Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived in 5th century BC, is considered the ‘Father of History.’ In his book, he reported about the fox sized giant ants who collect gold dust in a sandy desert of far eastern Indian provinces of Persian empire. Apparently, it was later conjectured that Herodotus was almost certainly talking about Himalayan marmots.
I have been lucky enough to have traveled Ladakh region extensively over the span of 5 years and this place never bored me. This vast region has certain kind of mystique and enigma surrounding it. In places like this, you discovered different aspects of life, nature, mythology and existence. This place is drastically different from any other place in almost every respect. During one of my visit in Ladakh, I first encountered marmots while going toward Khardong La (elevation 17582 ft) which is one of the highest motorable road in the world. Here are the some pics of marmot which I shot during our first encounter. Incidentally, I had to shoot these pics in full zoom mode.
I tried approaching them but they would run away in their burrows as soon as they notice us. I was kind of disappointed for I couldn’t see them closely.
But I finally got lucky during my next trip to Ladakh. This time around, I actually got to see them closely. In fact, this time I actually fed them some chips and they were too happy to take it. This time, my wife was accompanying me and we were going toward Pangong lake when we encountered marmots again. Luckily, their burrows were easily approachable and marmots here were quite friendly. They didn’t run away. When we approached one such burrow, a marmot was cautiously peeking through its burrow. We had Snickers and chips at that time so we tried to lure it by offering it chips. Somehow it got friendly and came out of burrow. I asked my wife to try feeding it Snickers. She did so but she was a bit scared. Here are some shots which I had been able to take albeit hurriedly so.
No, they didn’t give us any gold dust. Instead they took chips, biscuits and Snickers from us. But in the end, we were happy to have seen them. That is what we were really seeking. And we got it.