Hacking the Himalayas: Xeni's stories and trek-blog from Tibet and India

I recently traveled to India, China, and Tibet to explore how technology is changing the lives of Tibetans — both inside and outside of their homeland. Starting today, a four-part radio series from the trip airs on the NPR News program "Day to Day" — Hacking the Himalayas. Each segment will also be archived online, along with lots of multimedia goodies: multimedia slideshows, maps, and more: Link

Part one of the four-part radio series is The Gaddi People of Dharamsala. This nomadic Hindu tribe has lived in the shadows of the Himalayas in Northern India for generations. Before Tibetan refugees and Western tourists arrived, they were the dominant ethnic group — but as development looms, their culture is changing. Link to archived radio segment, and here's a direct link to photo slideshow with an original composition by Gaddi folksinger Sunil Rana (Flash with sound)

I put together a "reporter's notebook" blog around the project at xeni.net/trek (here's the RSS feed). I'll be posting links to each of the radio, print, video, and online reports I'm filing from the trip. I'll continue following these stories here after the reports from my trip have all aired. But I'll also post the scribbled footnotes that didn't make it in.

Video, snapshots, audio snippets, branches of these stories you just can't cram into 7 on-air minutes. The little daily details that comprise life on the road — including HOWTO production info, and reviews of the production hardware and software I tested out on the road from Apple, Canon, Skype, Inmarsat, Palm, and other tech gear providers.

Images: (Xeni Jardin, 2006).

Top — Gaddi women singing prayers as they climb a rocky path to the shrine in Kanyara village, Himachal Pradesh, India. Middle — A Gaddi child seeks rest in mom's arms, while women pray to the local goddess of slate. Bottom — A Gaddi woman in ceremonial dress paints holy symbols on river rocks.

I shot these photos and most others along the trip with a Canon 5D, and a 24-70 2.8L USM and 70-300 4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lenses. Images were later sorted, tweaked, and prepped with Apple's terrific photo content management app, Aperture. More on that later!

(Special thanks to my NPR producer Rob Sachs, and my editor Alicia Montgomery).