The Bakri Wala (shepherd) at the Markha Valley, Ladakh

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Pangong Lake, Ladakh

I somehow feel like blogging about an old incident today. We went to Ladakh in June 2005. The plan was to trek through the Markha Valley. We completed the first day’s trek upto Jhinchan successfully but then the trouble began. I developed a thoroughly upset stomach. We continued for small distances for the next two days, and camped at Rumbak and then Ganda-La base. But the stomach showed no sign of improving. On the third day we decided to ditch the trek as I was not getting any better. Actually, it was Sesha who insisted that we have to turn back.

On our way back, there was a tricky spot. We had to cross a river and we had a lot of trouble crossing it while going to Rumbak. The flow of the river was a lot and we were wondering what to do. Our ponyman told us to follow a particular gravel track and he went ahead. It must have been a stretch of not more than 800 meters. Part of the way was quite fine and we had no trouble. Then the gravel became very loose and I started slipping. It was not at all dangerous as I would have gradually gone to the bank of the river but at the moment I was a bit dazed. To break slipping any more I just sat down and both and Sesha and I were wondering what to do next! Suddenly out of nowhere came a Bakri wala (Shepherd), smiled at me and asked “aap ka haath pakad kar nikal dun?” (Shall I take your hand and get you across?) And that is what we exactly did. He got me safely across and then went his way.

I still remember the incident so clearly and whenever I think about it I marvel at the timing of his apperance and feel a lot of gratitude.

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10 thoughts on “The Bakri Wala (shepherd) at the Markha Valley, Ladakh

  1. Sidhusaaheb

    I am reminded of an incident that occured on a trek organised by the Youth Hostels Association, in the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra.We were crossing a river on foot and the water was up to my knees (and up to the thighs for the other folks, of course!). Then a dog came up from behind and took a slightly different course across the river, where the water hardly reached above its ankles! Needless to add, all of us felt more than a little silly and then sheepishly followed our canine fellow-trekker.


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