Sheep come home. At Langza Village in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, located in a far far place at an altitude of 14,000 deep in the mountains.
As the sun sets and it is nearly dark, the sheep that have gone grazing during the day return home. So do the cows and donkeys.
They are not the only animals of the village. Horses do not come home, and are fetched when needed. The yaks never come – they stay grazing in the highlands and are milked and managed from wherever they are.
Animals have played in important role in the culture of these mountains. Centuries ago, when there was little movement between Spiti and outside world, people almost lived a self-subsistent lifestyle. The livestock played a key role in making it happen. They were used for meat in winter months when nothing could be grown (and nothing was imported) on the land. The fur was used for making warm clothes that are essential for the cold weather. Butter, and perhaps milk, were among the essential energizing foods that helped survive the mountain weather. Perhaps living here wasn’t possible if not for the animals.