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Kashmir shepherds who still keep their ancient genealogical traditions alive

January 28th, 2016 by admin | Filed under Blog.
  • Indian photographer Sankar Sridhar has spent a sum of dual years with the nomadic Bakarwal tribes of Kashmir 
  • The herder families transport from Jammu’s Himalayan plateau to a meadows of Kashmir each year for grazing
  • The tour takes over 3 weeks and in new years it became worse since of complicated changes in a area 

Caroline Mcguire for MailOnline

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A array of monumental photos by a Indian photographer Sankar Sridhar have supposing a singular discernment into a lives of the nomadic Bakarwal tribes of Kashmir. 

The herder families, that series around 100,000 men, women and children, transport between a Jammu’s Himalayan plateau and a meadows of Kashmir each year with their flocks of cattle, horses, goats and sheep. 

Every year, usually as a winter snows start to warp in April, a village starts their tour with their stock behind to a alpine pastures for extending during a summer, before returning in Sep as a continue worsens. 

Scroll down for video.  

Two children transport with a winding Bakarwal tribes of Kashmir in a Himalayan mountains. Rations, utensils and children too immature to transport prolonged distances are carried on horseback, while live and frail load - like hens - make a tour in a nomads' arms. This creates certain they continue a tour good and sojourn in a condition to lay eggs during a Bakarwals' stay divided from civilisation 

Two children transport with a winding Bakarwal tribes of Kashmir in a Himalayan mountains. Rations, utensils and children too immature to transport prolonged distances are carried on horseback, while live and frail load – like hens – make a tour in a nomads’ arms. This creates certain they continue a tour good and sojourn in a condition to lay eggs during a Bakarwals’ stay divided from civilisation 

The formidable tour takes some-more than 3 weeks, though in new years, it has turn many worse since of complicated changes in a area. 

The tribe’s normal track between Kashmir and a plateau has turn crisscrossed with many bustling roads that disquiet a animals and a tour is done even some-more fraudulent by a risk of landslides from a use of blustering of plateau by mining companies to remove minerals. 

When they lapse to Kashmir during a summer months, they also have problems anticipating pastures to graze on as many are used for tourism and a tribes have a combined problem of being a magnet for crime, with many of their animals being tainted or going missing. 

The problems of flourishing alongside complicated life has meant that many members of a clan have now given adult winding tillage and have taken on jobs in some-more fast industries like construction. 

The initial signs of open seem as tufts of weed on mountainsides, though sleet on a hollow building means a sheep have slim pickings while on a move. The Bakarwal start their day early to take advantage of reduce temperatures, that concede them to transport longer distances though tiring. On snowy stretches, a lot of suspicion is put into how many to walk, how many rest to give to a sheep, so they don't grow diseased from hunger, or worse, die 

The initial signs of open seem as tufts of weed on mountainsides, though sleet on a hollow building means a sheep have slim pickings while on a move. The Bakarwal start their day early to take advantage of reduce temperatures, that concede them to transport longer distances though tiring. On snowy stretches, a lot of suspicion is put into how many to walk, how many rest to give to a sheep, so they don’t grow diseased from hunger, or worse, die 

Women and children lead a Bakarwal migration, with a women entrusted with running a container animals, and sourroundings adult stay before a group arrive with a sheep. Here, as a family sets adult camp, their equine rubs off a tired brought about by carrying 11 mill of products by giving itself a much-deserved behind rub

Women and children lead a Bakarwal migration, with a women entrusted with running a container animals, and sourroundings adult stay before a group arrive with a sheep. Here, as a family sets adult camp, their equine rubs off a tired brought about by carrying 11 mill of products by giving itself a much-deserved behind rub

A Bakarwal family in one of a mill dwellings they have built in valleys where they spend weeks together 

A Bakarwal family in one of a mill dwellings they have built in valleys where they spend weeks together 

The photographer Sankar Sridhar, from Calcutta, started to sketch a Bakarwal tribes dual years ago carrying spent a sum of 15 years with a nomads.

He told MailOnline: ‘Documenting a Bakarwals is partial of a personal long-term plan to request a many winding and semi-nomadic communities opposite India, that we began 15 years ago as an forgive to transport over what afterwards were traveller circuits.’ 

Sridhar suggested that one of a many grand things about a tribes is a approach they have schooled to continue their surroundings. 

He said: ‘As with all winding communities, a lifestyle of a Bakarwal shuttles between heated transformation and complete calm — it is like being arcane to totally opposite ways of living. 

