Nomads of Ladakh

For thousands of years Buddhist Tibetan nomads have reared rare mountain goats at altitudes of over 5000 meters above sea level.  They live as a single family in isolation or in a group consisting of approximately 4 to 5 families. Their homes are accessible only by foot. Conditions are harsh and life is risky. Avalanches, snow storms and snow leopards have taken many lives.

At these high altitudes, temperatures can drop to below -35°C in winter. As a protective measure, the Pashmeena goat develops a fine soft and thick layer of under hair/fleece. This is the material of the Pashmeena called Pashme. Its local name is ‘Leena’. Pashme is collected by the nomadic community every June (after every winter),  by gently combing the hair out. Traditionally, using a comb made of ibex horn. By October this underfleece starts growing back for another round of winter. Raw Pashme is odorous, combined with dandruff and quite dirty! The lively hoods of these nomads are based on selling this to Kashmiri merchants.