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Faith and Festivals of Changthang | Living with the Changpas of Ladakh | Episode #3


Religion plays a very important role in the lives of the Changpas. They are devout buddhists. But while Buddhism preaches non-violence towards all living creatures, the Changpas raise their animals to be killed and sold off for meat. So their lives are bit of a paradox And in this episode we will see how the Changpas balance these 2 aspects of their lives through prayers and rituals. The Changpas actually believe that they are leading a sinful life. This thought fills them with regret, and they spend a large portion of their lives trying to atone for these sins. Almost every activity they do, if it doesn’t involve talking, the Changpas would do it with a mantra on their lips and perhaps a prayer wheel in their hands. This is very apparent in the evenings when the changpas retire home after a long day with their animals. One of the evening routines is for Tsering Dorje to recite a few mantras from his prayer book. He would start reciting the mantras and one by one the others would join in, humming the prayer while still performing their chores. Soon the entire house would be reverberating with the sound of prayers. Every winter, after their new year Losar celebrations, the Changpas perform a special purifying puja called the Jyabten at their homes. Monks from the nearby Korzok and Thukje monasteries come stay at the village for one month to perform the pujas in every household. The monks light butter lamps and prepare numerous tormas and chodpas as offerings to Guru Padmasabhava. And to the beings that reside in the various realms of the Wheel of Life. The upper 3 realms belong to the humans, the gods (devas) and demi-gods (asuras), And the 3 lower realms belong to the animals, to hell and to the hungry ghosts. Chodpa is offered to the gods and demi-gods while the Torma is given to the beings residing in the lower realms More specifically they are given to the hungry ghosts which are associated with addictions, compulsions and obsessions. People who are never satisfied with what they have and always want more may become Hungry Ghosts in their next lives. Sculpted out of tsampa and butter, the Torma represents the negative or destructive energies that surround us. All that is evil, even one’s own bad features, can be projected onto the torma and destroyed. This is the reason why the tormas are always thrown out or burnt as soon as the rituals are completed. The tormas are usually thrown out in the direction where the negativity is believed to have originated. The month long pujas end with the festival of Tangpo Choa which happens on the 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. The festival beings with the tying of prayer flags on top of Pologonka La to honour the Lhato or protector deity that resides there. Pologonka La is the pass that leads to Rupshu, the home of these Changpas. Back in the village the monks are busy sculpting various elaborate tormas for the festival. The main centre piece is the torma of a deity called Troma Nagmo, the Fierce Black One or more commonly referred to as the Tibetan Kali. Blue-black in colour, she is wrathful in appearance with three round glaring eyes, a gaping red mouth and yellow hair flowing upward like flames. Every aspect her form is designed to convey a spiritual meaning. For example, the three eyes symbolise her ability to see everything in the past, present and future. One member from each household has to be present for the main puja. They gather together at the village chieftains house and sing various traditional songs with a cup of Chang in their hands. The main event of the day are the horse races or the Sta gyuks Which happens in the open plains outside the village. Not many Changpas own horses these days. Most of the horses have been replaced by cars and pickup trucks so the races are not as grand as it used to be in the past. But still, the joy on the rider’s faces is unmistakable, especially when their horses are in full gallop. The next activity is to destroy the tormas used in the pujas. One by one the tormas are placed on the ground and the Changpas come galloping on their horses and try to hit the torma with rocks. The riders whose stones hits the target are offered the Khadak (white scarf) and some Chang as reward. The festival winds down in the evening. The priests take all the remaining tormas to the outskirts of the village. They say a few prayers there and then destroy the tormas by throwing them into a fire. This symbolises the destruction of all negative energies surrounding the village and paves the way for a fresh fruitful year for the changpas.

Jean Kelley

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93 COMMENTS

  1. DIGITAL NOMAD Posted on April 3, 2019 at 8:24 am

    👌👌👌eagerly waiting for the video…

    Reply
  2. Geetanjali Kamble Posted on April 3, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Balance between Buddhism and killing for survival… Waiting..

