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Mindful Travel & learning from Ladakh

Local Futures is an international non-profit organization dedicated to renewing ecological and social well-being by strengthening communities and local economies worldwide.

  Local Futures was founded in 1978 to counteract the forces eroding Ladakh’s indigenous culture.  Helena Norberg-Hodge who is the founder of the organization first came to Ladakh in 1975, when the region was opened to tourism and “development”.  She found communities and a place-based agrarian culture that – despite scarce resources and a difficult climate – had sustainably met the Ladakhis material and psychological needs for hundreds of years.

 The lessons learned from this thriving culture – and from the social and ecological devastation that followed as Ladakh was opened up to the global economy – inspired her to start Local Futures.

      We raise awareness about the power of ‘going local’ as a key strategy for restoring ecological, social and spiritual wellbeing. Our films, books, toolkits, blog, podcast, webinars, workshops, conferences and campaigns are helping to build an international movement for systemic change.

  LF conducts a variety of activities in Ladakh, one of which is called "Mindful Travel in Ladakh." It provides guidelines for culturally, economically, and environmentally responsible behavior as well as helps tourists become more conscious of their impact on the area. Additionally, it encourages global localization, critically examines "big picture" economic and development challenges, and cultivates intercultural discussion and understanding between tourists and Ladakhis.

 We organize film screening & discussion session in different locations of Ladakh . Help in the Village program is also an important part of Mindful travel as people including locals have opportunity to help villagers who are distress due to rapid urban migration. It is only impacting the food production system but also widely affecting the traditional knowledge & ways of living in this region. We have created a brochure that includes some dos and don’ts and an eco map listing some of the places that we recommend to visit or know about which is available on our website www.localfuturesladakh.org & www.localfutures.org 

 

 




Here are some organizations that people may visit which is also marked on the eco map on LF’s website to get involved and contribute while in Ladakh, most of them are located in Leh town of Ladakh.

 

1.      Women’s Alliance of Ladakh:

   - The Women’s Alliance of Ladakh has more than 5,000 members. The organization, which consists entirely of women, also disseminates information about how important it is to grow organically and to manage the water supply in the harsh landscape.

WAL is located in Chubi, Leh, and open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.

 

2. LEDeG (Ladakh Ecological Development and Environmental Group):

   - LEDeG provide support to the locals in many different fields such as constructing environmental friendly houses, Traditional and Modern Handicraft Training, Local food processing techniques, and value addition to locally processed produce. It is located in Karzoo, Leh.

 

3. Central Asian Museum:

   - One of Leh's most remarkable buildings near the main market of Leh, this tapered four-storey stone tower is a modern construction based on a historic Lhasa mansion and built on the site of an old caravan camp. The museum looks at Leh's role in Silk Road trade, with rooms focused on Ladakh, Chinese Turkestan and Tibet. 

 

4. Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation:

   - The Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation located in the old town of Leh, strives to create an environment where people can learn, create and engage with the arts and cultures of Ladakh. LAMO envision an open space that nurtures arts education in Ladakh through artist residencies, exhibitions, screenings, lectures, performances, workshops, research, and documentation and so on.

 

5. Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust:

   - The Programs of the organisation are meticulously designed to conserve the mountain ecosystems in collaboration with local communities. They focus primarily on building local stewardship through community-based tourism, education and research in Ladakh, where snow leopards and wolves, once disdained as pests and adversaries because of frequent livestock depredation, are now considered as Ri Gyancha or 'ornaments of the mountains'.

 

6. SECMOL:

The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded in 1988 by a group of young Ladakhis with the aim to reform the educational system of Ladakh. SECMOL Alternative School which is our eco-friendly campus near Leh, we organise residential activities for Ladakhi youth and students attending college in town.

 

 

 

Stay:

  Though there are more than 600 hotels & guest house across Ladakh, as per the list from 2016 on LAHDC website, the below listed places are a diverse range of guest houses, hotels, resorts, and homestays across different areas in Ladakh. Each of these accommodations likely offers a unique experience, and staying in family-run, natural buildings can indeed enhance the overall experience of visiting Ladakh.

 

In Leh:-

Haldupa Guest House ( Malpak)

Greenland Guest House ( Changspa)

LEDeG Hostel ( Upper Leh)

Tsetan Guest House ( Changspa)

Shalak Guest House ( Sankar)

Rai-wa Guest House ( Changspa)

Dolkhar Resort ( Tukcha)

 

Sham Valley:

SNOW LEOPARD LODGE, (Uley)

 

Nubra Valley:

Michung Homestay (Hunder)

Horcho Guest House (Hunder)

The Creek, (Diskit)

Lchang Nang Retreat - The House of Trees ( Kyagar)

 

Kargil:

Black Sheep Bed and Breakfast

Drenmo Lodge

 

Help in the Village

Ladakh is known for not only its popular destinations but also for hidden gems in the lesser-explored villages. These places often offer a more authentic and tranquil experience. Whether it's about cultural experiences, scenic landscapes, or community led tourism. List of places where we usually visit during help in the village or have plans to visit in future. The activities in these villages starts from April to September which includes, sowing, harvesting, apple/apricot picking, experiences with shepherds etc.

Gya,Tarchit,Mud,Teri,Sakti,Likir,Tar,Uley & Liktsey

 

 

Restaurants:

Here are some hyper local restaurants located in different part of Ladakh with contrasting themes might be worth experiencing are listed below:-

 

Ladakhi Organic Food Restaurant (100% veg):

Located in Moti Market which is walking distance from Leh market focuses on vegetarian Ladakhi organic cuisine. Expect traditional Ladakhi flavors using organic ingredients.

