A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh

Tripoto
25th Jan 2019
Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh
Day 1

Himalaya, the abode of the God's has sheltered and nurtured many age old civilizations. In these valleys, where the environment is not very conducive for even shrubs to survive after certain altitudes, humans have endured with their might. Ladakh is one such place.

In the dry and cold desert of Ladakh there are green patches with small human settlements called Dard Aryans, which have retained their archaic customs and traditions. Approaching from Leh,  some 185 kms ahead, there are Aryan villages of Dha, Hanu, Garkone and Darchik on both sides of the Indus River, inhabited by the Buddhist Dard Tribes.

Map

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Alexander's Lost Army: The Dard Community claims to be of pure Aryan stock. Myth has it that they trace their genetic history to members of Alexander's army which stayed back. Nestled in four villages of Ladakh, this collective community of 4000 has successfully been able to keep their gene pool intact, using strong social sanctions and rules. But now very few pockets of isolated community with pure bloodlines, language and culture remain. Given the inhospitable terrain, for thousands of years this Dard region remained out of bounds for other people.

After the Kargil war, the government authorities have placed an anvil on the development work in this region. Some of the areas of the Aryan valley are restricted for outsiders, since it borders Pakistan occupied Kashmir(POK) and Indian forces are stationed for keeping watch and vigil in this region. One has to get Inner Line Permit(ILP) from the District Commissioner to visit these villages.

The sustenance of this community comes from their yield of crops and fruits, which even though scanty are tasty and nutritious.

The changing paradigms of cultural traits and religious practices has resulted in making this community vulnerable. Buddhism is being followed in all the Aryan valley villages except few which are Muslims. While they practice Buddhism, they continue to follow age old practices but modernization has resulted in the younger generation distancing themselves from their age old traditions.

The pictures below show representations of early human settlements in the region, Dard life and their sustenance, beliefs and practices, fairs and festivals and impact of the outside world.

A Dard Community member wearing the traditional head gear and attire

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Head gear and attire

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Colourful headgear decked with flowers and metal trinkets

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Stone utensils

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Stone pot dish

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Ceremonial Vessels

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Wool Toy

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Wool Toy

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh
Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Kitchen with stone utensils. At every meal an offering was made to the local deity (black stone) placed on the left

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh
Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Bride in wedding attire

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Bride with family members on her wedding

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Bride's traditional attire

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Groom's traditional attire

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Young Dard girls in their traditional attire

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh
Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Women folk in the Hanu Yokma Festival, Leh, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh
Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Villagers offering worship at Deuhya Abode of Goddess Gang Si Lamo, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh
Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Villagers offering worship at Deuhya Abode of Goddess Gang Si Lamo, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Villagers in a procession at the abode of Goddess Gang Si Lamo, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Villagers in a procession at the abode of Goddess Gang Si Lamo, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Dard girls in their traditional attire

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Villagers offering worship at Deuhya Abode of Goddess Gang Si Lamo, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Traditional gathering at Bononah Festival, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Villagers offering worship at Deuhya Abode of Goddess Gang Si Lamo, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Traditional gathering at Bononah Festival, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Musicians of Dha Village, Aryan Festival, Hanu Yokma, Leh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Traditional gathering at Bononah Festival, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Mobile phones! Here I come.

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Villagers offering worship at Deuhya Abode of Goddess Gang Si Lamo, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Traditional gathering at Bononah Festival, Garkone village, Kargil, Ladakh

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh

Mobile phones! Here I come.

Photo of A meeting with Dard Aryan Community of Ladakh by Tara Singh
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