Renowned as ‘the Land of Aryans’, Dha and Hanu village are settlements of Drokpa or Brokpa community in Ladakh. The village is located about 163 km northwest of Leh at the confluence of rivers Shyok and Indus in the Kargil region in Jammu and Kashmir. According to popular belief, the Brokpas were part of the army of Alexander the Great and came to the region over two thousand years ago. The Brokpas reside in five villages; however, tourists are allowed only in two villages – Dha and Hanu. Besides tourists, the villages also attract anthropologists. The custom of marrying within the community has ensured the Brokpas have retained their distinctive features. Brokpa have a fair complexion and blue colored eyes. The custom of marrying within the community has, however, limited the population of Brokpas. The community hardly numbers over 2000. Drokpa or Brokpa community is racially and culturally distinct from the common Ladakhis. The community has a unique sense of dressing. The community especially women makes it a practice to wear flowers on their hats. The practice has earned them the sobriquet of flower women of Ladakh. The community also practices polyandry.
Unlike the rest of Ladakh which is predominantly Buddhist, Brokpas are animists and follow the Bon religion. They consider Ibex as a sacred animal. The Brokpa people have preserved their traditions and rituals over the ages. The villages of the Brokpas are also famous for their scenic splendor. Unlike the spartan landscape of Ladakh, the Brokpa villages have more green cover. The temperature in the villages is also higher than in other parts of Ladakh which has also led to thriving vegetation. The temperature during summer reaches up to 40 degrees Celsius. Isolated from the modern world, the community mainly thrives on horticulture. Apricots and apples are the main crops. Apricots, especially from DHA, are renowned for their sweetness. The apricot stones are used for producing oil. Dah and Hanu don’t have hotels or guest houses. But many tourism companies do offer tented accommodation. There are no restaurants in the village. It is advisable to carry your own food. You can buy snacks and other eatables from the small shops in the village. But if you want to stay longer than one day you would need to seek the help of locals.
During summer, it is quite hot in the villages as the temperature rises to 40 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit is from June to October.
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