‘Mesmerising’ Meadow: A Photo Essay

Heyjin village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district is a visual treat. With breathtaking landscapes and charming meadows, the village doesn’t bear any impressions of maddening crowd and pace of city life. Kashmir Life’s Photojournalist, Bilal Bahadur spends a few days with nomads to explore one of the virgin meadows of vale surrounding by towering pines.

Streaming Marvel: Streams add to the beauty of Brenwar. The flow of water echoes melodious sound in the air, which apparently sets a meditating mood in a person.
Streaming Marvel:  Streams add to the beauty of Heyjin. The flow of water echoes melodious sound in the air, which apparently sets a meditating mood in a person. 
Previewing Picture:  It is no monkey land. But most of them do make their presence felt in Brenwar. There are Gujjar and Bakerwal populations who live here.
Peeking Posers: Apart from Gujjars and Bakerwals, scores of monkeys make their presence felt in Heyjin.
Striding Stallions: Brenwar is unaffected by the changing lifestyle of cities. It has all elements of rural life, which makes it appealing for onlookers.
Striding Stallions:  Heyjin is unaffected by the changing lifestyle of cities. It has all elements of rural life, which makes it appealing for onlookers.
Dotted Pasture: During day time entire landscape is filled with herds of sheep spread across the green turf like white dots on a canvas.
Dotted Pasture: During day time entire landscape is filled with flock of sheep spread across the green turf like white dots on a canvas.
Nomadic Abodes: Life is simple in Heyjin. Nomads are livinh in wooden Kothas here. According to state law only Gujjars or Bakerwals can construct a Kotha on the forest land.
Nomadic Abodes:  Life is simple in Heyjin. Nomads live in wooden Kothas here. Heyjin is a small hillock which has some 15 odd wood and mud Kothas build on it. Keeping the long and cold nights in mind these Kothas are build in such a way that half of the structure remains hidden under the hill. According to state law only Gujjars or Bakerwals can construct a Kotha on the forest land.
Closer Look: These women live a life of no comfort. As their day begins at the crack of the dawn, a cycle of chores follows. Milking cows, preparing meals, taking herds to pasture, visiting forests to collect firewood, returning back…They never seem to take a break in between and yet, they have no complains with life.
Closer Look:  These women live a life of no comfort. As their day begins at the crack of the dawn, a cycle of chores follows. Milking cows, preparing meals, taking herds to pasture, visiting forests to collect firewood, returning back…They never seem to take a break in between and yet, they have no complains with life.
Routine Walk:  An elderly lady is returning home from woods after collecting firewood.
Routine Walk:  An elderly lady returning home from woods after collecting firewood.
Twosome Awesome: Childhood friends, first cousins and sisters-in-law, Zoon and Khatoon, both in their late sixties, live aloof from the civilization in a gujjar Kotha in Heyjin, a vast meadow about an hour’s walk from their home in Brenwar village in district Budgam.
Twosome Awesome:  Childhood friends, first cousins and sisters-in-law, Zoon and Khatoon, both in their late sixties, live aloof from the civilization in a gujjar Kotha in Heyjin, a vast meadow about an hour’s walk from their home in Brenwar village in district Budgam.
Splendid Sight: If there is one thing which Hayjin is capable to do, it is to fill senses with delight and wonder.
Splendid Sight:  If there is one thing which Hayjin is capable to do: it is to fill senses with delight and wonder.
Hosting Flock: The lush green cover of meadow plays host to countless sheep on daily basis.
Hosting Flock:  The lush green cover of meadow plays host to countless sheep on daily basis.
Friends Forever: Every April, Zoon and Khatoon pack essentials like food, beddings, kerosene oil, an electric torch, utensils, clothes etc. and set out for Heyjin with three cows and five sheep they own to stay in the lap of nature.
Friends Forever:  Every April, Zoon and Khatoon pack essentials like food, beddings, kerosene oil, an electric torch, utensils, clothes etc. and set out for Heyjin with three cows and five sheep they own to stay in the lap of nature.
Unplugged Countryside: For next six months, apart from their small herd of sheep and cows, they [Zoon and Khatoon] have each other for company. They live in isolation, under tall pine trees, beside a small stream that serves their water needs, with a vast open sky above to guard them.