 

Solja Café:

Solja Café focuses on reviving traditional Ladakhi food and sourcing ingredients locally. Supporting local agriculture not only ensures the freshness and authenticity of the cuisine but also contributes to the sustainability of the region..

 

De Khambir:

De Khambir is just not a place eat local ladakhi cuisine but also a conscious space and a community where you can find local handcrafted artifact and products. Range from traditionally handloom shawl, books on localization, maps, artisanal jams and soups, woolen toys, local apricots, teas and handmade soaps and many more.

 

Namza Dining:

Namza Dining is a culinary destination that aims to introduce the flavors and traditions of Ladakh to your palate. Restaurant is inspired by the rich culinary heritage of this mountainous region, with a special emphasis on reviving and preserving its lost and forgotten cuisine.          

 

Tsas:

Tsas, translates to ‘ a kitchen garden’ in the Ladakhi language is a hyper local vegetarian restaurant. The ever changing food served at Tsas, inspired by Ladakh’s mountains, people and traditions reflects a perfect equilibrium between European haute and traditional Ladakhi cuisine, while drawing inspiration from Spanish, Japanese and French cuisine.

 

Alchi Kitchen( Alchi):

 

The Chuli (Hunder, Nubra):

Chuli means apricot is a café in Hunder, inspired by local architecture and natural building. The restaurant is Nubra which also serves ladakhi food and the ingredients are mostly sourced locally.

 

The Bonfire Restaurant ( Hunder, Nubra):

The restaurant has a lot of natural beauty and is quite relaxing with availability of ladakhi cuisine as well. The ambience of this place is amazing. You will find yourself enjoying yourself with the strangers around a bonfire. The sitting space in the tree house at the ambience

 

 Roots Travel Café (Kargil) :

Roots Travel Cafe is a one of a kind place for travellers and wanderers to meet like-minded people who are passing through the transit town of Kargil, Ladakh. Thoughtfully designed in vernacular style using locally available material, its a cosy space to relax, read books and relish on some homemade local bakeries and beverages     

 

 

Workshops:

Ladakh offers a unique and picturesque setting for workshops, community experiences, and various events. In addition to cafes and guest houses, you might find community spaces, cultural spaces, and other venues suitable for workshops and gatherings of people of different interests.

 

 Disko Valley Bike Park:

One of the highest riding zones of India at 3500m, Ladakh runs the magnificent Himalayas through its horizon. Known for its mountaineering, bicycle touring, bouldering topography, is an initiate by unexplored Ladakh. An open space located near Shanti Stupa is also a place for biking enthusiasts for workshops or events.

 

Sprindle Art Café:

Located in Old town of leh, it is a lovely art space with an art gallery and a cafe. Fantastic view of Leh market where one can read books available at the cafe on the history, heritage and art. They also organize workshops during summer.

 

Lena Ladakh Pushmina: 

 A close knit team of nomads, local artisans & creators, Lena is committed to put in practice the dying traditional local skills of hand making textiles, all the while providing sustainable & dignified sources of livelihood to the women who for generations have quietly kept these local skills alive. Lena has been conducting hands on experience workshops in Changthang region.

 

Suru Outdoor Fest Campsite ( Kargil):

Annual 2 week outdoor festival in the Himalayas is the brainchild of Suhail Kakpori and Jamyang “Jammy” Tenzing. Jammy organized the first Suru Fest with a small crew of dedicated and passionate Ladakh-based rock climbers, which has now grown into a sustainable, sponsored event attracting climbers from all over the world.

 

Likir Pottery & Farmstay: ( Likir)

Settled on the edge of Likir village, a small family runs traditional Ladakhi pottery studio tells the story of the craft which is believed to dive into the time of King Gyalpo Namgyal of 17th century, when People of Likir was bestowed with the responsibility of pottery. The craft was passed on through generations & today, their family practices and preserves this craft, the ancient way.

 

RDZA Studio Pottery: (Igoo)

RDZA studio pottery is a space located in the heart of Igoo village and the founder trains in contemporary approach to ancient tradition of pottery with inspirations from the high mountains and low valleys of Ladakh. They organize workshops as well as internships during summer months.

 

 

Local Product Shops:

Supporting local shops and entrepreneurs is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of Ladakh and contribute to the local economy. Here are some types of local businesses and entrepreneurs you might find in Ladakh:

 

Balkhang Dry Fruit Market:

   - A market specializing in dry fruits started by local businessmen where one may explore the local varieties of food products from Ladakh, It is located at the end of the main market of Leh town.

 

Dzomsa :

It’s a great place where they serve fresh apricot and sea buck thorn juice. You can refill your water bottles and also get laundry done at reasonable rates. They also have a section of local organic food products, post cards & second hand books.

 

Ladakh Basket:

Ladakh Basket is a community-driven social enterprise that works with local farmers, producers, and craftspeople to showcase the unique narratives of Ladakhi people and their land through its indigenous products. Most of the products are sourced from Rong area of Ladakh.

 

Organic Ladakh:

Organic Ladakh is a souvenir store for selling local products from Ladakh operating since 2018. They offer skincare products, tea varieties, apricot products, seabuckthorn products and various other products made by people of Ladakh with love. It is located in the near the main market of leh town.

 

Ladags Apricot Store:

 It is known for apricot-based products, another eco friendly shop that sells products sourced from organic farmers of Ladakh.  Dried apricots, jams, juices, dried almonds, tsampa, cereal bars but socks in yak wool, Yak cheese, postcards, etc are some of their specialties.

 

 

 

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