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Bridget's Bike Blog

Mad about cycling mad about our furry friends mad about green living

Himalayan villages: Chumikgiarsa at 4000m

 
We walked alongside the beautifully braided river, highlighted with illuminous green moss. Despite the intense aridity springs sprung from the rocks and is essentially the reason why Chumikgiarsa was built along this ancient flood plain.

Tenzin and her daughter Padme were washing clothes in a wooden bucket outside her simple, mud brick house when she stopped to greet us and invited us in for tea.

 



Tenzin's simple and functional adobe house. Note the dry composting toilet in the foreground

 



Baby Padme. Her amaa served us tea and also offered us some biscuits, a humbling gesture from someone who has so little in material terms. It was clearly the only form of provision she had on the shelf apart from staples like tsampa (barley).

 



A wooden pail for collecting water and milking yaks. Barley fields in the background are irrigated by elaborate channels of glacial melt and spring water.

 
Another typical homestead in the village of around 16 households. Juniper and brush are collected during the summer months and stored on the flat roofs for winter fuel and insulation.

 



An almost self sustaining village, all houses are built with locally made sun dried mudbricks.

 



Some of the few imports or rather oil barrels dumped and left behind by the road builders. A use for almost anything can be found, here they are used as a barrier to keep the sheep in during the night.

 



Dear Dom Dom Namgyal spotted us from his fields and ambled along to come and greet us. He proudly showed us his gatherings of seabuckthorn berries and was very keen to be photographed even pulling out his tourquoise beads around his neck so that they could be seen. Note his yak skin boots.

 



Caroline shows him the photo. I look forward to returning next time and handing him his own printed copy.

 



Beautiful summer flowers amongst the barley and wheat, these channels made by the villagers, often cover many kilometres for irrigation purposes.

 



Another use for the old oil barrels, diverting channelled water!

 



....and my favourite of them all, a sled made from an old barrel. Hard to believe that the villagers live here all year round at 4000m, the winters must be truly freezing and the highway is closed - Chumikgiarsa is isolated completely.

 



Each house has its own composting toilet, a very simple yet effective way of dealing with human waste. The dry conditions result in a rapid breakdown of the waste rendering it useful for the next spring when the night soil is used on the fields. Absurdly water borne sanitation has crept into the main towns, a completely unsustainable polluting solution in an extremely water scarce part of the planet.

 



Sustainable technologies like this greenhouse are appropriate and enable to growing period for leafy vegetables to be extended by another six weeks. Solar cookers and water heaters are seen in some of the villages nearer to the main towns.

 



Post pea harvest. Nothing is wasted, even these pea husks are stored and kept for animal fodder during the long winter.

 



Threshing round, once the wheat and barley have been harvested, yaks are tethered to the stick and stamp the seed free from the husk. The growing season is only 4mths long, all Ladakhis are able to grow everything they need to keep them going for the next 8mths.

 



Village children entertain themselves with vivid imaginations - no toxic disposable plastic toys to be found!

 

What a privilege to have had a glimpse into not too often visited, Chumikgiarsa,  humbling and inspirational.

From Mafadi to a hike in the Little Berg - August ...
Himalayan villages: Old Manali

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Comments 7

Guest - Matthew on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 11:53

Hi Bridg - thanks for the very interesting account of your adventures and the great images.

Hi Bridg - thanks for the very interesting account of your adventures and the great images.
Guest - Shirley on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:40

Wonderful pics Bridge. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas. Love all of us down under.

Wonderful pics Bridge. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas. Love all of us down under.
Guest - LJ on Saturday, 24 December 2011 04:33

Hi Bridg, Happy Christmas from us Tompkins's. Beautiful pics as usual. I have often thought how useful a polaroid camera would be when travelling to take photos of people and hand them their picture straight away
love LJ

Hi Bridg, Happy Christmas from us Tompkins's. Beautiful pics as usual. I have often thought how useful a polaroid camera would be when travelling to take photos of people and hand them their picture straight away love LJ
Guest - nifortescue on Saturday, 28 April 2012 18:31

Bridget your blog is great, i've just spent the last few hours reading through! Your attention to what's going on around you is amazing and makes me realize how many things i probably failed to spot.
It's got me wondering whether i should progress from the motorbike to the bicycle for my next trip. That and a tent would have me even more locked into my surroundings.

Thanks for feeding me last August in your tent in Tso Kar - I'm the english guy who drove into the swamp trying to find your tent in the dark!!

Don't stop the adventure!

Bridget your blog is great, i've just spent the last few hours reading through! Your attention to what's going on around you is amazing and makes me realize how many things i probably failed to spot. It's got me wondering whether i should progress from the motorbike to the bicycle for my next trip. That and a tent would have me even more locked into my surroundings. Thanks for feeding me last August in your tent in Tso Kar - I'm the english guy who drove into the swamp trying to find your tent in the dark!! Don't stop the adventure!
Guest - Bridget Ringdahl on Sunday, 29 April 2012 22:16

thanks nic, glad you have enjoyed the browse, detail is what makes ladakh so special.

thanks nic, glad you have enjoyed the browse, detail is what makes ladakh so special.

[...] year we visited the remote village of Chumikgiarsa at 4000m, http://bridgetsbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/himalayan-villages-chumikgiarsa-at-4000m/ this year I was eager to return to see Tenzin and her then 10mth old daughter Padme and local [...]

[...] year we visited the remote village of Chumikgiarsa at 4000m, http://bridgetsbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/himalayan-villages-chumikgiarsa-at-4000m/ this year I was eager to return to see Tenzin and her then 10mth old daughter Padme and local [...]

[...] year we visited the remote village of Chumikgiarsa at 4000m,  http://bridgetsbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/himalayan-villages-chumikgiarsa-at-4000m/ this year I was eager to return to see Tenzin and her then 10mth old daughter Padme and local [...]

[...] year we visited the remote village of Chumikgiarsa at 4000m,  http://bridgetsbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/himalayan-villages-chumikgiarsa-at-4000m/ this year I was eager to return to see Tenzin and her then 10mth old daughter Padme and local [...]
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