Unplugged Countryside:  For next six months, apart from their small herd of sheep and cows, they [Zoon and Khatoon] have each other for company. They live in isolation, under tall pine trees, beside a small stream that serves their water needs, with a vast open sky above to guard them.
Picture Perfect: Being one of those places in Kashmir, where human intervention is next to nothing, Heyjin presents perfect picture.
Picture Perfect:  Being one of those places in Kashmir, where human intervention is next to nothing, Heyjin presents perfect picture.
Sunset Shades: Even dipping of sun at dusk, behind peaks, fills sky with marvel.
Sunset Shades:  Even dipping of sun at dusk, behind peaks, fills sky with marvel here.
Inside Out: They live in isolation, under tall pine trees, beside a small stream that serves their water needs, with a vast open sky above to guard them. The kitchen itself is bare of any furniture. Just a small dhaan (earthen stove) which doubles as stove and fire place to keep the place warm.
Inside Out:  The kitchen itself is bare of any furniture. Just a small dhaan (earthen stove) which doubles as stove and fire place to keep the place warm.
Attending Guests: This year Zoon and Khatoon had some unexpected guests at their Kotha. It was Yibel Wagey’s family that has come to stay with them. Zoon and Khatoon had given them two rooms – one for the family and other for their expecting animals and new mothers.
Attending Guests:  This year Zoon and Khatoon had some unexpected guests at their Kotha. It was Yibel Wagey’s family that has come to stay with them. Zoon and Khatoon had given them two rooms – one for the family and other for their expecting animals and new mothers.
Alongside Shepherd: Wagey is a professional shepherd who earns his living by taking care of the sheep owned by people from across Kashmir. This year Wagey and his family are travelling with 650 sheep (including 35 he owns), 32 horses (including two which the family uses for transportation of essentials from one place to another), 30 goats and 20 buffalos.
Alongside Shepherd:  Wagey is a professional shepherd who earns his living by taking care of the sheep owned by people from across Kashmir. 
Stocking Flock: This year Wagey and his family are travelling with 650 sheep (including 35 he owns), 32 horses (including two which the family uses for transportation of essentials from one place to another), 30 goats and 20 buffalos.
 Flocking Out:  This year Wagey and his family are travelling with 650 sheep (including 35 he owns), 32 horses (including two which the family uses for transportation of essentials from one place to another), 30 goats and 20 buffalos.
Pasturing Delights: Every year on 21st of March, Wagey collects sheep, goat, horses and buffalos from across Kashmir against a set amount for a period of eight and half months.
Pasturing Delights:  Every year on 21st of March, Wagey collects sheep, goat, horses and buffalos from across Kashmir against a set amount for a period of eight and half months.
 Fairy Tales: Currently there are around fifteen other herdsmen like Wagey and his family who are in Heyjin with their sheep. During the night they all assemble at a single point to guard their herd from all directions from any possible danger.

Fairy Tale:  Currently there are around fifteen other herdsmen like Wagey and his family who are in Heyjin with their sheep. During the night they all assemble at a single point to guard their herd from all directions from any possible danger.
Idyllic Life: There is no electricity. No tap-water. No gas-connection. No traffic to make you scream out of desperation. No queues outside hospital wards. No internet. Life is simple. It is just Zoon, her childhood friend and sister-in-law Khatoon and their brood of cows and sheep.
Idyllic Life:  There is no electricity. No tap-water. No gas-connection. No traffic to make you scream out of desperation. No queues outside hospital wards. No internet. Life is simple. It is just Zoon, her childhood friend and sister-in-law Khatoon and their brood of cows and sheep.

Captioned By: Bilal Handoo

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you All who are Related with Kashmir life Especially photo master Bilal bahadur And great reporter Saima bhat.thanx once again 4 such kind of Photo feature.

  2. It is really a treat to watch. Nice job done by Kashmir Life team, especially Bilal Sahab. There are many other unexplored destinations in the Valley especially rural sector. Hope Kashmir Life team will start a new era in promoting Destination Kashmir.
    With Best Regards,
    IQBAL BHAT,
    Research Scholar, BHU, Varanasi.

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