The Nomadic life

The Nomadic life 
One thing that I miss the most in Delhi with onset of

summers is the cool and soothing climate of the hills.

Himachal is known for its simplicity and serenity, but apart

from these qualities, the distinct culture of Gaddis also

known as the shepherds is unique about the hills. With

setting of summers, these hill folks come back to their

habitats after roaming like nomads the whole winters in the

plains and in the lower parts of the hills.
Amid rugged snow covered mountains, these hardy shepherds with

their flocks of sheep are unaware and unaffected by the

happenings of the outside world.

These wanderers of the mountains all through the changing

seasons roam from one destination to another, witnessing some

of the most awe-inspiring terrains as well as facing the

toughest climatic changes.

The mere site of these beautiful hill residents with their

herd of goats, sheep and gaddi dogs itself depicts the aura

of romance around them.
Hill paintings such as the Kangra bride, the Gaddan(shepherd

woman) and the evocative folk songs so beautifully depict the

rich culture of these hill wanderers. The moving love story

of Kanju and chanchalo- folk heroes of the gaddis has been

immortalized by their folk songs.
Kunju used to visit Chanchalo, his sweetheart, secretly at midnight,

braving dangers. He had to cross a raging, torrential stream and then

pass through a dark forest where wild animals lurked. In the end, the

rivals of Kunju, armed with guns, proved to the more dangerous than

wild animals.
During the day, watching these Gaddis reaching the chosen

pastures to find some shade to rest-perhaps an overhanging crag-while

their flock grazes contentedly, is an amazing site. Seen from the

valleys below by those who are uninitiated, the sheep high on a

mountain-side appear as mysterious specks of white against a dramatic

blue green back-ground. At night, the glow from Gaddi fires-against

the rocks gives the feel of glow worms hovering over the

mountains. To while away the hours in solitude, the flute played

by the Gaddis is so enchanting and as melodious as the

cooing of a cuckoo.
 The charming hamlets between Palampur and Baijnath, in Kangra,

Chamba and a few other places in Himachal are the abode of

Gaddis and generates a breathtaking view of their existence,

survival and living.
But when a Gaddi is on the move, small rock caves in the mountains are

his abode. If he has to camp out in the open, and it becomes too cold

during the night, the Gaddi simply pulls a few live sheep over himself

to keep warm. Gaddi women, known as Gaddans or Gaddinis, keep the

hearths warm and spin and weave wool. The loose frock of white wool

(the chola), with a high peaked cap over their heads worn by the

Gaddis and Gaddans wearing a woolen frock and a printed petticoat

with traditional silver jewellery gives a peek a boo of their

rich heritage. Witnessing Cairns decorated with flags while

travelling on the roads leading to hills represents the abode

of a Gaddi deity , who must be appeased to ensure a safe

crossing.
On festive occasions, there is music and dancing, and lungri(the

rice beer) is served as a drink. Watching the Gaddi men and

women performing the Natti or the Gaddi dance gives a

glimpse into their happy and jovial way of living. These

ardent devotees of Lord Shiva have made the hills the ‘land

of Gods’, called the ‘ Dev Bhoomi’.

Gaddis inimitable mode of living enables them to savour at will the

rare joys of a free, untrammeled yet challenging lifestyle amidst some

of the most breathtaking scenery and their entire way of life

is built around the welfare of their folks.
For us the outsiders visiting hills and getting the glimpse

of their tough as well as terrific lives is an experience

of a lifetime.

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Author:

learn and live :) I like to keep things simple and easy and that is what my writings reflect. A gypsy at heart my six year old keeps me leashed. I'm a blogger @mycityforkids, @womensweb,@yourstoryclub, @unboxedwriters,@polkasocial, @blogadda