Pastoralists in The Mountain Ranges


A person who chooses herding and guarding sheep as their occupation is known as Pastoral. Pastoralism is one of the oldest occupations in the world, it is the most popular part of animal husbandry in the world. Pastoral is an important part of the economy. Unlike farmers, Pastoral workers were often wage workers who were paid to look after the sheep of others. The Pastoral also lived separately from the society due to being largely nomadic.

Pastoralists in the Modern World

Pastoralists developed as an occupation developed in various parts of the world. In lowland areas and valleys it is important to graze and protect sheep and cattle. The most important areas of pastoralism are the Middle East, Greece, the Pyrenees, the Carpathian Mountains, Scotland, and northern England.

Sheeps are the invention of European discovery and pastoralism became particularly important in Australia and New Zealand, spread far beyond the nineteen counties of New South Wales, occupying properties and vast holdings now called stations.

In the 19th century, Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir migrated to the mountains in search of pasture for their animals. During the winter, they migrated to the lower hills of the Shivalik range. By the end of April, they began their northern march to their summer pasture. This journey is known as "Convoy".

Pastoralist in the Mountain Range

Gujjar- Bakarwal

A large and influential section of the Gurjar society is called 'Bakarwal'.They have been given this name by Kashmiri-speaking scholars. The other name of the people of the Gurjar community is also Bakarwal. A large number of people belonging to the Bakarwal community do the work of grazing sheep. There are many leaders who, despite being Bakarwals, prefer to call themselves Gurjar leaders.

Gurjars and Bakarwals can be divided into three parts.

  • Some Gurjars and Bakarwals are completely nomadic. These people live only in the forests and they have no place to live.

  • Partial nomads (semi-nomads) fall in the second category. According to Javed Rahi, these are those people who have a place to live somewhere and they go to the nearby forests for some time and after spending some time come back to their tent.

  • The third category includes refugee nomads (migratory nomads) who have a dhoka (place of residence) in the mountainous areas and also have a place to live in the plains.


  • The Gaddi tribe is found on the western border of Himachal Pradesh. Their stature is similar to that of the Rajput community of Rajasthan's Marubhuti. It also speaks of itself as the descendants of the 'Gadhvi' rulers of Rajasthan.

  • This tribe believes that in order to maintain the purity of religion and society during the invasion of the Mughals, they left Rajasthan and settled here in the safe parts of the holy Himalayas.

  • At present, the people of the Gaddi tribe are settled in the Chamba and Kangra districts of Himachal Pradesh in the lower parts of the Dhauladhar range.

  • Initially, they settled in the higher mountainous parts, but later gradually they established their settlements in the lower ranges, valleys and flat parts of Dhauladhar mountain also.

  • After this, gradually this tribe got mixed with the local tribes by making good contacts and relations and established itself completely.

  • Mostly the colour of the people of the Gaddi tribe is wheat or proud and sometimes light brown also. These tribes are somewhat shorter than the Rajput class, but their nose-maps still match them. Therefore, at present, the height of short men is usually 128 to 135 cm. and 3 to 5 cm for females.


  • The Bhutia are a Himalayan people who are believed to have migrated south from Tibet in the ninth century or later. The people of this tribe are also called 'Bhotia' or 'Bhot' and 'Bhutani'.

  • These people mostly live in hilly places. The people of the Bhotia tribe cultivate by making terraced fields on the mountain slopes. They regard the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader.

  • The Bhutias form the majority of the population of India's neighbouring country of Bhutan and are minorities in Nepal and India, especially the Indian state of Sikkim.

  • They speak various languages of the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Bhotia are hill people living in small villages and isolated plots separated by almost impassable terrain.

  • The people of this tribe are more dependent on agriculture. These people do terrace farming on the mountain slopes and mainly grow rice, maize and potato crops. Some of these are cattle breeders, known for cattle and yaks.


  • Sherpa mountain dwellers of Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim, belong to the Bhutia tribe. It is basically a caste living in the hills of East Nepal.

  • The body and stamina of Sherpa people who believe in Buddhism are perfectly suited for mountaineering.

  • Sherpa people have successfully completed many mountaineering expeditions. Sherpas are people of Tibetan culture and lineage and speak the Tibetan dialect.

  • These people number around 120,000 and are famous for their work as coolies in the high mountains of the Himalayas.

  • Sherpa people are carried along on any mountain expedition as a helper. Leading the expedition to rope, set routes, and climb.


The pastorals are an internal part of our history. They proved very important for our importance. Despite many hurdles and identity crises, they maintained to show their devotion to the path of labour and honesty. The beauty of mountains is solely secured by these pastorals.


Q1. How did pastoralism evolve?

Ans. Most of the people of this community came here in the nineteenth century wandering in search of pastures for their cattle. As time went on they stayed here; After this, they started going to different pastures according to winter and summer.

Q2. How did pastoral life change during colonial rule?

Ans. The life of the shepherds underwent profound changes during colonial rule. Their pastures were reduced, restrictions were imposed on their movement and the rent collected from them also increased. Their share in agriculture started declining and their profession and skills were also badly affected.

Q3. Who are Banjaras?

Ans. These people lived in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. They used to travel long distances in search of pastures. These people used to sell cattle to farmers and buy grain and fodder in return.

Q4. How have pastorals benefited the environment?

Ans. This continuous movement of nomadic communities has the following benefits to the environment. The fertility of the land is maintained due to the frequent relocation of the nomadic communities (nomads). After they have moved to another location, the space left by them regains fertility.