• Handmade copper spoons at Tsogsty
  • The dragon kettle made by artisan Thetan
  • On way to Sumda-Chenmo: Copper trail 2016
  • Our visitor Sayali making her own artifact: Copper trail 2016

The Copper Trail


Green Villages:
Tsogsty, Sumda Chenmo, Sumda Do
Grade:
Medium
Trek distance:
20 Km (2 days)
Includes:

Airport pickup

Sight seeing

7N stay

All meals

Local guide

Transport


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.

Thetan Wangyal (Village-Tsogsty)

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.

Stanzeng Wangdus (Village: Sumda-Chenmo)

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.

  • Meet the copper artisans at the 4 beautiful villages of Ladakh.

  • Hike through the mountains of Zanskar to village Sumda Chenmo.

  • Indulge in handcrafting of ancient Copper artifacts.

  • Experience Ladakhi hospitality at our homestays amidst the beautiful apple orchids of Tsogsty.

  • Feel the joy of playing the traditional Ladakhi Archery at Sumda-Do.

  • Hear the amazing stories of these artisans making an effort to conserve this endangered heritage.

Day 1: Acclimatization at Leh

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.

Day 2: Get introduced to Ladakh

Before we step to villages of Ladakh lets know about Ladakhi heritage and Buddhism.

Day 3: Drive to Tsogsty, Meet copper artisans

Our first village for our copper trail is Tsogsty. See copper work of artisans at Tsogsty, enjoy village life and also try Archery!

Day 4: Tsogsty to Rangdoh, Trek to Sumda Chenmo

A beautiful 5-6hr trek alondside the river stream takes you to Sumda Chenmo.

Day 5: A day at 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.

Day 6: Trek back to Rangdoh, meet artisans of Chilling and Sumda Do

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.

Day 7: Try Archery, Visit Chilling

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.

Day 8: Goodbye Ladakh

Airport transfer as per your flight schedule.

  • Airport transfers in a private vehicle

  • Lodging in Leh for 4 nights in a 3-star guest house/hotel

  • Logistical costs for local sight-seeing in Leh on Day2

  • Accommodation in homestays during the trek

  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in Leh and during the trek

  • Support staff cost (trek leader, guides, cooks, porters and horses to carry your luggage)

  • Medical kits, carried by trek leader and guides

  • National Park permits and all Govt. taxes

The villages of Ladakh are mesmerizing. Making our own copper souvenir at Sumda Chenmo was a memorable experience. This was our first trek in the Himalayas, staying with Mountain Homestays and definitely this will not be the last.
- Ninad & Sayali Dalvi (Copper trail, Oct 2016)