At the high altitude desert called Ladakh, there is an endangered ancient art surviving only due to the efforts of a few native artisans. We take you to the journey of the 4 last remaining Himalayan villages where this art is still practiced.
At village Tsogsty lives one of the oldest artisans, Thetan Wangyal. He was 25 when he learned this work from his father and has been doing it since last 40 years.
He uses various other metals in his designs like silver, brass and gold. Most of his artifacts are made on orders from nearby villages who decorate their kitchens and dining area with these artifacts and they are used for special occasions.
His most beautiful artifact is the dragon kettle which has detailed designs engraved on it. To make one such kettle it may take as long as two month to make.
Like Thetan, there are about 8-10 other artisans in the nearby villages who do this ancient work. Most of them are very old and in the new generation there's no one eager to learn this skill.
At village Sumda-Chenmo, one of the younger artisan is Wangdus. He is 35yrs old and does it more or less as a hobby. He makes small items such as cup lids and spoons.
The coldest season is considered the best time to do this work since other activities are nigh impossible to do. The small workshops, usually just 5 by 5 feet in size and with a coal fire to melt copper, make for a cosy environment in the blistering cold.
Sadly, not many know about this heritage of Ladakh. And it may not last much longer. The youth is not learning it, the market is sporadic and working conditions are tough.
But there is still hope! Mountain Homestays is bringing in tourism to these villages. Engaging tourists in the daily lifestyle of villagers and artisans is helping us spread awareness of this art globally. The tourists take back with them authentic copper artifacts, thus contributing to the livelihood of these artisans.
The Saka-Dawa is most revered day for the Buddhist, the day when Buddha was born and achieved enlightenment. After your pickup from the airport, relax in our guest house to acclimitize to high altitude. In the evening we'll visit the Hemis monastery to see the celebrations.
Before we step to villages of Ladakh lets know about Ladakhi heritage and Buddhism.
Our first village for our copper trail is Tsogsty. See copper work of artisans at Tsogsty, enjoy village life and also try Archery!
A beautiful 5-6hr trek alondside the river stream takes you to Sumda Chenmo.
Experience another day of village life. Meet the copper artisans, see their art and products, and also try your hands on copper work. Visit the village monastery and see the ancient Buddha statues excavated here in 2008. Celebrate the evening with the villagers, enjoy food and dance.
Say goodbye to villagers of Sumda Chenmo. After trekking down till Rangdon we'll visit the village Sumda Do where a few artisans make some interesting artifacts. We'll stay at our beautiful homestays in this village.
On a relaxed morning in this village get to try the favorite recreation of Ladakhis, Archery! After this start we'll drive to Leh but before that we'll make a stop at village Chilling. Chilling is the last remaining hub of copper artifacts with about 5-6 artisans who do this work full time.
We'll then continue our drive to Leh and reach there by evening.
Airport transfer as per your flight schedule.