Kashmir's nomads migrate to lower reaches ahead of winter

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Srinagar, Oct 14 : Hundreds of tribals in Kashmir's upper reaches have begun migrating to warmer plains along with their cattle ahead of the harsh winter season.

The nomadic "Bakarwal" (shepherd) tribesmen along with their kin and flocks of cattle indulge in the bi-annual exercise traversing virtually almost entire length of the Himalayan state involving hundreds of kilometers of walking.

"This year, winter has set in early, so we came here, the cold weather has already set in there," said Mohammad Hanief, a nomad.

"It is very cold out there, therefore we have started migrating. We are poor people and need to earn something for our livelihood. We might go to Punjab also," said Abdul Wahid, another nomad.

Bakarwals lead a nomadic life in the high-altitude meadows of the Himalayas and the Pir-Panjal mountain range.

Every year, they take their sheep high into the mountains, above the tree-line to graze in the lush meadows. It may take them as many as sixty days to reach these meadows.

During the summer, they move from one meadow to the other. They generally travel in pairs but sometimes they may go alone or in larger groups depending upon the number of sheep and goats to be taken care of.

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