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Gartang Gali

  • 14 Mar 2024
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

Gartang Gali in Uttarakhand was used as a Silk Road trade route between India and Tibet.

Key Points

  • It is located in the Nelong Valley in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand. It also stands out as a unique tourist attraction.
  • Situated in the remote corners of Uttarakhand, Gartang Gali offers a secluded retreat away from the bustling tourist circuits.
    • It's off-the-beaten-path location appeals to travellers seeking authentic experiences and tranquility amidst nature.
    • The village is inhabited by the Bhotiya tribe, an indigenous community known for their resilience, traditional way of life, and cultural heritage.
  • Gartang Gali historically served as a crucial trade route connecting the Indian subcontinent with Tibet and Central Asia.
  • Traders traversed through this mountain pass, facilitating the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultural influences between different regions.
  • The Gartang Gali cliff-side hanging-stairway, also known as the Gartang Gali bridge, spans 500 metres along a vertical ridge at 11,000 feet in the Nelang river valley.
    • It was constructed in traditional native style, initially by Pathan traders from Peshawar, serving as a Silk Road trade route between Tibet and India.
    • Following the 1962 Sino-Indian War, access was restricted by the Indian military, causing the bridge to fall into disrepair.
    • After India reopened the area for tourism in 2015, efforts were made to restore the wooden stairway using traditional methods.
    • After 59 years, the bridge was reopened to the public in August 2021.

The Silk Road

  • It was a network of ancient commercial routes that connected East and West from China to the Mediterranean Sea and served as a major conduit for cultural exchange.
  • The flourishing traffic in Chinese silk that took place across its length beginning in the Han era (207 BCE – 220 CE) gave rise to the term "Silk Road". Around 114 BCE, the Han dynasty extended the trade routes through Central Asia, primarily as a result of the travels and missions of Zhang Qian, a Chinese imperial envoy.
  • As a result of trade along the Silk Road, long-distance political and economic ties between the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa, and Arabia were established.
  • Although silk was undoubtedly the main export from China, the Silk Routes also saw the exchange of several other items, as well as syncretic ideas, numerous technology, religions, and diseases. The Silk Road was used by the civilizations along its network to conduct cultural exchange alongside commercial trade.

Bhotiya tribe

  • The Bhotia or Bhotiya are an occupational caste of shepherds.
  • The Bhotiyas of Uttarakhand are scattered over the seven main river valleys in the three border districts of Pithoragarh, Chamoli and Uttarkashi.
  • The seven major Bhotiya groups in Uttarakhand are the Johari, Darmiya, Chaudansi, Byansi, Marchha (Mana Valley), Tolchha (Niti Valley) and Jadh.
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