Handicraft Trails

SASPOTSEY

Distance from Leh:64kms

Elevation:3712mtrs

No.of Homestays:9

 

Saspotsey is a beautiful village, which is one of the latest villages to join the homestays programme in Sham. The village is located at an altitude of about 3,700m above sea level. The village is full of wild roses along the fringes of the agricultural fields. The entire village turns pink in July, when the rose bushes are in full bloom. The villagers are very friendly and cooperative. You can explore the surroundings of the village with local guides who are well-conversant with the flora and fauna.

 

Felting is a simple process of separating, tangling, and relocking animal fibers found in items such as yarn or wool. Felting begins through the agitation of the animal fibers; these fibers are lined with tiny scales which interlock and keep the fibers' shape.

TARUTSE (LIKIR)

Distance from Leh:55kms

Elevation:3527mtrs

No.of Homestays:4

Tarutse lies at an altitude of 3,527m, just across the Likir River within walking distance of Likir monastery (gonpa). Tarutse and Likir lie under a beautiful mountain that is patterned with horizontal striations. Of the 25 houses here, four offer Himalayan Homestays. The Likir gonpa is believed to date back to the 11th century. Lama Lawang Lhotos later established the Gelugpa order here in the 15th century. This is one of the most active gonpas with 100 monks in residence. Its museum houses a fine collection of old thangkas(sacred scroll-paintings done on cloth that are used in worship).

CHILLING

Distance from Leh:

Elevation:

No.of Homestay:

 

CRAFT

HISTORY:

-How and when did it start?

-Initial purpose of the handicraft

-Historical markets for selling the products

Who and why did people buy them?

 

ARTISANS:

NAMGYAL TSERING

Chik-papa House, Chilling

Age: 81 years

Years in Operation: 40 yrs

Status: Retired

RINCHEN PALDAN

Chik-papa House, Chilling

Age: 86 years

Years in Operation: 45 yrs

Status: Retired

TSERING DAWA

Ga Tsering Pa House, Chilling

Age: 54 years

Years in Operation: 45 yrs

Status: Currently Practicing

TSEWANG GONBO

Chilling

Age: 48 years

Years in Operation: 30

Status: Currently Practicing

TSEWANG THAMCHOS

Yokmapa Chilling

Age: 28 years

Years in Operation: 4 yrs

Status: Currently Practicing

Few other artisans in Sku, Leh, Taru, Chemdey but they are not practicing the craft full time.

 

Products they make: Spoons, bells, strainers, tea-pots, jugs for wine and chang, plates, cups, cup lids, saucers, mirrors, instruments, utensils, jars, offering bowls.

 

RAW

MATERIALS:

 

COPPER, BRONZE (Leh Market)

GOLD, SILVER (Leh Market)

CHARCOAL (from Sea buck thorn stems in Markha Valley - delivered)

TSE-SA (soil used to make the base clay oven for heating and melting metal - is obtained from a mountain in Chilling)

LEAD (Leh Market)

RE-USE OLD METALS

BUYING FREQUENCY

  • Once a year or once in 2-3 months
  • charcoal - winter

ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS

  • Charcoal - COW DUNG

 

SCALE OF

OPERATION:

MONTHLY  PRODUCTION CAPACITY:

  • 1 week to 3 months
  • Summers/Winters
  • Druklongma (30-40 days) | Silver/Gold
  • Spoons (3 days - 1 week)
  1. NO. OF ARTISANS EMPLOYED
  • Alone / two-people / teaching children

SEASONALITY

  • Summers/Winters
  • Alternative source of income - home-stays, farmers, Govt. job/army/monk

 

 

PRESENT  MARKET  STATUS

AND  DEMAND:

MARKETS WHERE PRODUCTS ARE SOLD

  • No middlemen
  • Personal Orders - Chilling
  • Souvenir shop
  • Rarely it’s sent through someone
  • Demand - Locals
  • Metal works center - proposal

 

CURRENT

ISSUES AFFECTING

THE VIABILITY OF THE CRAFT:

FUNDING

  • No issues
  • Profit - raw materials / expenses
  • Govt. - thanka painting / pottery / wood carving
  • French NGO - solar lights

MARKETING

  • Artisans in Leh – genuinity of products
  • Custom orders / ready products
  • Time constraint - festivals

VISIBILITY OF THE FINAL PRODUCT

  • Locals - know the artisans
  • Tourists / travelers - one shop

PROCURING  RAW  MATERIALS

  • No issues - transport and roads

TRANSFER  OF  SKILLS

  • City / Govt. job / education / salary
  • Patience / skill - to teach and learn
  • Thamchos - youngest
  • Traditional craft - chilling / Leh market (modern)
  • Gombo - sons (11 and 14 yrs old) - winter
  • Labor
  • Younger generation - spreading awareness