Kashmiri sled puller

A Kashmiri sled puller holding the reins of the sled on a snowy evening in Gulmarg
Kashmiri sled puller | Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir, India

When in Gulmarg, I came across a large number of these sled pullers and guides. I felt sorry for the men who have to go through the intense physical labour of pulling the sled (with the passenger sitting in it) uphill. Although I was very uncomfortable doing so, they insisted that I sit in one of the sled. When the sled runner tried to pull it uphill, I could see how much he struggled and offered to get out of the sled. It got me thinking about the amount of effort that goes into making a livelihood through a strenuous job like this. This sled puller was photographed on a GoPro during sunset in Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

191 Replies to “Kashmiri sled puller”

  1. Josh I must say you are an awesome Photographer. In addition you know how to imagine the things in a spectacular way and to present what you imagine. Hats off to you Man!!👍☺ and I mean that, literally👍🎩

  2. I have gone through similar kind of agony when I took the rickshaw for the first time. The boy was drenched in the sweat waiting and hopelessly waiting for some customers in freaking Delhi summer. Maybe he was not more than sixteen or seventeen.

  3. i sometime feel that early man was much better in terms of earning a livelihood…. they were dependent on nature and used barter system to exchange goods…. now we are dependent on another human being for the same…. we have made life so complicated that you have to earn money – to earn money you need to find a job…. and then only you can earn a livelihood…. otherwise you will die and no one cares now a days…….

    nice observation…..

  4. Gorgeous colours, frame, story …has it all…I would have been very uncomfortable too..but hey…it is all in the perspective. Go Pro…who needs a pro camera and expensive lenses!! ha, ha

  5. I love the photo, and your sentiments I truly share. Man serving man in such menial fashion is truly tragic. But for him, what can be the alternative, in this cruel world?

  6. A great photo and an interesting story Joshi! I can understand why you would feel uncomfortable. It is the dilemma of it not feeling right, but avoiding it would probably take away from the livelihood of the sled puller.

  7. Love the perspective and atmospheric feel of this shot, Joshi. Thanks, too, for the explanation, which enriches my understanding of what I’m seeing.

  8. I did come across sledge pullers in Gulmarg but my experience at Sonmarg was even better because the quality of snow was amazing. The road was cleared for tourist just a day ago and we were probably the first tourist to arrive at the start of the season. Of course, I walked uphill rather than sit in the sledge. I was surprised to see other grown up tourist sitting in the sledge and another assistant helping the sledge owner uphill! …That’s life!

  9. As always, a great photograph, but even better you describe what is happening. Cannot imagine that being a job I could do, but applaud their perseverance and faithfulness of doing their job daily, and the strength of character and fitness needed, I would think would keep them in great physical health.

    You seem like such a great person to feel bad for them and offer to get out. Prayers their job gets easier and they always have lighter customers.

    1. Thank you :) But for him it looked so normal. But for me it didn’t look nowhere near normal. Yeah as you said he should be in great fitness. But I have seen old people also doing this.

  10. I watched a video of a poverty-stricken family in Siberia. The father had to travel by sled across the tundra for miles to find a frozen lake, then cut a hole in it and drop a fishing net. Then, he traveled back home and returned a few days later to collect the families winter dinners which they stored in the snow. Imagine having to shop for dinner like this?

    Many of us do not realize what we have.

  11. The photo is a view of the spirit of man and the story proves that this man is stronger than most in the world. Although he knows nothing different, his indomitable spirit travels around the globe through sensitive people like you.

  12. The image is quite symbolic of all personal challenges. Sometimes we just don’t realize we can do something different. Although– it is indeed easier said than done.

  13. I felt the same, the do work hard, wish things will change for good. I loved the photograph ! I am googling for go pro, but do let me know in a few sentences whats this?

  14. Beautiful photo. Your sentiments about the dilemma of being worried about exploiting someone but understanding that they have little or no choice in what they can offer are insightful and caring.

    1. Somehow I felt that the photograph conveyed the extraordinary strength and endurance of the man — great obstacles are before him, and he stands there tall and straight.

  15. A beautiful photograph, and thoughtful commentary…and I imagine they are glad to have any work at all. It made me think of people I worked with in landscaping, mostly men from Mexico – to me, they were incredibly strong and such hard workers. I’ve often thought how lucky I was to be born to middle class white people in America!

  16. An extraordinary picture that is truly a work of art.
    True, the lives of these men is very hard. The world is not fair.


  17. I can’t imagine living such a life as this. Your photography and story gives him such the respect and honor he deserves. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Powerful photography and the story it tells. I encountered a similar scenario on my Machu Picchu trek. The porters carried ridiculous loads of gear. The max regulated weight is 22kg or 44lbs, but it’s common practice for the porter to unpack their loads and hide the rest when they go through the checkpoint. It looked like these guys were carrying more than their body weight with stuffed packs that reached above their heads. On their feet, many only had flip flips. The strength and speed of these men on the rugged trail and infinity of steep, uneven stone steps was remarkable. And then, there’s the sherpas in Nepal…Unfortunately,any scenario where 3rd world meets 1st world is fraught with challenges and exploitation.

  19. Labor, whether of childbirth or pulling a sled, is human…oft fraught with fatigue but even then the resiliency of humanity gives the observer pause, reflection and appreciation of the next step taken.
    doc ellen

  20. I love your work!
    The colours and depth are just awesome.
    If you have any tips for an aspiring person (who happens to be interested in photography among other things) I would be so grateful :)

  21. Unfortunately that’s the reality of life….but the good thing is that the man is working at least…he is standing on his feet.(tall)..it’s good to c that u just didn’t think about this but gave it a space in ur blog…..keep going…!!

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