About the project - Our relationship with Henasku began in the summer of 2017. An intimate group of like-minded travellers spent a few days living with the village folk and observing their ways. We lived in their homes, ate together and exchanged stories. This summer we want to go back with the aim of documenting a lot of their culture, heritage and tradition which will become increasingly difficult to access and preserve going forward. We will also work with the local community to ideate and propose a long-term livelihood intervention that will supplement their current incomes. The workshop has been planned over a week, keeping aside adequate time for acclimatization, and four days of complete immersion in Henasku. Our time in Henasku will be spent in semi-structured sessions, with mentors and project leads. We will break into smaller groups who will each participate in research and cultural inquiry, and conducting architectural study in the village.
The cost of the program is Rs 29,999 and includes stay, meals (except those in transit), internal travel and workshop costs. Travel to and from Leh is additional, as are personal expenses of any kind.
Roots Ladakh is a 3 year young travel start-up based in Ladakh, India. They are a for-profit social enterprise, in the business of adventure and rural tourism and are pioneers in promoting the lesser known parts of Ladakh – Kargil and Zanskar. Their philosophy is to create 'shared value' between the business and the community it thrives in, and they believe that travel based initiatives are the best way to re-introduce Kargil and Zanskar and at the same time provide livelihood opportunities for the locals.
Tucked away behind a gorge and surrounded by high mountains, somewhere between Kargil and Leh, lies the tiny little village called Henasku. Once a thriving community and a critical stop along the Silk route, today the village has less than 300 residents and a certain stillness in the air. While most of the menfolk are away on work and the children in bigger towns and cities in search for better education, it is the women who form the pillars of the entire eco-system. Known as ‘Zbalung’, which literally means ‘the invisible village’, in the local language, the name was coined as a reference to the mountains that surround and protect it, thereby making it invisible to those who don’t know of the place. Today the name also assumes a deeper significance as a reference to a past of importance and glory, which somehow over time has been reduced to near oblivion.
How to get there -
The most convenient option is to fly into Leh.
Road access to Leh may or may not be open by end-May.
During the village stay, you will have plenty of time for interaction with the locals. We will spend the evenings around bonfires, chatting and exchanging stories.
We will do a bit of sight-seeing, and stop at monasteries and local places during transit to and from the village. And we have an entire day in Leh that has been kept free, for your leisure.