Brokpa Tribe in Ladakh, India

Flight window copy- low res.jpg

In April 2022, I traveled to the trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh in India to document the lives of the Brokpa tribe. The Brokpa tribe trace their ancestry to the soldiers in the army of the Macedonian king, Alexander the Great, around 2000 years ago. They were a fairly isolated tribe until recently.

Indus river at Garkon copy- low res.jpg

They inhabit a few villages along the river, Indus, from which India gets her anglicized name.

Brokpa women closeup copy-low res.jpg

The Brokpa women wear their hair in 14 braids, four each on either side and six at the back. This lady told me when she was young, they had to comb their hair everyday and plait it. They never cut their hair. But now things have changed. She said earlier, rajma (kidney beans) and corn and other seeds were used as part of their attire. The silver used to come from Skardu, now in Pakistan. The traders would exchange salt in exchange for silver.

Brokpa girls copy- low res.jpg

Two young Brokpa girls. They look like walking floral bouquets. So amazing. I noticed that the Brokpa attire is a celebration of all things sourced from earth. There is silver, pearls, coral, flowers, turquoise, sea shells, goat leather, coins, seeds, wool, etc. 14th April was the Apricot blossom festival and villagers had come in their traditional attire. It was a bonus for me. It was a riot of colour and a feast for the eyes. There was dance and music too and I sketched in a frenzy to capture as much as I could.

Headgear copy-low res.jpg

The head gear of the Brokpa women has bright orange flowers called Montu-tho, wild flowers, silver, beads, turquoise, coins and colourful threads.

Animist and Buddhist sacred space copy.jpg

The Brokpa follow a religion which is an amalgamation of Animism and Buddhism.

Brokpa Museum copy-low res.jpg

 

The Brokpa houses used to be made of mud with stone as the foundation.

Musicians copy-low res.jpg

 

This is probably the only community where men too wear flowers on their heads. This is a sketch of Brokpa men playing musical instruments.

 

Author
Priya Krishnan Das
Share

Recent Posts

Ahmedabad Textile Mill Owner’s Association

August 31, 2022

Ahmedabad Textile Mill Owner’s Association Site Access On 146th sketch meet, Urban...

Read More

Brokpa Tribe in Ladakh, India

August 31, 2022

In April 2022, I traveled to the trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh in...

Read More

Mangal das Garças, uma amostra da Amazônia costeira.

August 31, 2022

Quando falamos da Amazônia, a principal imagem que vem à cabeça é...

Read More

A Grim Reminder

August 31, 2022

Like a bad memory, it has faded, but still unsettles. The workhouse...

Read More
en_USEN