The Mountain woman

Morup Stanzin
The special bonding between Tsering and her lifetime companion goats and sheep make her forget everything in life. Tsering Palmo is the only women Shepherdess left in her Gya village who started grazing goats and sheep in the Mountain from a very young age of 11 years.
Initially her younger brother Stanzin Dorjai used to accompany her to graze her goat and sheep but later Stanzin left the Mountain to study in the city. Stanzin now a renowned International film maker made a film on her sister’s lifestyle in the Mountain and produced “The Shepherdess of the Glaciers” directed by him and Christiane Mordelet which won the best director award at the Mountain International Film Festival, held in Austrans, France. So she was left alone in the Mountain but thankfully her friend Lhamo who also choose to be shepherd became her best companion in the Mountain. Unfortunately, Lhamo died in the Mountain few months back after a brief illness which left Tsering in shock and grief. Tsering now 55 years old spends nearly 10 months in the high snowcapped deserted Himalayan Mountains of Ladakh roaming in the valley in search of good pasture for her goats and sheep.
Tsering’s family has nearly 350 high breed pashmina yielding goats which is the main source of livelihood to feed her entire family. She has so much attraction and love towards these animal that she recognizes each goats and sheep individually and all of them have separate names. These goats and sheep are lifetime companions she loves to be with all the time. Living a solitarily life in the Mountain, Radio is the only source of entertainment and of course source of information to know the world. Apart from harsh temperature going down as low as -30 degrees, constant threats of wolves and snow leopards keeps her on toes to save the livestock. Now her family advises her to stay back at home as a Shepherdess she has to lead a hard life but she refuses and says as long as she is fit to go in the Mountain she will continue to be Shepherdess.” Her brother Urgain Phuntsog visits her once in a month to check if there is any ration or clothing requirement.
She says that most of her friends from village prefer to work as labours in GREF road construction activities but she chose to be a Shepherdess in the high Mountain of Ladakh. Living in the Mountain gives her so much of happiness and satisfaction that she rejected a marriage proposal and chose to be a single. Her brother Stanzin took her to France for a short trip, giving her an opportunity to travel out of Ladakh for the first time. She found lifestyle of France totally different from the life in Ladakh but interestingly nothing gives her more satisfaction than to stay in the Mountains.