    Reply
  3. SRC Wild and Adventure Posted on April 3, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Eagerly waiting <3

    Reply
  4. Joshua Dolpa Posted on April 3, 2019 at 10:31 am

    5hrs to go….

    Reply
  5. Avinash Thawait RPR Posted on April 3, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Great work sir

    Reply
  6. Mudasir M Posted on April 3, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Waiting bro!

    Reply
  7. Monster Traveller Posted on April 3, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Finally waiting is over

    Reply
  8. anil panta Posted on April 3, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Hats off to you 👍. All these years you have been bringing these fabulous stories, marvelous work with your grit and dedication. The slow mo was beautiful. The changpas throwing flour shows happiness and joy, whatever be the day. Thank you. God bless you and keeps you safe always. Salute friend (if I am allowed to address you as such, our areas of interest are somewhat similar. )

    Reply
  9. Solo Wanderer Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Worth setting a reminder for this video.

    Man you deserve more views and more subscribers.

    I felt like i was watching nat geo like i use to do in my childhood days.

    Reply
  10. Rita Narayanan Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    what an unusual experience to have 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  11. sumauli mukherjee Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Your notification is a bliss ☺️

    Reply
  12. Karanbir singh Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    The new format with small text captions in between the video clips is a great idea. Keeps audience pinned.

    Great job!

    Reply
  13. SpiDer Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Running out of words to praise this beautiful work by you. 😊

    Reply
  14. vasu hooda Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Beautiful.. I am finding it hard to keep my mind engaged with the captions.. It would be nice to keep the captions really small, descriptive and reduce their number.. Your channel intro video is perfect example..

    Reply
  15. Deep kwatra Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Can't explain in words what you actually did.. Superb job.. This 9:15 mins video took alot hard work n amazingly you present in this one.

    Reply
  16. jimmy Singh Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Excellent. What an insight to their life !!

    Reply
  17. Tenzin Phende Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    You deserve more subscribers and views, youre the true definition of creator. Much love from tibet. We thank you !

    Reply
  18. Soumya Debnath Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    best travel channel

    Reply
  19. Jair Justo Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Muito bonito seu país que Deus abençoe vcs todos

    Reply
  20. Stanzin Khenrab Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    🙏Thank you for making this wonderful videos… LADAKH and mainly places like CHANGTHANG are deserved to explore more to the entire world. 🌍

    Reply
  21. Believer Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Though killing is strictly prohibited in buddhism but living in plateau above 4500 meter where no vegetation grows….

    The only survival option left for the nomads of ladakh,Tibet and mongolia is relying on meat products…….but still nomads try as much as possible not to kill animals…..

    Hope people will understand this…

    Reply
  22. SRC Wild and Adventure Posted on April 3, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Beautiful…..

    Reply
  23. Mridul Bhowmick Posted on April 3, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Before a sinner descent to hell
    His fortune blazes like a fire..

    Reply
  24. Chandan Bhardwaj Posted on April 3, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    wow! you have an art to make us travel in the time by showing such unique places, people and their customs in your very well executed/edited videos. Bravo!!

    Reply
  25. stanzin gaychet Posted on April 3, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Nice….

    Reply
  26. Rajat B Posted on April 3, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    How do they survive without North face or decathlon jackets

    Reply
  27. Lakhan Bharti Posted on April 3, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Hello bro plz contact me 9796681000

    Reply
  28. Maha Karuna Posted on April 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    ཧཧཧཧཧཧ་ཏང་གེན་ཡིན་ན་ད་འཇུ་འཇུ་བདེ་མོ་ཏོང་ཞག་ཡུག་མ་ཅོས་ཧེ་ཧཧཧཧ

    Reply
  29. JR Posted on April 3, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks for making such an awesome video on Changpa. Coming from Changthang I know how hard Changpa's life is and you have very beautifully shown in these videos.

