The Dogs of Ladakh

Juley!! Just before I was about to leave for Ladakh, someone told me to carry a 50mm because the town offers for some interesting portraits. People from the hills have features that make them amazing subjects. Once I reached, however, I figured that the same was true for dogs there. Now when I sit and look at the snaps, almost all the portraits focus on dogs.  Here I try to share some of the interesting dogs I had the opportunity to interact with. Introducing The Dogs of Ladakh.

The first thing that always catches my eyes when it comes to the dogs from the hills is their fur. The fur is always magic. This guy was enjoying a Sunday afternoon and our presence made him very curious. Yet, he was extremely calm. Captured just outside Shanti Stupa, I think the calmness was meant to be.
When Mr Dalai Lama said “Sleep is the best meditaton,” he sure did not expect followers to take his words so seriously. The irony and also the interesting part is that this guy was sleeping on the rooftop of a monastery. Who is gonna trouble him in a monastery when all he is doing is following Mr Lama. Probably this is why Jane Casey says “There are two things that cannot be taken back- the sped arrow and the spokenword.’
I was about to travel to Chiling from leh and the car which was picking us up was around 500 meters away. While walking down to the car, I had biscuits in my hand. This guy probably saw them and followed me all the way to the car. I did not share a single biscuit with him and he kept staring. Unfortunately, the driver was not inside and I just stood there feeling guilty as I ate the last biscuit. 5 minutes later, the situation was the same: no driver, puppy face, and a guilt trip. Out of this guilt, I decided to get more biscuits and this time only for the dog. I bent down, offered him a bite but he refused to eat. He was not even interested. So, I kept a couple of biscuits in front of him but he showed zero interest. The driver soon came and I got into the car. What amazed me was that the pup sat outside for a bit, looking at me in the same way as before. When the driver switched on the engine, the pup got up and quietly started walking back in the direction from which he came. It was then I realized that this one had no interest in the food. He just walked with me to the car to drop me and say goodbye and probably wish me luck. And now that he said bye, he was walking back. Its just super beautiful as to how dogs can sense when someone is about to leave or someone is about to come. Everyone who has lived with a dog will connect to this beautiful sixth sense.
This guy is Lucky, resident of Park Field in Leh. In the morning, he is all playful and will come greet you and stuff. In the night, he will bark at you mercilessly. Trust me, this cycle will continue for ever.
As we were heading to the palace, the roads of Leh bombarded us with a puppy express: 6 pups less than a couple of months old running around.  I immediately started clicking photos, sometimes getting very close to the pups. While I was taking my shots, this guy was watching me very carefully. He did not like me getting close to the pups. A while later, he started blocking all my shots but in a very gentle way. He was very protective about the pups. He was the best elder brother.
I  want to assert on the fact that all dogs are not the same. Every single dog has a trait of his own. Growing up with a German Shepherd, I know this for sure. My dog was instilled with pride, a pride that you could see in his eyes. He was majestic and would normally not beg or crave to be pampered. Of course, he would get over excited at times, specially when a family member would return home after a long time. But in normal situations, he would always demonstrate a sense of self-content and his posture and stance always reflected dignity. Growing up with him was probably the reason I connected with this Ladakhi so much. The eyes, posture, and stance demonstrated pride. Beautiful, whole, perfect, pride. Reminded me of someone special.
Some dogs are simple plain mystery. I dont know anything about him but that he likes looking down hills. When we went up the stairs he was there. When we came back he was there. Waiting like this. He didnt look back.
To close this photo story, I would like to present to you the most well guarded feet in Ladakh. This gentleman has absolutely nothing to worry about in life.

All photographs by Twisted Shanti. Stay Inspired, Stay Blessed. 

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