Daily life of a Shepherd in Uttarakhand
The weather cycle plays a big role in their yearly routine too.
If you are trekking on the hills of Uttarakhand, you can find yourself surrounded by hundreds of sheep all of a sudden. Shepherds are very common in the Himalayas. The hills are full of nutrients and sheep are quite common there. Still, working as a shepherd is not an easy job. Even just thinking about their lifestyle can give people exhaustion. Their life patterns depended on natural resources, making it more difficult.
Consistency: Timing is everything
They have to take their herd every morning to the hills and roam around everywhere they can possibly go. From childhood, they are habituated to wake up early and sleep early. They always live a tough life due to the geographic hurdles. They either pack their food or have some known shops on their way where they have their lunch or tea.
Management: Hundreds of Sheep
The shepherds have to manage 200 to 300 sheep at once. They use dogs for their assistance. The villages up there are not very large. So, the dwellers know everyone living there making their work a little bit easier. They can walk for hours until they find suitable spots for the sheep and then take rest or roam about.
Side Business: Trek Routes
They are familiar with the trails in the hills, crossed the passes numerous times and can assist other people about the roads. They often work as local guides for the trekkers going there. For them its very easy because they totally know all the hidden trails, water sources, suitable spots for camping, wild animals, etc. They are well aware of the weather, landslide zones and viewpoints too. Often trekkers from around India find them helpful on their way to various grasslands, passes or valleys.
Change in Routine: Seasonal
The routine of the shepherds is highly affected by the weather of the mountains. In summer, they stay at higher altitude in their pre-made stone huts near the glaciers. They sometimes collect herbs from grasslands beneficial for them. In winters, they come down into the villages and operate from lower altitude to avoid snow. They also have mules for carrying necessary things.
Difficulty: Natural Hurdles
The mountains are always uncertain. Sudden bad weather, landslides, and snowfall are part of their lives. They live a difficult lifestyle facing the utmost challenges from nature every day. Though in recent times, electricity and technology have helped to improve their lifestyle a lot.