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THE HIMALAYAN NOMADS

The Himalayas, the longest and tallest range of Mountains on the planet is one of the places which is a delight to the eyes with its amazing beautiful landscapes and mountains and lakes. However is it really a place you can inhabit for a lifetime? Can a city dweller like us sustain our lives and spend our life in this heavenly place?

Well before you answer the question, go through the few facts about the Himalayas:

  1. The temperature in the ranges drops down to as low as -75 Degrees.
  2. Unlike most wild places on earth, only the fittest survive here, those species which have adapted themselves to this environment.
  3. Human population in the main Himalayan ranges is as scarce as hay in the stack.
  4. The basic amenities such as electricity, gas and modern facilities are inexistent here.

Now if one considers these facts about the Himalayas then it is not hard to understand that there is only one way of living and surviving here in the mountains and valleys and that is the way of Nomads, i.e. the Nomadic lifestyle.

Having been to the remotest regions of Himalayas and having witnessed the lifestyle of the Nomadic tribes here I thought it would be great to share this experience with the world.

At first when I saw a child riding on a small horse grazing a herd of sheep, I was feeling as if I was somewhere in between the ages of reign of Chinese imperial dynasty or the Mongolians. The kid was wearing something which I have no word to describe as it was a very exclusive dress I believe designed specifically to meet the needs of the extreme cold there.

Once I gained the child’s trust, I somehow managed to get into his small tribal camp which was set besides a small wall compound which rests the herd of sheep, the only source of income for the tribes.

Upon building an acquaintance with the tribe I got to know some more information about the tribe and I will make it short for you people:

  1. The tribes migrate 10 km down to the plains where I met them during the winters as the weather above in the mountains freezes to sub-zero temperature as low as -75 degree.
  2. The tribes only source of income is by selling the wool of their sheep to the exporters of Pashmina Shawl.
  3. Every family has one of their male child sent to the nearest Buddhist monastery to become a Buddhist Monk. However families having only one young male child cannot send the kid to the monastery as they need a younger person to look after their herds.
  4. The food of these nomads mainly consists of yak or goat milk, butter made out of this milk and a lot of fats in the diet to survive the cold.

A night spent in the camp with them made me realize that there is not just weather imposing the threat but also the wild snow leopard a widely feared predator here in the valleys. The fear that this mammal has caused is solely due to it attacking the sheep in the herd, however the tribes head had made sure that this predator has never attacked any of the humans.

The morning after I woke up to the view of my lifetime and also the most unique breakfast of my life. The butter was the main serving, which was preserved for months by keeping it stuffed inside the intestine of a sheep. At first the view of the butter being taken out of the sheep’s intestine did make me think twice before munching in the treat, but once tasted it was the most fresh and melting butter I ever had.

Later after breakfast I had the privilege of riding on a horse and grazing the sheep. The day finally ended and I had to get back to the place where I came from, but It was undoubtedly an experience I shall never forget and would suggest all of you to experience this amazing experience of the Himalayan Nomads.

You can visit to Leh  Ladakh by one of the guided tour packages or through a bike ride to the Himalayas.

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