Gaddis, as I could recall from my childhood memories, used to be our winter guests. As the winter wear started to comfort cold-suffering beings, clad in their typical-most attire, chola (A thick coat of wool tied at the waist with a rope belt), remembering their gaddans (wives) in their love songs, they approach the foothill areas including Kangra and Hamirpur districts of Himachal, driving their flocks of sheep and goat. And not to forget their dogs, gaddi kutte, who follow the flocks like shadow.
Gaddis have always been the mysterious people in child brains who were always seen in winters. It was only when they started to rest their herds in our fields that I started to talk to them, which probably was the start of a bond that made me to wait for them in the winter months. Sleeping in their makeshift homes and eating their foods (mostly dominated by goat dairy) still make for some fond memories of childhood.
Though I used to enjoy their company, little did I know visiting the foothills in winter is actually a tradition for this wonderful shepherd tribe which inhabits the terrains of the Dhaula Dhar and Pir Panjal ranges of Himachal Pradesh.
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