Bakarwals are nomadic tribal spread across the Pir Panjal and Himalayas and are mostly shepherds. They live in tents and keep moving from one place to another. The dera is the basic unit of social setup among the Bakarwals and they define their households in terms of the deras. Their language is also known as Parimu or Hindki and is very different from the Kashmiri and the Dogri languages. They are largely Muslims, do not intermix with Kashmiris and are generally good natured and friendly in their own way.

While passing through Gumri and Mughalpura, we came across two deras of Bakarwals and spent some time with them. Their sharp features are quite remarkable and it was a great experience capturing their lives in our frames.

Bakarwals - Gumri

Bakarwal woman and children at the first dera we came across just after Gumri. They were quite camera friendly and did not hesitate in posing. However, what bothered us a lot was their incessant demand for bakshish (tips)

  • Camera – D7000,
  • A – f10
  • S – 1/320 s
  • ISO – 200
Bakarwal man with child

A man, not quite middle aged yet, in a traditional dress similar to the tribal men in NWFP sits with his infant child. Behind them we can see their dera (tent) made of mud, rocks and plastic sheets usually supplied by the army.

  • Camera – D7000,
  • A – f6.3
  • S – 1/320 s
  • ISO – 100
  • E -7
Bakarwal Woman

A young Bakarwal woman in front of her Dera, wearing all black. Like rest of Kashmir, they do not have to cover their faces.

  • Camera – D7000
  • A – f5.6
  • S – 1/500 s
  • ISO – 100
Bakarwal Latif

Horses are common companions of Bakarwals who still use them for transport and for carrying luggage. The gentleman in this photograph identified himself as Mohammed Latif and was happy to stand next to his horse and pose for us.

  • Camera – D7000,
  • A – f6.3
  • S – 1/400 s
  • ISO – 125
Bakarwal Old Man

I am not able to recall his name, but this old gentleman seemed like an important person at his dera.

  • Camera – D3000
  • A – f5.6
  • S – 1/500 s
  • ISO – 100
  • E -7
Bakarwal Old Man

And then he was sitting at his dera, taking puffs from his hukkah. Such a peaceful tranquil life !

  • Camera – D3000
  • A – f6.3
  • S – 1/400 s
  • ISO – 100
  • E -7
Bakarwal Old Man

While we were taking photos, an older gentleman came walking from a distance. He has this solitary look about him and a remarkable expression in his eyes.

  • Camera – D7000
  • A – f6.3
  • S – 1/320 s
  • ISO – 125