DA
ABOUT THE PLACE

160 km northwest of Leh is the Aryan Village Da – very close to Batalik peak. It is believed that many years ago, the people of the Dard sect – presumably a descent of the Aryans – had come from a region called Gilgit to settle down here. This sect was extremely self-reliant in matters of food, shelter and other social norms that made them a secluded sect happily settled in the small village Da. Over many centuries of detachment from the outside world has helped preserve their unadulterated tribal culture, dress-code, social structure and norms, anthropological peculiarities and most importantly their native language Sina till date. The tale of their settling down in this region is replete in their festivals, songs and dances, folklores and folktales and recollections of old and aged. However, just a few centuries back after much persuasion of the Buddhist monks and rulers the tribe accepted Buddhism as their practicing religion, but maintained the ‘Bon’ tribal rituals, norms and practices in toto. They still prefer to call themselves ‘Bonpa’ or ‘Drokpa’.

Da Village set amidst the arid landscape is quite different from its surroundings. Etched with abundant greenery, crops, flowers and fruits, this whole valley is full of life. The extreme climate of the surroundings has not been able to touch the place. In a word, this place is abound with food, drinks and ayurvedic treatment and other social norms making the Drokpas self sufficient in their own ways. The people of this place are beautiful and cordial. Da village is in fact quite different from any other place in Ladakh. The Drokpas are also spread over some other villages such as Hanu, Biyama and other nearby villages. However, the dialect, lifestyle and social norms are quite different from that of Da village.



HOW TO REACH

Kashmir-Kargil-Leh and Chandigarh-Manali-Leh. The former route although easier and more comfortable is less preferred due to turbulent political scenario of Kashmir valley.

The second route though long and stressful is safer. The distance between Manali and Leh is 477 km. Starting from Manali tourists have to spend a night inside tent in a place called Sarchu at an altitude of 14,000 feet. The rest of the journey is completed next day.

Government and private buses run from Manali to Leh. Besides private cars are available at a price around Rs 9,000–10,000/-. The Himachal State Tourism Deluxe Buses costs Rs 1,600/-. This cost is inclusive of staying in tent at Sarchu, dinner and breakfast for the nest morning.

Those who may find it physically uncomfortable to spend night at such a high altitude can decide to spend the night in a place called Kelong, 118 km from Manali, and resume journey before daybreak to reach Leh in the evening.

From Leh buses roll to Da Village everyday at 8:30 in the morning.


BEST TIME TO VISIT

July to September is the nicest time to visit Da Village. There is hardly any cold during this time.

ACCOMMODATION

Skiyabaya Guest House
Sheringman Lambed Guest House
PWD Guest House at Biyama


TRAVEL TIPS • Travelers interested in setting up tents in Da Village need to take prior permission from the villagers.
• Seek permission before taking a snap of any villager.
• Do not offer money directly to women and children in the village. It is not an acceptable norm over there.
• Be aware of mosquitoes and other insects in summer nights.
• Owning to proximity to Batalik range permits may get confiscated any time due to security reasons.
• It is better to keep the car outside the village and enter the village premise with aids like torch, candle, anti-mosquito cream etc.