Kidnapping as marriage proposal is particularly
well developed in the Himalayan region.
I think in the top picture you see a little horse that is probably part of the bargain.
I am not sure of that though. But in the two lower pictures you see bride riding with a familymember
of the groom, and you see the groom following in his fancy yellow suit and "Ghenghis Khan" style hat.
It is often said that hostages become fond of their
kidnappers, due to the peculiarity of the psychology
of the situation I guess. There was the famous case with the girl that was kidnapped by the Weather Underground
in the USA in the 1970s for instance, who became an active member of the group, as well as a bankrobber for them.
Well in Tibet, Ladakh and many parts of Nepal, it was
formerly (in Nepal for instance in the 1960s) allowed
for a man to kidnap a woman (only the unmarried of course!) and keep her for a couple of days
while attempting to persuade her to marry him. Of course he was not allowed to treat her badly in any way
(of course many modern women may not at all be able to see just how romantic it is to be kidnapped..).
If she didn't accept him then he would have to give
her back to her family and pay them
(probably not the girl) some form of compensation, like a goat or something.
Today it's only a formal ritual, I think
only the Budhists practice it.
If you are interested in the Nepali aspect, which perhaps might also apply to Zanskar,
read "People of Nepal" by anthropologist Dor Bahadur Bista.
Two girls who asked me to take their photo and send it to them. Usually I don't like to walk around
and throw my camera in everyone's head. Of course it's nice to have a lot of nice photos
when you get back, but it makes for too many awkward situations if you constantly walk around to
take photos, ask for permission to take photos et cetera.
A lot of times the people who ask you to take their
photo are not really the most interesting to photograph,
but these two girls are just adorable!
It seems that the women are generally working harder than the men.
The Moslem women in Padum seemed to be more shy than
their Buddhist sisters.
Here someone is looking from beneath the pile of grass.
There was some unrest in Padum in
the summer of 2000. A few days before reaching Padum there
were rumours stating that there had been terrorist attacks in Padum, and that a monastery had been
attacked. Well, it is the state of Jammu and Kashmir, so a little fear did spread among the trekkers,
though nothing like panic.
(Obviously, when you have been able to trek that far, surely a few terrorist couldn't do you any harm!)
Actually I never found out exactly what
happened, except that a German tourist had been kidnapped from a truck
along the Leh-Srinagar highway, and -probably- the same truck had shot at Lamas outside Rangdum monastery, killing one.