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Photographing The Brokpa Tribes of Aryan Valley, Ladakh

Thursday, 15 December 2022 | Ladakh

Backpacking , Adventure , Frequent , Casual , Social Media ,
Photography , History , Art & Culture ,

Around 200 kilometers from the Ladakh capital Leh, is a group of villages nestled along the Indus River, some 40km from the Pakistan border. The local people, until recently, have remained isolated - maintaining cultures & traditions centuries old…….and also their genetics.

The origins of the Brokpa tribes of the Aryan Valley are somewhat disputed. Some firmly believe these are the last pure Aryans, descendants of the Alexander The Greats army. Other suggest they are in fact the earliest settlers in the Ladakh region, having migrated thousands of years ago from Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan. No matter their origin, the Brokpa tribes of Northern India are a unique population - cultures, lifestyle, religious practices and appearance all distinct from the traditional Ladakhi population.

There are several small villages dotted along the valley, some with only 100 inhabitants. Farming communities that produce grains, fruit, vegetables and colorful flowers, used to adorn traditional head-dress, known as a tepi, an offering to the deities worshipped in their lineage of Buddhism.

Until recently, access to the Brokpa people was quite limited. Only in the last few decades have they began selling produce to Leh, traveling for employment and having tourists visit the villages. Whilst they see opportunity in visitors spending time, and money, in the area, I hope they maintain their strong unique cultures.

We visited several of the small villages and spent time photographing local people in their traditional dress.

I look forward to sharing many more articles about travel & photography in India.

If you are interested in visiting these amazing places, please drop a comment or send me a direct message.


If you are looking to travel to the Indus Valley and visit the Brokpa tribes, contact Harsh Agarwal: +919758997888

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Photography History Art & Culture

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brokpa india ladakh aryan photography