I could see the magnificent gurgling “Jhoras”, small streams, starting to freeze to their annual hibernation as we drove up the winding path higher and higher. Further ahead lay the village of Kupup. While we stopped here to get our permits verified, I wandered off along the paths of this amazingly harsh yet beautiful village. Kupup, an ensemble of few ramshackle huts in the middle of absolutely nowhere is surrounded by barren might and virgin lakes. The villagers sat basking in the bright afternoon sun with spinning prayer wheels in hand, murmuring the old Buddhist prayer, “Om Mani Padme Hum”.