In most of the societies donkeys are used as working animals, often forced to do more work than their small bodies can bear. And because they can be bought at a very cheap rate, they are often mistreated.
In the present age when rarely someone sheds a tear for the suffering and pain of other humans, it would be hopeless to even think that people would care for low-status animal like donkeys.
However South African photographer Joanne Lefson is one such being, who understood the plight of the donkeys of Ladakh region in India and took the initiative to set up the first donkey sanctuary of the country in Ladakh in the year 2008.
Respect for the lives of the donkeys in the sanctuary has been shown in such a manner like never before. The sanctuary is primarily funded by Joanne Lefson and the local affairs are looked after by Stany Wangchuk.
Donkeys inhabiting the sanctuary are primarily those which can no longer work, because of some disability or due to old age.
The sanctuary has not been established with the sole motive of profit. This is evident from the expenditure Joanne has to bear. The food bill of the donkeys sums up to Rs.4, 000 per day. The diet given to them includes wheat, biscuits, grass and medicines.
Moreover, the monthly rent adds up to Rs.30, 000 for the property. Joanne pays most of the bills for the sanctuary, managing 1 per cent from the donations.
However, some of the donors complain that why the donkeys are allowed to mate and conceive. They argue that there are already several other such donkeys, present outside the sanctuary, which need help.
Joanne talking about his experience says, “It has been a fantastic experience so far- and I plan to return each year to feed my ‘children’ carrots and everything else that’s sweet in life.”
The sanctuary intends to look after more needy animals in the future and provide shelter to at least 40 donkeys at a time. Implementation of this whole idea would cost INR 3,75,000 which includes land rent, transportation and food.
Apart from this, expense for salary of the caretaker, manager and the vet doctor also needs to be managed by the sanctuary.
Leh is a Himalayan village that expands over 45100 sq.kms. in the Jammu & Kashmir state of India. The expanse of the village is covered by three parallel mountain ranges, namely the Zanskar, Karakoram and the Ladakh ranges. Between these ranges flow three prominent rivers – Indus, Shyok and Zanskar. The valleys of these rivers are where the communities of Leh live in. Once a capital that housed the Royal family of Ladakh, Leh is now one of the prominent tourist attractions in India. It lies around 3500 metres above sea level, with a climate that is often paralleled to that of a cold desert. Being mountainous with the snow covered stretches, it is the most beautiful summer vacation spot in the North of India. If planning a vacation with your partner, you can check out a Leh Ladakh package for couple and enjoy a great trip without any hassle.
The Old Town of Leh was added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of the 100 most endangered sites due to climate change. The roads to Leh get blocked multiple times every year by snowfalls.
Snow-capped peaks and flowery valleys are the natural beauty of Leh, while colourful flags around the place lure in the most adventurous of travellers from all around the world. A trip to Leh is truly a getaway from the hustle and bustle of cities and into the wild isolation and peace that these mountain tops offer. It is perfect for those who are on a soul-searching journey or simply looking for a break from everyday life. Here are five destinations in Leh which you shouldn’t miss out when you are vacationing there. They account for the whole unique experience of Leh and Ladakh.
Leh is snow covered during most parts of the year. It lies in the shadows of the great Himalayas. The Khardung La pass in Leh is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. It offers mesmerising views of the whole Leh Valley from a height of around 5359 metres above sea level. Surrounded by mountains, the road was opened in 1988 and is maintained by the Indian Army. The Kahrdung La pass is a gateway to two of the magnificent valleys in Leh – the Nubra Valley and the Shyok Valley. It is also a gateway to the famous Siachen glacier, one of the coldest places on Earth where entry is restricted to people due to its strategic prominence. It attracts tourists for the dangerous and exciting drive the pass offers. The most adrenaline driven of the riders go all the way up to the pass on motorcycles. The pass is mostly covered in snow, and it is not easy to be traversed at every time of the year.
Pangong-Tso is the Tibetan name for the high grassland lake. Situated at an altitude of 4350 metres, it is 134 km long lake that extends to over both Indian and Tibetan Chinese lands. During winters it freezes completely, despite being saline in nature. Thus, the best time to visit the lake is during the summer when the waters are cool but flowing. It is home and breeding ground to a number of migratory birds such as the Bar-headed goose and the Black-necked cranes, seagulls and Brahmini ducks.
Pangong is an endorheic lake. It means that the lake does not flow out into rivers or oceans. Rather it forms a vast closed in water body which spreads over around 600 sq.kms. The lake is situated at a five-hour distance from the town of Leh. The journey itself can be a mesmerising experience for the travellers. You drive over the Chang La pass to get the first view of the shining waters that seem to stretch out limitlessly before you. It is a paradise for photography lovers. One of the most alluring things about the Pangong Lake is that it keeps changing colours. Adventure lovers also have the option to camp overnight along the shores of the lake.
The Magnetic Hill or the Gravity Hill is located at a distance of 30 km distance from Leh. It is a stretch of road in the Leh-Kargil Highway which is known to have magnetic properties that can pull cars uphill. However, in reality, the effect is an optical illusion. Stationary vehicles get pulled up in this part of the Highway. Warning boards placed along the road tell you what to do once you get closer to the road. The vehicle should be put in a neutral gear as you stop by the hill and then on you can move only at a speed of 20km per hour.
The hill lies at an altitude of 14,000 feet from the sea level in the Trans-Himalayan region. The river Sindhu flows along the Eastern side of the Magnetic Hills. The view thus provided by nature is nothing short of spell-binding.
The Nubra Valley in Leh is formed at the meeting point of the Shyok and the Siachen river. It separates Ladakh and the Karakoram ranges and lies at an altitude of 10,000 ft above sea level. The valley can be accessed through the Khardung La pass. The region is highly protected and requires special permits to be visited, for both Indian and Foreign nationals. The town of Diskit in Nubra Valley has 32 metres high Maitreya Buddha statue. The Diskit Buddhist monastery was built in AD 1420. The remote village of Hundar in Nubra Valley is the geographical border of India. It is restricted to tourists since 2010. Hundar is known for the dunes amidst the Himalayan ranges, where camels are seen to graze. The extremes of nature thus meet in the Nubra Valley.
A historically significant place, Kargil is a land with great stories to tell, prominent of which is the Kargil war of 1999. It also happens to be the second largest town in Leh. The Central Asian Museum of Leh is located in the Kargil Valley. It offers a closer look at the history of the land, both ancient and modern. From the Museum, you can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the deep river valley of Kargil.