Gujjar Village

Logan Shaw

A few days ago we visited a Gujjar village. We started out the day by hopping in a trailer on the back of a tractor. It was a lot of fun and we bounced along the dirt road for about twenty minutes through the jungle. It was a really pretty drive and we could look through the trees up at the mountains. When we got to the village it was a beautiful sight. There were a bunch of huts made out of clay and they were painted colors of blue and yellow and had roofs that were made out of straw. There were also water buffalo roaming everywhere in the village. The Gujjar people’s livelihood is managing water buffalo. They sell their milk to the towns and villages around them because of its unique properties. People make candies and other items out of the water buffalo’s milk. The buffalo were really cute; they had the same demeanor as dogs. They were super scruffy and had funny looking horns. 

We walked around the village for a while and looked at all the houses they had. The houses are built to keep a cool temperature inside even when hot (which it normally is). We had a guide telling us about their culture which was pretty interesting. Some aspects are very traditional such as not allowing the girls to leave the village or use cell phones. They also were cutting down a lot of the trees to feed their cattle. They would climb up into the trees and cut the leaves off so that their cows and water buffalo could eat. While this creates friction within the Indian government (who are trying to remove them from this national forest) it has been their way of living for generations and they currently have ancestral rights to the land. We also got to see how they built the houses because they were building one for a couple that was going to get married. The women were building it and were making it out of logs with mud for the walls. Since the women were using machetes, it made me wonder what I could do with a machete so I made a bet with one of our chaperones, Robert, that I could cut through a log in under half an hour, but we weren’t able to find a machete to test it with. It was very interesting to see a whole different way of living that I never had seen before.