Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A home for the donkeys in Leh

If you visit Ladakh, you would surely notice the donkeys. Unlike the donkeys of the plains, they have  thick and dark fur. They look quite cute, especially the young ones.
Earlier they used to be used in farming and carrying goods to remote villages. Nowadays the donkeys are mostly used to carry load for the trekking groups.
The donkeys used to be abandoned on the streets of Leh once they were past their prime and used to suffer from the cold, hunger and injury (from cars or the street dogs) till they died. 
The sanctuary / home was started in 2008 by South African journalist Joanne Lefson, who was moved by the plight of the donkeys.
 If you are in Leh and, have some time to spare, then I would suggest  you to visit this home for the donkeys. You would surely like it.
You have to follow the colorful signs and keep walking to upper Leh (quite a bit of walking, but it is really worth the effort). The cute blue gate of the sanctuary will eventually greet you with the message “This sanctuary was opened in July 2008 to accommodate the neglected donkeys in Leh. This place is a peaceful resting place for those that have faced unbearable hardships. Here they will find peace.”
At the time of my visit, there were about 40 donkeys. Some of them old and infirm, some injured and pregnant, and some babies too!
Inside you would see the donkeys milling about, eating or happily rolling in the dust. Some of them came and nudged me. Almost as if saying “Hello”. It seemed like they were really enjoying their life.
Do remember to bring some carrots as a treat for them.    

In the evening, Sonam – the caregiver took them to their night shelter. The daily cost of just the food for the inmates is more than Rs5,000. So any contribution is welcome.

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