Art and Handicrafts Ladakh

Artistic Beauty of the Little Tibet.

Ladakh is though India's most remote region, its charm is incomparable. The tradition of artistic craftsmanship here is very old. Most of the handicraft items here originated from the local tribes. Locals here are skilled in making metal sculptures, knitting, weaving, cabinet-making, painting, etc.

Ladakh Handicraft

Metal Work
The metal workers of Ladakh are considered as experts in making idols of Gods/Goddesses, sculptures, small furniture and showpieces of various metals. Local artisans use silver, brass and copper to design tea pots, teacup-stands and lids, hookah- bases, ladles and religious idols.

Woolen Items
Ladakhis shear wool from goats and sheep twice a year. The Government here has set up higher altitude fields for the breeding of sheep and goats. The village of Chilling, about 19 km up the Zanskar river from Nimo, is one of them. The tribes of Ladakh produce the maximum wool in the region. They are good in knitting Pattu (a rough, warm, woolen material made from locally produced wool). The District Handicrafts Centre at Leh and the Tibetan Refugee Centre at Choglamsar are popular for a few special items like pashmina shawl, carpets, woolen garments, locally handmade woolen socks, gloves, caps and sweaters. Winter blankets, goncha (a long robe of cotton or wool for men), perak (embroidered headgear) etc are also the specialties of Ladakh.

Tibetan silver jewellery and traditional Ladakhi jewellery are extremely popular among travellers. These jewellery items are specially designed and moulded by the local Ladakhi silver-smiths.

Wooden and Bamboo Items
Woodwork is limited to household items only. It include low carved tables or Chog-tse, chairs, pillars, beds, curdles for babies etc. Ladakhi bamboo work is known for the finest of baskets.

Other Items and Artwork
Ladakh is known for the vast variety of traditional crafts and fine works. One can find colorful and bustling bazaars (like the Tibetan Market off Old Leh Road and Moti Market near the Leh bus stand) where he/she can purchase different varieties of curios and souvenirs. There are several unique items in Ladakh which attract the tourists. These items include the bowls and cooking pots for the kitchens, thangka paintings, murals etc.

A few good venues for shopping in Ladakh are:

  • Ladakh Art Palace (Main Bazaar Road)
  • Tibetan Handicraft Emporium (Main Bazaar Road)
  • Ladakh Environment and Health Organization (Main Bazaar Road)
  • Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom (Choglamsar)
  • Cottage Industries Exposition (Changspa)
  • Ecology Centre (Changspa)
  • Women's Alliance (Changspa)

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