    Reply
  30. trending Ladakh ཕ'ཡུལ། Posted on April 3, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Changpas r the best people living their own simple life

    Reply
  31. Bee Rhabit Posted on April 3, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Considering their circumstances, harsh climate and altitude it is survival that understandably compels them to follow this way of life. It seems that their faith serves as an anchor to keep them going through their daily struggles. Very insightful, enjoyed the snippets of singing. The tibetan sayings have taken it to the next level…thank you 🙏

    Reply
  32. Vab Posted on April 3, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    It’s almost like they were playing Holi towards the end.

    Reply
  33. Bidyut Banerjee Posted on April 4, 2019 at 2:30 am

    What refreshing videos you make bro. Only for you I am never far from Ladakh. You explore in a way which I always want but hardly succeed to do so

    Reply
  34. Rahul Singh Posted on April 4, 2019 at 3:12 am

    You are amazing

    Reply
  35. Biswambar Nayak Posted on April 4, 2019 at 3:20 am

    there r lots of other places also… why only ladakh

    Reply
  36. Sunny verma Posted on April 4, 2019 at 3:35 am

    You deserve much more subscribers. Great work✌️

    Reply
  37. Alex pul Posted on April 4, 2019 at 5:12 am

    the awesome video really nice episode, watch this video now "@b6J0" hope you guys like this too

    Reply
  38. Shubham Rawat Posted on April 4, 2019 at 5:20 am

    Simply beautiful💟
    From uttrakhand🇮🇳

    Reply
  39. Humanity First Posted on April 4, 2019 at 6:13 am

    Thanks sir… Oneday i will ditch this life and become Monk… Thanks sir thanks.. ♥️

    Reply
  40. BRO1 Rider Posted on April 4, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Your videos is like documentary n I loved your work .
    You have lots of patience.

    Reply
  41. t Ganka Posted on April 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I hope your zeal and energy stays the same in many more years. Tashi Delek 🙏

    Reply
  42. Roadside Traveller Posted on April 4, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    amzing

    Reply
  43. chimezap Posted on April 5, 2019 at 12:03 am

    People call them chinese when go to Delhi, Mumbai or other parts of India.

    Reply
  44. Vajra Heart Posted on April 5, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Thumbs up and Subscribed! Congratulations and thank you for the beautiful recording of a way of life that is so environmentally sustainable and respectful. Sadly it's slowly disappearing. They spoken sounds more of Tibetan dialect from Ngari than Ladhaki. Also can't help notice photo of HH Dalai Lama in their altar.

    I wonder how far this location is to the Tibetan border and also wonder how the way of life is across the border on the Tibetan side. I am afraid, China being super micro-manager has completely changed in the name of modernization on the other side. So in that respect kudos to India in respecting the local culture yet allowing children to get education in Leh and option to choose live the modern life.

    Reply
  45. Abhinandan Sharma Posted on April 5, 2019 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for bringing it to the masses.

    Reply
  46. ANUP TANWAR Posted on April 6, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    The way you make the videos is awesome. Your videos are story telling and amazing. Keep it up. 🙂

    Reply
  47. Siddhartha Chawla Posted on April 7, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    bro plan something in may19…ill be travelling im free after 10.05.19

    Reply
  48. Malkit Singh Posted on April 8, 2019 at 7:39 am

    awesome content, I traveled through these places last year and still can't get them out of my head.

    Reply
  49. Hitesh Purohit Posted on April 11, 2019 at 7:42 am

    ❤️Watching from thar desert jaisalmer rajasthan❤️

    Reply
  50. Prakash Singh Posted on April 12, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    buddhism i like

    Reply
  51. Yeshi Sabrina Lee Posted on April 18, 2019 at 6:19 am

    Love you brother so much hard work has been put in yr video..

    Reply
  52. Sothin Manohar Posted on April 19, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    It is a great pleasure to see your vlogs bro…. thanks for such a great infos… with lot of love from KERALA

    Reply
  53. Old skool with punjabi trending Posted on April 19, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    u r the greatest in our world .. slute for your its hardworking

    Reply
  54. Umair Shahzad Posted on April 21, 2019 at 10:58 am

    amazing work. love from Pakistan

    Reply
  55. sonam ladakh Posted on April 22, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Changpas are found in changthang area of ladakh.They are nomads and it is colder place.

