Himachal Pradesh: Kullu on horseback

Himachal Pradesh:  Kullu on horseback
A Gaddi shepherd leads his sheep to the meadow near the Bijli Mahadev temple. The entire stretch from Tondla to Matikocchar is Gaddi territory, with the shepherds setting up camp with their sheep at almost every meadow along the way. A preferred location , Photo Credit: Sankar Sridhar

Horse safari through the beautiful meadows in Oublde, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, home to the Bijli Mahadev temple. Texts and photographs by Sankar Sridhar


July 14 , 2014
02 Min Read

A Gaddi shepherd leads his sheep to the meadow near the Bijli Mahadev temple. The entire stretch from Tondla to Matikocchar is Gaddi territory, with the shepherds setting up camp with their sheep at almost every meadow along the way. A preferred location is the open, grassy ground surrounding the Bijli Mahadev temple. Apart from the grass, the shepherds also believe that the Lord will protect their sheep from the predators that call the surrounding forest home.
First light catches smoke rising from the spent bonfire of the night before at Nawatapo camp on day two. Set in a tiny clearing with a pine, fir and oak forest, the campsite was the best on the trek.
Saddling up horses in Oublde - Ramchander reaches for a saddle as Bravo, Rebo and Chetak look on. These horses have been weaned on the joy of sprinting and look forward to being saddled up and commanded to run. All they ask for in return is that their ears be scratched and that they be given the odd pat on the neck.
Bravo rears up before breaking into a gallop on the way to the Bijli Mahadev temple. Ramchander is the young Turk in Nitin's team. Not content with having horses gallop, trot and stop at his command, he uses the off-season to teach the ones with 'potential' other tricks as well. His current favourite is Bravo, who gets a kick out of stunts such as these - but only when Ramchander rides him.
View from a tea shop near Bijli Mahadev. Its proximity to Kullu town makes the temple popular among the tourists. Several shops in the meadow below the temple sell biscuits, water, tea, Maggi and seats to rest weary legs, before the final climb to the temple.
Nitin (the tour guide) leads the herd on a trail-less ridge on the way to Oublde, even as the skies threaten to open up. Having lost a day to rain already, gaining altitude was the only way to beat the rain gods at their game.
The horses take a break at the end of a long and tiring day.
The Beas River snakes its way through the Upper Kullu Valley, as seen from a grassy patch behind the Bijli Mahadev temple.


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