At BonoNah festival (Dah-Hanu)

Dah-Hanu valley is about 150 km from Leh and 95 km from Kargil. You won’t find the village easily if you look around the signboard of Dah. It’s hidden in the hills 30 minutes walk upwards the north, it’ll appear only when you are like 50 meters away from the very first house.

The valley consists of 3 main villages and 5 to 6 tiny settlements, that makes the community of fewer than 3000 people, others are mostly migrant Buddhists from various parts of Ladakh and Gilgit. Two of the villages are now in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and they aren’t allowed to visit each other. It’s the land of Brokpa or sometimes called Drokpa community, literally translates to Hill People. The pictures are from the annual festival called Bono-Nah. Which takes place in 3 different villages by turn every year. The festival goes on for 3 days. The final day which is always a full moon night is when a grand feast will be organised, the newly wedded couples will receive the blessings from deities followed by a community dance performance in the moonlit designated field. The festival can certainly take you back in medieval time, the rituals, the ornaments, costumes and dishes they prepare can nowhere be experienced in this whole wide world.

The best apricots I’ve ever tasted are from here, they call it Chulli. The local beer which is called Chhang (same as in Nepal Sikkim and some parts of Uttarakhand) can get you too high to be able to walk around the village. There are a lot of myths and rumours about the place like they are the pure Aryan breed but the same thing is said for Kalasha people in Chitral (Pakistan) and Malana village of Parvati Valley in #Himachal. I have also heard that women from Europe come here to get impregnated by Drokpa men to bear a child with the pure #Aryan gene, locals denied laughing on this story saying we would love to do that but no one came till date.

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