We saw this unending herd of sheep luxuriously grazing on the not so lush slopes leading to Kuari Pass. It is always a soothing experience to walk through myriads of sheep, listening to their asymmetrical bleating. The best amidst it all is the odd small lamb weakly bleating and jumping it’s way, ignorant of what lies ahead.
Sheep are often referred as dull and dumb and boring but they don’t seem to be worried about our opinions as they constantly hike, graze, trek, graze, graze and graze! The shepherd herding them happened to come to our campsite that evening and his stories were amazing.
He casually told us that he owned around 600 odd sheep, few horses and a couple of dogs. And that they usually walk throughout the season, covering distances above 1000 kilometers. They had hiked all the way through Kumaon district to enter Garhwal via Kuari Pass. From there on they were headed to somewhere near China border where the sheep would satiate their grazing thirst for the remaining season.
Seemed like a monstrous task to track that big a number of animals. Although the casual insouciance on his face suggested otherwise. Just to give you a picture, the sheep do not live inside any kind of shelter. As it happened that night, we heard deafening leopard roaring from the side of the sheep. It lasted a while, we were awestruck sitting around our bonfire expecting a dead sheep or two. Although the dogs had other plans, the two bulwarks of guards barked their guts out but didn’t let the leopard near the sheep.
The shepherds didn’t shred a drop of concern. What a team indeed!