    Reply
  56. Solo Traveller Posted on April 28, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Want to lead a life like you.

    Reply
  57. Umang Saikia Posted on April 28, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Ur voice is mesmerising

    Reply
  58. Travel 2 Mountain Posted on May 2, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    क्या बात है भाई।। बहुत ही उम्दा….

    Reply
  59. Travel 2 Mountain Posted on May 2, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    Plz give your mail id

    Reply
  60. Atish Banerjee Posted on May 16, 2019 at 5:45 am

    I went to Ladakh in 2018 and really enjoyed it! I went for birdwatching and didn't have time to see the local culture. Your videos are really good!

    Reply
  61. Deep Garbyal Posted on May 17, 2019 at 10:59 am

    The simple joy in their eyes is unmistakable.

    Reply
  62. Lokesh Negi Posted on May 18, 2019 at 5:59 am

    #vibes 🙏

    Reply
  63. Ms. D. Posted on May 21, 2019 at 2:17 am

    beautiful people!

    Reply
  64. Tse Tan Posted on May 30, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    @4:34 when he’s tying the flag shouts, “Soo sooo” (meaning victory, victory). Usually, we say , “kyi kyi soo soo Lha gyalo” (victory to the god).

    Reply
  65. Jane Doe Posted on May 31, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    It’s very intriguing that you showed the wheel of life in this video. One theory is that we are already in a pseudo hungry ghost realm, as we can can see that the society is consumed with consumerism. No matter how much junk one buys one is never satisfied, only hungers for more….. the greed has become greater than need and it is a bottomless bucket which can’t be filled while life is whiled away .
    Btw am from Ladakh, shamm side.
    Your videos do justice to the beauty of all the landscapes you have captured. Ladakh and spiti. Good luck!

    Reply
  66. Goldie Hans Posted on June 1, 2019 at 5:50 am

    काम करते रहो नाम जपते रहो । when one is constantly chanting the Lord's name and doing his or her destined duties there is no more sin attached there because it is counted as "Akarma"( non doing) in "Karma"( doing). In other words it is counted as "nishkama karma"

    Reply
  67. Dichen Dolker Posted on June 2, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    jankpas r really good hearted…😍❣️

    Reply
  68. Joshua Dolpa Posted on June 7, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    I would've never known about the Changpas if there were no INDIA IN MOTION. I thankyou from the bottom of my heart and hope and pray to see more fruits of your efforts.

    Reply
  69. Tara Aliyeva Posted on June 11, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Simplicity is so beautiful.

    Reply
  70. SRIKANTA SEN Posted on June 15, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I think really it's a good way to view there life style & culture so very sample & v good

    Reply
  71. Stanzin Chosfil Posted on June 16, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Location

    Reply
  72. Deepak Bhati Posted on June 22, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Boss you are 💯👌 owsom… I like you video's, amazing…

    Reply
  73. arti choke Posted on June 22, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    You are beating BBc with your truly amazing videos :-)- keep up with the great work!

    Reply
  74. Manoj Mallick Posted on June 24, 2019 at 6:11 am

    Pls shoot the life of nepal , mehgalaya, nagaland also. Your videos are the best story telling and what a director of photography you are just excellent.

    Reply
  75. Amit Dixit Posted on June 27, 2019 at 5:20 am

    Love your creation. I watch again and again with mesmerizing senses. Lots of thanks

    Reply
  76. Gzunfar Iqbal Posted on June 27, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    ALLAHAKBAR.

