Nomads of the Changthang Valley

13th Jul 2018
Photo of Nomads of the Changthang Valley by Deepakshi Agarwal

Deep inside the sequestered valleys of Changthang, Ladakh, you’ll be surprised to see makeshift bivouacs of the nomadic group of Changpas that spend their life wandering around the Changthang plateau in search of grazing grounds for their herds of sheep and yaks. A random tête-à-tête with these famed Changpas, the wayfarers of the Changthang plateau, opens up the doors to a world that simultaneously exists with ours yet, is invisible to us. Changpas are high altitude shepherds and can often be spotted on the Changthang plains along with their herds of yak & sheep which lazily graze on the sparse vegetation of the region. These shepherds raise the highly pedigreed Changra goats, which are known for yielding the best quality of paschmina in the world. It is almost mind blogging how the Changpas survive in some of the most extreme & harshest weather conditions imaginable. A rendezvous with them gives you a transcendent opportunity to peak into their remote and secluded life, a chance not many get. Share a cup of butter tea with them as they open up the gates to their temporary encampments along with their hearts to you. A chance to meet them gives you an indepth insight on how they rear the Changra, also called the Changthangi Goats and how they extract the wool that is further woven into the finest quality of paschmina.  A private audience with these nomadic, isolated group of people is an experience that leaves you completely awe struck and enthralled; the fact that they have survived some of the highest altitudes in some of the most extreme conditions imaginable is commendable. 

Kyagar Tso, en-route Tso Moriri

Photo of Tso Moriri by Deepakshi Agarwal

Changpas are a nomadic tribe and are often spotted in the region around the Tso Moriri Lake during the summer months when the area around the lake becomes a grazing ground for their herds. Look beyond the clichè that Ladakh has become, look beyond Tso Moriri and perhaps, you'll see the soul of this beautiful place that resides within it's indigenous people.