Photo of Bakarwals by Beyond Buddha

'Bakarwal' is derived from the Indic language terms, bakara meaning goat and wal meaning "one who takes care of". Essentially, the name "Bakarwal" implies "high-altitude shepherds".

Simple human respect - for the lives they live, for the other things going in their day - is essential to establishing the necessary connection. I have been lucky to follow their trail along the Pir Panjal and be a part of their family eating and staying with them.

The Gujjars who rear “goats” are called Bakarwals. Gujjars and Bakarwals share the same history, culture, language, sub castes and racial identity. The concept of mobile schools that they have, where in teachers travel along with the children giving them lessons on the trail is amazing.

Basic physiological needs:

Makaan (Shelter): Well I have stayed in my own tentage.

Roti (Food): I shared food with them which was awesome. Mostly cooked on the wood fire and coal the food has its own flavour. Had a lot of mutton (since we were surrounded by Bakras the whole time), wild boars (they are experts at catching them)....i know its illegal...but i guess, everything that is illegal is legal in kashmir, namkheen chai (salty tea), shermaals (naans) and phirni (sweet dish) to end with.

Kapda(Clothing): Wear clothing in layers and get a phiran, which is the best in there land.

Gyaan (Knowledge): The conversations with the Bakarwals and the head can be interesting, one of them taught me the Darood (Religious prayer), another taught me how to skills are best learnt in their company.

Dawai (Medicines): They follow the law of the land and take the herbs that are available to them the closest.

(Nazrane) Sights: The Pir Panjal is there backyard and they know it blindfolded. It's another world really. The range encloses the Kashmir valley to the west and south rising on average to elevations of around 5000m. To the north, the Sonamarg range provides an equally impressive backdrop, including Mt Harimukh (5135m). To the east, Amarnath and Kolahoi ranges.

Chitti (Letters): A journal will keep you good company.


Photo of Bakarwals 1/6 by Beyond Buddha
sleeping area
Photo of Bakarwals 2/6 by Beyond Buddha
flower market in srinagar
Photo of Bakarwals 3/6 by Beyond Buddha
Bakarwal Head with his new house under construction
Photo of Bakarwals 4/6 by Beyond Buddha
Say sheeeeeeeep!!!!
Photo of Bakarwals 5/6 by Beyond Buddha
Chai time
Photo of Bakarwals 6/6 by Beyond Buddha
Treating burns the traditional way
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