Heading west from Leh on the road to Kashmir, we follow the Indus river. The Indus river, from where India gets its name, originates in Southern Tibet, from the slopes of the great and sacred Mount Kailash.
The snows of Mount Kailash give rise to 4 great rivers that traverse epic journeys of thousands of kilometres over the plateaus of Tibet, through the Himalayan mountains and the plains of the Indian subcontinent, sustaining the lives of a Billion people along the way.
The Satluj flows west – known as Langchen Khabab to Tibetans (River originating from the Elephant’s mouth)
The Karnali flows south – known as Mapcha Khabab to Tibetans (River originating from the Peacock’s mouth)
The Brahmaputra flows east – known as Tachok Khabab to Tibetans (River originating from the Horse’s mouth)
I had a great time playing hide and seek with her and the other kids. A little pixie she was. A little pixie with great spirit. I wonder how she’s doing and what became of her.
We were heading to Jigmet’s village, Skyurbuchan, along the Indus river. Along the way, we diverted through an area called Dah-Hanu, where the inhabitants claim to be of pure Aryan ancestry descendent from the time of Alexander the Great, when he invaded India over 2 thousand years ago.
I saw lots of wildlife; Marmots, Wolves, Blue Sheep, Ibex, Eagles but we never did see a Snow Leopard in all this time wandering the mountains of Ladakh. We saw shit. No really, we saw leopard shit, we saw leopard tracks, we saw leopard markings, we even saw the carcass of a Blue sheep killed by a Snow Leopard. But to be honest, I almost felt relieved that we didn’t see one. The Snow Leopard is a mythical beast for me, a symbol of wild earth and all that is still primeval in this world. And I am happy in the knowledge that there are still secrets out there. There are still things and places hidden from Google and till the last Snow Leopard is photographed, tracked, trapped, radio collared and neutered, there is hope for the wild things amongst us.