somewhat calm and patient. To me, they are the epitome, not just of mere beauty, but of calmness, patience and compassion.