While travelling to a place in any part of world or in India, you would want to know about the culture and customs of the people, so that you do not have any faux-paus in dealing with people on your vacation.
If you are travelling to Ladakh, this brief guide to the lifestyle and customs of the people of Ladakh should help you prepare in dealing with locals in the hill town.
Lifestyle of the People of Ladakh
A peaceful and calm lot, the people of Ladakh are proud of their rich culture. They never miss an opportunity to celebrate their culture, rooted in history.
Whether it is in their daily lifestyle or during a festival, they always celebrate with enthusiasm.
Most of the people are farmers and rely on agriculture for their income. A fair section of the people does rely on tourism, their income is seasonal. This means, that they earn a fair chunk of their income only during the tourist season that is from April to July.
In a few parts of Ladakh, especially near the mountain regions, sheep rearing is an important profession.
Traditions of Ladakh
The people of Ladakh are Dards, an ancient Aryan race. But, most of them follow Buddhism. So, it is no secret that the people of Ladakh influenced by Buddhism and the Tibetan lifestyle.
Like any civilization, the people of Ladakh believe in succession. Property and responsibilities move down from the elders to the younger people. This happens when the younger folk are ready to take on responsibility.
A notable feature of the people of Ladakh is that they have a close bond with each other.
During the harvest season, everyone from the community cultivates each other’s fields. The people of Ladakh are also close to the earth. The cultivate their land in an eco-friendly manner and strive to recycle the things they use. Locals use what they need from the cultivated harvest and sell the rest in the markets.
Customs of Ladakh
The people of Ladakh are jovial by nature. They love celebrating their culture and history. Whether it is a wedding or a local festival, the people of Ladakh love celebrating the old-fashioned way.
When it comes to sport and recreation, the large majority prefer playing Polo. Today, the younger lot are taking to playing cricket, football and commercial sports.
During the summer, Archery is a popular sport among the people of Ladakh. Hunting is also an important sport, among the rich folks of Ladakh. But due to curbs on hunting, the number of people who indulge in the sport has reduced.
Festivals Celebrated in Ladakh
Festivals celebrated in Ladakh are either harvest related or socio-religious by nature.
Famous festivals in Ladakh are: –
- Hems Tse-Chu (the most popular festival in Ladakh)
- Dosmoche Festival
- Losar Festival (A Tibetan Festival)
- Sindhu Darshan Festival
- Ladakh Festival (cultural festival)
- Tak-Tok Festival (summer festival)
Food Habits in Ladakh
Since the people of Ladakh have a similar culture to that of the Tibetan people, it is so secret that the food habits and cuisines of Tibetans are commonly followed in Ladakh.
Dishes like Thupka, Momos, Sku and Thenthuk, that is famous among trekkers, are commonly cooked in Ladakhi homes. They have kept some parts of their tradition and cook food that was once popular with their ancestors.
Food items like Paba and Tangtur as well as Butter Tea are ancient recipes that still are popular in Ladakh.
Although Tibetan food is popular, local Ladakhi food is also worth trying if you are in the town.
Greetings in Ladakh
The people of Ladakh commonly speak Ladakhi, Balti, Tibetan and Urdu. Greeting are generally said in these languages. While you are going to Ladakh for a holiday, it is important to know the main greetings in the local languages. Here are a few of them: –
- Nato Deleks – Good Morning
- Thu-chi che – Thank You
- Ta-shi-de-Leh- Hello
These are the three common greetings in Ladakh.
Costumes of Ladakh
The men folk in Ladakh commonly wear a long woollen robe that is called Goucha in their local language. Women on the other hand wear a similar robe but it is styled differently and is called Kuntop & the Bok.
Women also dress their hair in a pigtail style, some men follow this style too. A Perak, a long hat is also commonly worn in Ladakh.
This guide to the life of people in Ladakh should help you prepare for your trip. It gives you a fair idea of what to expect when it comes to culture, lifestyle and food. Do let us know if you have any more questions in the comments.