- Dard Safari– A Meeting with ancient aryan tribe
- Region: Ladakh
- Season: July – September
- Duration: 04 Days
Around 7 to 8 hours of journey towards Khaltse (West of Leh), brings you among the unique tribe of Dard, known as Brogpa’s these people live in the villages situated on the northern bank along the lower Indus, on the road to Baltistan. There are five Brogpa villages and tourists are allowed to visit two, Dha and Biama. Settled in relatively low altitude (2,800 Mts.) there is a good produce of fruit and vegetables comprising of apricots, walnuts, and tomatoes. Brogpa’s are considered the original survivors of some Aryan race. They are believed to have migrated via Gilgit about 1,000 years ago from Central Asia during the turmoil of warring chieftains. They have strong Aryan features.
The women folk are also extremely beautiful. The men, women and children wear heavy metallic earrings through holes pierced in their ear lobes. All have long pigtails and their heads are covered with colorful caps decorated with wild flowers. They follow a mixture of pre-Buddhist animist religion, Bon and Buddhism. They bury the dead like ancient Egyptians, with earthen or metallic pots containing wine and food. Bow and arrows are kept beside the dead to save them from the dangers of wild animals in the course of their onward journey. The dead body placed on the ground is covered with salted stones and enclosed within a meter high stonewall. Fertility and its symbols mean a lot to this tribe. The goat, for instance is a symbol of fertility. They depend on the goat for milk and meat and they never drink cow’s milk. They regard goat close to Earth for its surefootedness in any form of the terrain.
Though the winds of change have slightly shaken their efforts of preserving their ancient identity but still they strongly believe in not mixing their genes with the other races. Therefore they marry within the community only and if anyone marries outside the community, the community disowns him. Apart from their ancient culture and way of life, they have also preserved their ancient identity and origin in the songs. A song sung during a festival, traces the route by which their ancestors traveled from Gilgit and pray to Gods for bringing them to their new home, another song is a description of the skill of the hunter during Ibex hunt and many other songs describe the life of this pastoral community.