In the mountainous Spiti Valley grow coarse blades of grass, long enough to hide all the secrets you wouldn’t want to get out. Fortunately for the animals in the Valley – cows, yaks and donkeys – this means something to put the spring in their step. Food glorious food! The animals are important in the life of the valley, needing enough nutrients to keep them going. So villagers maintain the grass to a high degree as a result of cutting grass in a routinely fashion.
In the sultry month of August, grass cutting takes place early. Can you imagine how tedious this act would be to accomplish in a timely manner? 6 arms would come in handy for such a chore. But not to worry because the local people happily pull together with a smile on their faces, joining families to get the job done. So multiple hands team together and families take it in turns to support one another with the grass cutting and collection of their fields. What can they do with these many hands that an octopus can’t?! I highly doubt it.
The grassy fields surrounding the barley and potato fields are neatly cut and faultlessly bundled which is very rough on the hands. Just you try fathoming the tremendous amount of hard work this would be – nothing the villagers “can-do attitude” can’t overcome! The whole village perform this synchronously, according to weeks and times set by a group of trusted people who make up the village council. This decision was cleverly made to make certain the villagers get the same cut of quality of grass. It is knotted on an eight bundle-styled figure, collected up and taken to the roof of each owner’s house. Stoops of grass are sorted into a tidy, organised pile before being covered and placed on the villagers’ rooftops.
Grass cutting is essential for the animals enduring snowy winter seasons as a source of food during bleak times; the grass is distributed between all the animals. They are taken out for a peaceful stroll to catch the early morning sun-rays as a daily source of vitamin D. Along the stroll, villagers and their animals take a visit to the hot springs to collect water due to other water sources freezing over. Villagers and their donkeys carry 5 litre cans filled with water they collected, back to the village.
Above all, animals are cherished and well-looked after by the villagers; they certainly play a big role in the Valley life. Cows supply the village with milk and coarse hair to weave into tents and rope. While yaks are also a supply of milk they are most noteworthy for ploughing the ground. Furthermore, grass cutting is a great job for the local teenagers during their school holidays, rendering them a productive pastime to get stuck into.