‘Much about them is fascinating — from their woolen shawls that is woven in a demeanour to make it roughly H2O proof, to their believe of a plateau and a many spices that grow, they are a repository of believe on a sourroundings they inhabit. 

‘The Bakarwals, like all other communities of rural nomads, share a tighten attribute with a mountains.’ 

Lush meadows vigilance a postponement in a migration, where a tribes can stay for as prolonged as dual full months. Every family of shepherds has extending rights usually on certain meadows. The droppings of a sheep yield good fertiliser for a soil. it is also collected by a Bakarwal, dried, and used as fuel when they are above a tree line 

Lush meadows vigilance a postponement in a migration, where a tribes can stay for as prolonged as dual full months. Every family of shepherds has extending rights usually on certain meadows. The droppings of a sheep yield good fertiliser for a soil. it is also collected by a Bakarwal, dried, and used as fuel when they are above a tree line 

Portrait of a Bakarwal elder, with a brave painted fiery red by henna One of a children of a tribe

Portrait of a Bakarwal elder, with a brave painted fiery red by henna, left, and one of a children of a tribe 

As roads plough deeper into a mountains, a Bakarwals' run-ins with vehicular trade keeps increasing. Neither complicated vehicles nor cars carrying tourists are peaceful to humour delays on comment of sheep. This village suffers a limit waste to their stock on such stretches

As roads plough deeper into a mountains, a Bakarwals’ run-ins with vehicular trade keeps increasing. Neither complicated vehicles nor cars carrying tourists are peaceful to humour delays on comment of sheep. This village suffers a limit waste to their stock on such stretches

Wrangling horses is one of a initial doctrine Bakarwal boys are taught by their elders 

Wrangling horses is one of a initial doctrine Bakarwal boys are taught by their elders 

He continued: ‘They are roughly one with nature, nonetheless some of that is changing among a younger lot, and their roving ways have ensured that a line between needs and wants are never blurred. 

‘They possess a honour for inlet that we would do good to learn.’ 

But Sridhar is penetrating to indicate out that while they have benefited from certain aspects of complicated society, it is also a outrageous hazard to a winding Bakarwal approach of life. 

He said: ‘It is a double edged-sword. They have as many a right to education, medical care, and an easier life as everybody else. 

‘But their brush with tourists, mobile cameras and all a accoutrements of “development”, are creation many of their girl desert their ways to take adult basic jobs in smaller towns and cities.

‘For a elders, it means there are obtuse people to pass on their knowledge. 

‘The Bakarwals’ hit with multitude has turn sinister in other ways too. Today, they lift their rations from shops in cosmetic bags, and many of their campsites are gradually branch into a cemetery for polythene.’ 

more videos

The sheep's thick winter cloak gets embellished in summer. Not distinct hairdressers, there are dilettante shearers in a Bakarwal village who offer their services for a price. A master shearer can go by as many as 40 sheep in a day. The nap sells during about Rs 60 (60p) for each 2.2lbs. 

The sheep’s thick winter cloak gets embellished in summer. Not distinct hairdressers, there are dilettante shearers in a Bakarwal village who offer their services for a price. A master shearer can go by as many as 40 sheep in a day. The nap sells during about Rs 60 (60p) for each 2.2lbs. 

Two Bakarwals watch as a charge bears down on their stay high adult in a Himalayan mountains 

Two Bakarwals watch as a charge bears down on their stay high adult in a Himalayan mountains 

Rain or shine, sheep always come initial for a Bakarwal. Even as a sleet approaches, a Bakarwal go by their slight of counting a sheep that have returned from grazing 

Rain or shine, sheep always come initial for a Bakarwal. Even as a sleet approaches, a Bakarwal go by their slight of counting a sheep that have returned from grazing 

Men take turns guarding their group by a night opposite predators like bear and leopards. 'That we are good prepared to handle,' pronounced Pervez (left, seated). 'What's some-more dangerous is guarding a sheep opposite cattle rustlers we mostly confront when we are camping on a hinterland of tiny towns in a reduce reaches of a mountains' 

Men take turns guarding their group by a night opposite predators like bear and leopards. ‘That we are good prepared to handle,’ pronounced Pervez (left, seated). ‘What’s some-more dangerous is guarding a sheep opposite cattle rustlers we mostly confront when we are camping on a hinterland of tiny towns in a reduce reaches of a mountains’ 


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