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! For this important reason, the local people ensure the grass is maintained to a high degree and see to it that grass cutting is executed in a routinely fashion.

Grass cutting is carried out early, in the sultry month of August. As you can imagine, this is quite the tedious act to accomplish in a timely manner – a chore having 6 arms would come in handy for. 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 try fathoming the tremendous amount of hard work this is – 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. The stoops of grass are sorted into a tidy, organised pile then covered and situated on the rooftops.

This is essential for the animals during the snowy winter season as a source of food during this bleak time; 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, the villagers and animals visit the hot springs to collect water because other sources of water for the village have since frozen over. 5 litre cans are filled with water and carried by the villagers and donkeys.

The villagers cherish them and ensure the animals are well-looked after. These animals play a big role in the Valley life, cows supply milk as well as yaks who also plough the ground. Their coarse hair is weaved to make tents and rope. Furthermore, grass cutting is a great job for the local teenagers during their school holidays, rendering them a productive pastime to get stuck into.