Shepherds of Kashmir

Towards Panjal and beyond.  Awarded Best Film in Non-feature film category.

What I really liked about the film was that it tried to capture the entire journey. The camera travels with the caravan as it heads towards the margs of Kashmir crossing the treacherous Panjals. The scenes follow the timeline of shooting for most part of the film. Shooting in strong winds and slippery mountains is a tough task.  Director writes“The horse carrying our equipment skidded and broke the solar charger. This limited our shooting hours so I had to use the camera judiciously to save my batteries.”

The translations are a bit off the mark. “Bakarwali go zamano ni de punjabi ban ja” translated into “If you don’t want to do it go to hell.” I cannot equate being a punjabi to going to hell.

Rajesh Koul’s film on Bakkarwals got the music right. Shepherds of Paradise has Kashmiri music playing the background which is not the part of culture that film tries to depict. Its strength is in depicting life of shepherd as he undertakes the journey every year and the film does that beautifully.

There are many passes that the shepherds use to travel across Panjals. I am guessing, this film was shot along the Darhal pass.

Rajauri-Darhal-Beloh-Aliabad Sarai-Hirpur-Shopian

Routes in Jammu & Kashmir (Thacker, Spink & co. 1897) lists other passes.
(via Hajipeer)
Poonch-Kahuta-Aliabad Sarai-Haidrabad-Uri-Baramullah-Pattan-Srinagar

(via Pajja Pass)

(via Gajjan Pass)

(via Nilkanta Pass)
Poonch-Kahuta-Hillun-Dangar Allan-Pharpat Marg-Gulmarg

(via Firozpur Pass)
Poonch-Mandi-Gagri-Banabali Nag-Firozpur-Magam-Srinagar

(via Zamir Pass)
Poonch-Mandi-Gagri Lower-Shinamani-Dunwas-Aripatan-Syboog-Srinagar

(Via Tosh Maidan)
Poonch-Mandi-SultanPathri-Tosh Maidan-Waterhel-Srinagar

(via Nurpur pass)

(via Pir Panjal Pass,Mughal Road)
Poonch-Suran-Baramgallah-Poshiana-Aliabad Serai-Dubjian-Hirpur-Shopian

(via Chotti Gali Pass)
Baramgallah-Hilloh-Loodur Marg-Surus-Kralpoora-Srinagar


2 thoughts on “Shepherds of Kashmir

  1. Pir Panjal The Ultimate Challenge and
    The Livestock of Freedom and human will

    The Shepherds of Kashmir and
    the wild and beautifull pastures of freedom.

    Bravo !

    This remarkable documentary shows an extraordinary personality
    and a somehow noble existential lfe form.

    The outline of the documentary is highly metaphoric as well as simple.

    Beautiful pictures which show both sides of nature : Beauty and Terror.

    Against the harsh and deadly conditions of his self choosen environment,Gafoor Sahib,
    proud mountain shepherd and psychological skillfull Bakharwal at the remarkable age of 75, is the centre of this documentary.

    His voice is strong and one is touched by the sense of responsibility through the overtones
    of his oral timbre…

    He leads an outstanding fight to preserve and cultivate his culture of
    freedom and the survival of his tribe (family clan).

    For my opinion this man is a brave warrior of man,s highest achievement
    which is at least FREDOM …and nothing else.

    Although he is a freedom Knight he is embedded
    strongly in spiriual believes.

    This Life-Form deserves any respect in any form.

    Under the strongest political and economic preessures which
    means the culture in one is thrown by birth , man has to choose a
    clear and destinct decision for freedom to protect
    the last single grain of his dignity and self- respect ,
    which makes him unique compared to anything else in the Universe…

    Thank you very much Sir for posting this educational impressive
    documentary here…


  2. I too watched it, few weeks back ! And loved and enjoyed it equally …

    What I liked most , was the part when the hardy nomads got caught in a snow-storm; that spoke of their courage and difficult life…that almost made my eyes water !

    And this documentary is definately an answer to ‘aarakshan’ critiques !

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