Markha Valley : Getting introduced to Ladakh
I believe everyone has one place or many one aspire to visit at least once in their lifetime. I have always had a few and one of them was Ladakh. Earlier this year, I had a chance to visit Ladakh with Bikat Adventures in a very special way. I went on an exploratory trek through one of the lesser known region of Ladakh i.e. Markha valley.
I knew a little before my visit to the incredible land. The land of rich civilization, culture and surreal landscapes was beyond overwhelming. I had never seen such a breathtaking landscape anywhere in the world, ranging from cold desert mountains and valleys, to snow-clad peaks, to gushing rivers flowing through gorges, to green valleys and vegetation. Ladakh just doesn’t cease to amaze you. Every step taken here takes you closer to the love and humanity which binds us all. The people and the culture is something which one must experience to believe.
People here taught me to be grateful, to appreciate what I have and to work dedicatedly towards what I aspire to achieve.
Piety and purity are two words meant for this region.
Ladakh for me is one of the few places on earth where Buddhism still exists in its purest and undiluted form. Everything seems so untouched and so cut off from the rest of the world. You’ll find a touch of faith in everything; from prayer flags fluttering by in different spots, to the architecture of the monasteries, to the mantra engravings on stones (mani walls), to the incense that burns in Ladakhi houses every morning.
It’s not a life of scarcity
Being a city dweller, we often believe that people in rural areas live a life of scarcity. It was completely the opposite in Ladakh. People there do have fair share of problems they face everyday, but it’s worth appreciating how they have learned to live with them and solve them instead of letting them hinder their growth.
Ladakhi lifestyle, culture and even homes represent a life of richness. A life full of love and harmony, humans and nature alike.
Care for the environment
The people here have lived sustainably with the environment from centuries. It’s very beautiful to see how this lifestyle has been passed on to current generation and how current generation is making sure to leave this beautiful land, they once acquired, in its purest form for their future generations. Efficient water management, wood management, dry toilets, effective utilization of solar energy, nearly Zero utilization of chemical pesticides or insecticides are only a handful environment friendly practices one can observe in almost every Ladakhi home.
It won’t be wrong to say that people here are becoming pioneers in social innovation, slef-sustainability and conserving their culture and environment.
Women are celebrated and empowered here
One thing that struck me was that men and women work hand in hand, unlike majority of India, and women are celebrated and empowered in these villages. A very miniscule example is, men help their wives in the kitchen, while women help grazing animals in the fields with their husbands. They work in teams, and it’s beautiful, because everything seems so right and simple.
We came across a few eco-friendly women run cafés, completely run by local women. They use local produce to prepare meals for trekkers and make handicrafts from different kinds of wool. Both men and women take active roles in bringing livelihood through various channels.
Markha Valley introduced me to something I had never thought existed. It introduced me to a lifestyle of loving and giving without expecting anything in return, being true to yourself, others and to mother nature.
Come experience this love for yourself. Here are some options you can explore: