The Ladakhis

Famous western explorer Marco Pallis, while on an exploratory tour of the region way back in 1936, had this to say about the peasants of Ladakh, although it can be taken as a description of the Ladakhis in general too.

The inhabitants of these villages must surely be some of the happiest on the face of the earth. One can only pray that no zealous enthusiast will feel impelled to ‘improve’ or ‘enrich’ them, acting on some sociological theory worked out under totally dissimilar circumstances. Certain writers have alluded to the poverty of the people, doubtless referring to their lack of ready money and their rather spartan simplicity of life. There is no luxury, nor a big margin of surplus food, but if the enjoyment of a sufficient, if rather unvaried, diet composed of tasty, unadulterated materials and the leading of a healthy, outdoor life in majestic surroundings with work which has its leisured as well as strenuous phases, the wearing of durable and comely homespun clothing, the dwelling in spacious, well-built homes, and the possession of a restricted number of objects pleasing to the eye – if all this be poverty, then let us deplore our world.

The brief time that we spent with Tashi, our driver, gave us exactly the same impression. These are a happy set of people who have learnt to take the hardships of the land in their stride. One only wishes that they do not court controversies like disallowing private vehicles and self-drive schemes from plying in Ladakh, after all they need us (the tourists) as much as we need them.

References:

Prem Singh Jina, Famous western explorers to Ladakh

Photos from the Nubra Valley

Continued from Part I here. Past Khalsar and the Karakoram wildlife sanctuary, is a stretch of road that is straight as an arrow and appears to point straight at the Nubra valley. “This road is called the camel road“, remarks Tashi, our driver, in his usual mischievous tone. Upon being questioned, …

Sights from the high road to Nubra

Nub-ra: the western district As we cross the Khardung La and leave the high altitude behind, the landscape changes and we are well and truly on the road to Nubra. The snow from the glaciated mountains feeds little streams that irrigates the land, leaving patches of white and green. Set against …