Gunehar is predominantly a village of Gaddis and Bara Bhangalis, whose original homes are further in the interiors of the mountains, beyond the Dhauladhar Range. Since most of these people are semi-nomadic shepherds, and since the extremely cold winters cut off their villages from the Indian mainland for more than half a year, they have traditionally had winter dwellings on the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar Range, such as Gunehar.
Here, the weather is comparatively temperate and the land fertile. Dealing in sheep wool, opium, certain high quality summer crops and Himalayan herbs, these people would ‘come down’ to trade and gaze their animals, making Gunehar their base. Gunehar, to them, was the first big trading post, the first 'town' or Jhandhar. The world beyond led to Jogindernagar, then the great trading city Mandi, and finally to the Gangetic Plains.
Today, this traditional way of living and trading has died out and Gunehar, once a prominent station on the trans-Himalayan trade route, has lost its glory days. Yet, most people still move between their original homes in the interiors and the Jandher, keeping old traditions (and the old routes) alive. Also, Gunehar still retains its old-time charm and especially its unique culture.
Gunehar can be the base for some great, other-worldly treks to the untouched Himalayan interiors.
Kangra Valley, HP 176077
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