The Home Stays of Langza

The Home Stays of Langza

Langza – its one of the smaller highland villages of the Spiti Valley, broken up into Upper Langza & Lower Langza and having about 12 and 9 houses respectively. With some help from EcoSphere there is a program in place where a handful of the villagers have developed a program of Home Stays. The reason this has been so important for preserving the culture is that it deters anyone from allowing a guesthouse or hostel to be built while also bringing in additional income to the locals.

As a traveler going to Langza there is the option to work with the locals and get a feel for what life can really be like. I stayed for three nights on my first visit and got to work with the Shepard, the Potter, and a local woman in the green pea fields.

Langza

My place of residence for the first beautiful night in Langza, complete with lime paint and prayer flags on the roof

The day with the potter was great, he uses a manual pottery wheel so multi tasking is necessary – sponging the wheel with a foot while molding the clay with the hands. I forgot how much I enjoyed pottery, its the combination of creating something with my hands along with the immediate result – a simple pot can be done in relatively little time.

Langza pottery

Langza pottery nico3

My pottery buddy Nico – he made some great pots and of course we had some laughs along the way.

 

Langza grandchild

The village potter and his grandson. This man was incredibly patient as his grandson climbed all over his back, pulling on his sweater and tried hanging from the Mala beads around his neck while his grandfather was in mid conversation with us.

 

 

 

Langza girl

The potters grandchildren taking a moment to admire their beautiful village

 

Langza grandchildren

The grandchildren

 

While working in the fields I really got my hands dirty so there aren’t any photos, instead I am including two photos of a woman from a different village working in her green pea fields, it was essentially the same so just use your imagination =)

Langza walk to work

The fields of Langza and a woman’s walk to work


retreat working

 

 

retreat working1

Spending a day with the shepherd was by far the highlight for me. The position is quite unique in that each day a different person from the village acts as the shepherd, taking all of the other villagers’ sheep, donkeys, and cows out to the pasture, hanging out there for 7 hours and then bringing them back. The shared responsibility seems to bring the people together because each day they are forced to interact with others as they are rounding up the animals. Of the many different areas that are used as pastures the one that I walked to that day was about an hour away. We got the animals at 7 and were walking out of the village by 730. Once we reached the spot there wasn’t much else to do besides hanging out. Occasionally one animal would wander a bit too far and one of us would take a brisk walk to bring it back but besides that theres a lot if time to kill. We walked by the river, caught a donkey and rode it for a bit and then took a nap.

This was the master shepherd for the day. He was deaf but we communicated surprisingly  well, i guess I have spent the last 5 months practicing communicating without words.

This was the master shepherd for the day. He was deaf but we communicated surprisingly well, i guess I have spent the last 5 months practicing communicating without words, and I am sure he has spent much longer than that so it worked.

The shepard brought a helper for the day and it also happen to be the first day the baby sheep went out with the heard to he needed to be carried occasionally because he could not keep up

The shepherd brought a helper for the day and it also happen to be the first day this baby sheep went out with the herd to he needed to be carried occasionally because he could not keep up

langza shep tini

Introducing Tini from Austria. Tini joined us for the day as a shepherd and did a great job hanging out while the animals grazed

langza shepard fieldBLOGG

I promise this isn’t my first attempt at shooting animal porn, only after I took this photo did I realize there were a couple goats getting it on.

Langza - shepard crpBLOG

The shepherd spend the day collecting cow/donkey/goat dung that had dried in the sun. This is the main fuel source during the winter for all of the highland villages in the Spiti. In all the homes I have been in there is a full room dedicated to storing stacks of dried dung.

 







 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Erica · September 27, 2014

    The main photo for this post is the most impressive photo I’ve seen in a while. It’s stunning. I’ll take an incredibly large print of that one whenever you get home.

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