Now, come with me to a sheep farm. Set in rolling plains covered with heather at some places, and grass at others, a row of huts standing at the very edge, and beyond them the conifers on the mountainside, and even beyond them the blue mountains. At first, as the Scorpio rolls in inside the massive gates, there is not a soul to be seen even though it is almost flat and tree-less all around. So, we imagine that perhaps we have come to the wrong place. Then a lady beckons to us and asks in Hindi if we were there for the sheep, and when I confirm, she informs us that the sheep have gone off for the day to graze in the forest, and will come back only in the evening. Just as we are about to turn and leave, she adds, “But the lambs are here, the very young suckling lambs with their mothers”, and she gives us the directions to the lambs.We walk up ahead and there they are, black and white and grey, frolicking amongst themselves in the yellowed heather. They do not seem bothered by us as we approach them, but, they aren’t as unmindful as they appear, for as we approach them they scamper away. In the process a few lose sight of their mothers for an instant or two and rend the skies with their pitiful calls till the mother comes and shushes them and has them follow her away from us. We laugh and run behind them, trying to catch up, but soon, its not the lambs we are trying to catch up with, but our breaths. This is the sheep farm at Sangti Valley in Dirang.
The valley was indeed a very pretty one, there were horses grazing around and it looked straight out of a wallpaper. I walked around and clicked a lot.
Why Sangti?Situated at the sleepy outskirts of Dirang in Arunachal Pradesh, right by the bank of Sangti river, is a quaint little hamlet that houses around 500 families. It is in this village that I had decided to stay instead of Dirang which is thronged by tourists from all over.Lined with the typical stone and wood houses, people of Sangti live in absolute harmony with the ecology. They build their own homes and furniture and utilities are made out of wood and bamboo / cane. The making of utilities out of bamboo / cane is an art-form of this region and you would find them in every household. They transform simple bamboo/ cane into visually attractive utilities like baskets, trays, storage pouches, smoking pipes, ornaments etc.Sangti is also known for being shelter to black-necked cranes during the winter months between November and February. Buddhists consider this bird to be the embodiment of 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso and hence, treat them as sacred.