Tso Kar Lake and the Rupshu Nomads; Black-necked Cranes and the Ruddy Shelduck

After leaving Puga, we crossed a high pass, the name escapes me just now, and made our way down to the eastern shores of Tso Kar, a salt-rimmed lake that rests at around 14,500ft (4500m). In previous days, the salt was collected by the nomads and exported to Tibet. The eastern shores are home to the Rupshu nomads, Ladakhi nomads who have been inhabiting the shores of the lake since before time was counted by a timepiece. There are a few portraits of the Rupshu included in this collection.

On this trip we would be treated to some wildlife encounters. There used to be only 3 or 4 breeding pairs of black-necked cranes in Ladakh, mostly near Tso Moriri Lake, while all the rest were on the Tibetan side of the Changtang. This year there were not only black-necked cranes near the Tso Kar lake, but also the ruddy shelduck. Both were found in relative abundance. A few images of them against the landscape are included here too.

Tsering Phutsok driving towards Tso Kar

A shepherd watches over his sheep along the shores of Tso Kar lake on the Changtang plateau

A still-frozen section of Tso Kar lake and a black-necked crane

Two ruddy shelduck’s fly overhead, while two black-necked cranes forage near the shore.

Black-necked cranes in the Himalaya

A ruddy shelduck prepares to take off from the ice

A nomad crosses the tundra near the shores of Tso Kar

Rupshu nomads using prayer beads and making yarn from sheep’s wool

A Rupshu nomad

A Rupshu nomad

Horses flee an incoming storm

A nomad and his kid

A Rusphu nomad rides his horse past a yak and across the landscape

Click here to http://www.nomadruss.com/#!/portfolio/G0000k_j7pxGtJGQ see a full collection of images from north India.

Next week we’ll take a look at the western side of Tso Kar.

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26 thoughts on “Tso Kar Lake and the Rupshu Nomads; Black-necked Cranes and the Ruddy Shelduck

  1. So peaceful, pristine, and breathtakingly beautiful. And when I look at the people, makes me inclined to believe that the first Native Americans did cross the Bering Sea, even though they say they were always on this land.

    • Next week you’ll see some turquoise and coral jewelry that will certainly make you feel as though you’re on Navajo land. I don’t think there’s any question the peoples are cousins.

  2. Amazing photos. Do the nomads or anyone else on your travels ever give you a hard time about taking their pictures? If so, how do you approach them to ask? Even if people don’t give you a hard time, how do you ask them. I’ve thought about taking pictures of people in the US but would not want to offend people. I’ve thought about getting business cards with my blog so people understand I’m just reporting on my adventures and capturing those people that I encounter. Thoughts?

    • You know, most all of the time people are great. There has been an occasion, most notably one in Morocco, where someone was upset, but it’s rare. Most of my asking is non-verbal, and when people say no I accept it, after a brief bit of pouting, haha. I’ve shot people in the US, and I do often give them my business card. I do often verbally ask, and most people are great about it, even flattered. On a recent trip to Georgia I spoke with a family on their porch, and they said no, and I still grieve because it would have been such a classic southern shot, but as they say in India, what to do? I do sometimes explain that I’m telling a story about the region and I want to include them. Most of the time people agree. It helps to have an extroverted streak in you…

  3. I love your photos, they are beautiful. I also enjoy that you educate us, your followers about what exactly we are looking at (i.e. place/region, people, animals, culture). I like the image of the ruddy shelduck preparing to fly.

    • Thanks so much, I like that people ask questions when I don’t fully explain something, as it makes me see things through the viewers eyes too. It’s fun to have a conversation around them. Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Just had a chance to view your blog…the journey continues to be an amazing one…we’re lucky you got the invite to do the documentary. 🙂

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