    Reply
  77. Rajpoot Naz Posted on June 28, 2019 at 9:38 am

    غزوہ ہند
    من فتح اللہ قریب
    پاکستان

    Reply
  78. stapea C Posted on June 30, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Though I appreciate ur work.It's really inspiring but I wanna clear one thing for u n ur viewers so they might not get wrong idea about Buddhism or changpas as u have mentioned at the starting about being a Buddhist and selling Nd eating animals … Firstly, as we all know it's normal food chain to consume one another according to scientific or survival perspective but if see through religious way, it seems unright. Buddhism as u know teach nonviolence Nd no killing n harming to others even if it's animals or insect…. But being a changpa and a Buddhist is quite hard. Their prime desire is to survive like any other people or living orgs. on this planet. Not killing an animal or eating one doesn't make one a true Buddhist if u don't have the inner quality, compassion Nd kindness towards other sentient being . And I, myself never say that I'm true buddhist just because I m not consuming non-veg. If I had to be that true strict follower of Buddha,I ryt now should be in solitude meditating nd following 8 fold path Nd not holding this phone Nd typing all these.
    So what I meant to say is, that these changpas survival is based on their animal and if they don't sell nd eat, their life will end in that inhospitable high altitude where vegetation is almost nill . And plus buddhist religion came later in their life.( Fyi : they themselves don't kill their animals any time they want to but they kill when they need to. And when they sacrifice their animal they pray for that animal which is giving it's life so that the family who was taking care up untill now to be surviving)
    Their life style is not much indifferent from the farmers who raise crop Nd cut them. Following religion and living worldly life is quiet hard.so they r balancing it…… my comment is just a knowledge being added about the beautiful documentary u have made so don't Think it as a negative feedback ✌☺

    Reply
  79. สายฝน ฝันบวน Posted on July 3, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    รวมการเอาขี้มูลสัตว์มาใส่ในที่ร่มมาจุดที่ๆที่ไม่โดนหิมะตกใส่ท่านก้อหาที่กำบังหิมะตกใส่ที่จุดไฟนะหมายถึงร่มบังหิมะตกใส่เตาหน่ะช่วยท่านที่เมืองนอกแล้วนะ

    Reply
  80. สายฝน ฝันบวน Posted on July 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    สร้างร่มสำหรับจุดไฟเชื้อเพลิงกันหิมะตกใส่

    Reply
  81. สายฝน ฝันบวน Posted on July 3, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    เอาสังกะสีที่เมืองไทยขนส่งทางรถไฟก้อได้

    Reply
  82. สายฝน ฝันบวน Posted on July 3, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    สังกะสีทำจากสะเตนเลสหรือเหล็กแบบบางๆสามารถช่วนเป็นที่ร่มกันหิมะได้หรือกระเบื้องก้อได้หินได้หินแบบบางๆบังหิมะตกนะ

    Reply
  83. PHIA RIWONG Posted on July 7, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Great to see the Land of My Ancestors…. and the lifestyle being documented. Awesome and authentic film and storyline without any extra masala as people usually do…. the vast Central Asian Plateau area is considered inhospitable by many but is home for us Ladakhis, and numerous people groups right across the region of the Greater Trans Himalayan Region, Tibetan Plateau, Northern Afghanistan, Mongolia, Tibet, and all Central Asian countries.

    Reply
  84. Stanxin སྟན་འཛིན། Dadul འགྲ་དུལ། Posted on July 12, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    Very nice love you..

    Reply
  85. LOBZANG TUNDUP Posted on July 26, 2019 at 8:03 am

    Osm yar . I like the video👌👌👌🙏

    Reply
  86. Abhisekh chetry Posted on July 31, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Brother u deserve millions and millions views

    Reply
  87. KANCHAN BHOITE Posted on August 9, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks for this special episodes

    Reply
  88. patel Patel Posted on August 17, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Superb video👌👌

    Reply
  89. Amit Brahme Posted on October 19, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Great people!!

    Reply
  90. cooking shooking desi Posted on December 14, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Waooooo very nice 👍👌👌💐

    Reply
  91. བཡངས་ འདྲོན Jeje Posted on January 16, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Lots of love from spiti 😍

    Reply
  92. ajay singh Posted on February 6, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Sir your vedio is great. Makeing vedio Hindi also.

    Reply
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