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Thread: A Ladakhi house in the model village of Saboo, Leh

  1. #1

    A Ladakhi house in the model village of Saboo, Leh

    One of the other priceless experiences has been a visit to a most traditional Ladakh house, in the village of Saboo, Leh. To read the complete travelogue, please click here: Self-Drive-Expedition-Travel-to-Ladakh-and-cold-desert-Changthang-in-"off-season"-October-2010

    This will be photologue of the visit to this village, Saboo.

    A introduction picture of a very traditional Ladakhi house
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    Saboo village is situated around 8 km from Leh. In 2003, it was adopted as a model village in Leh after a visit by former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who said it reminded him of his native place, Rameswaram, though separated by thousand of miles at the other extreme end of our country.

    Saboo bore the brunt of the devastating August 2010 floods as the Saboo river burst its banks on August 6 and 14 people lost their lives, not to speak of the great loss to property and livestock.

    Saboo Village Completely Flattened by Cloudburst
    It was a model village for the entire district, a pride for its residents but the cloudburst changed everything. Being developed under the Prime Minister's reconstruction programme for Jammu and Kashmir, Saboo village was selected by the local administration to be a role model.

    A model village meant proper drinking water supplies, electricity, tarred roads, and cleanliness among others, which other villages lack. But on the intervening night of Aug 5 and 6, everything changed.

    According to the local administration officials, the village was badly hit by the cloudburst. What was earlier a village of pride, has now been completely flattened. Smashed cars and a heap of rubble can be seen in all corners of the village.
    As we reached Leh during our self-drive Ladakh travel of October 2010, our second day in Leh was supposed to be a monastery roundup tour day starting with the Hemis. But then something happened and was an experience in itself.

    As we left Leh, we soon stopped for a middle-aged lady for a lift till the Saboo village diversion from the highway. As we chatted up, she invited us to her village and to come up and see their house - her husband is ex-pradhan of Saboo village.

    And what follows was one of the best memorable events from Ladakh, we were so much welcomed and will be one of our cherished moments of our travel to Ladakh. We were going for Hemis, but we got an experience that was priceless - we got a first hand experience of a Ladakhi house and the warmth of the people from this wonderful land!

    Saboo village was affected a lot by the floods and the waters came through this nullah till it flooded and swamped the complete area.

    And soon we were at their gates, strikingly brilliant fall colours welcome us!

    And then we were showed around the house and the different moments during our stay there are captured in the following images. A travel essay of an authentic Ladakhi house.

    copper and brass pots and pans

    A traditional Ladakhi house, the kitchen is a very important "room" in itself.

    The traditional iron stove which is most times ornated uses wood and dried cow dung as fuel. The heat generated provide warmth, particularly during the cold winter months. Also is seen the butter tea churner. Know more about butter tea in this article in Wikipedia:
    Butter tea

    We were hungry and we had a genuine Ladakhi breakfast that day - bread, honey, Ladakhi and normal tea and garden fresh apples.

    The Buddhist prayer room and shrine - each and every thing was explained to us as we moved around the house

    Ceiling in a Ladakh houseThe Ladhaki culture has well adapted to its harsh climate and the house design reflects the environment. In general the house design resembles that of Tibet proper. The houses have slightly inclined walls, almost fortress-style in character, and are built of adobe brick. Roof is flat and serves as storage for fodder and firewood. Roof joists or the horizontal timbers that run across between the tops of the walls, characteristically left exposed on the inside, support the roof deck that’s paved with adobe brick and rammed earth.

    This is the glassroom, where everyone gathers for sunlight and warmth during the winter season - this becomes the main room during the cold months as the sun rays coming through give that natural warmth and heating.

    Turquoise encrusted traditional headdress, Perak

    A perak is a headdress typically worn by the old aristocracy in the Himalayan Ladakh region of Asia. It is composed of a strap of leather studded with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli and turquoise.

    The perak is a symbol among the Ladakh of the rank and economic status of the woman wearing it. Traditionally, the number of front-to-back rows of turquoise signified the status of the wearer: nine rows for the queen of Leh (the Ladakh capital), seven rows for the more modern aristocracy, five for the marvels, and three for the lower ranks.
    The jewels themselves are representative of the Ladakh deities, protecting and guiding the wearer through the dangerous human world. - from Wikipedia

    And now we move outside and soon we have the juiciest garden fresh apples.


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    The floodwaters had even passed through here as seen from the garden area


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    Barley, wheat and alfa-alfa are the main crops

    Stok Kangri as seen from Saboo village, Leh

    And then back to the house for a final round of tea

    It was around 5 p.m. we said goodbye and what an unique experience it was!

    So the original plan on Oct 10, 2010, was the monastery roundup starting with Hemis, but an unexpected fantastic detour took the complete day. Destinations without interactions takes half the experience away and this day we had one of the best interactions in all the travel that we had done till now.


  4. #4

    what a wonderful story behind the excellent photographs…..

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