Dappled sunlight filtered through the forest canopy. Shot while out on a morning hike in the Reserve Forest at Chaukori, Uttarakhand.
These old-growth forests of Oak and Rhododendron not only hold moisture and keep the springs flowing but are also much more resistant to summer fires than the Pine forests. Forests such as this are under threat from the timber mafia in Uttarakhand and are gradually losing the battle.
On the beautiful, winding road from Chaukori to Thal, one gets to see many picturesque little family farms with the Himalayas as the backdrop. For generations, these farms have produced the coarse grains and pulses that made the locals self-sufficient in food. Now, as the better educated younger generation, migrates en masse to the large cities of the plains for better job prospects, the family farms are rapidly going to weed, or worse are crumbling. What the migration is doing to the tight-knit hill communities, is of course another sad tale.
The only silver lining: perhaps some day, the forests will reclaim these forlorn fields.