In my endeavor to catalogues diverse humans, I got an opportunity to make portrait of Brokpa Girl from one of the rare Ladakh tribes, Dard Aryans. Well, one needs to take the pain to travel all the way to remove villages such as Dha, Hanu, Garkone and Darchik on both sides of the Indus River to spot the community. I was lucky to meet them in Delhi.
How did I meet Dard Aryans in Delhi?
I went out for photography of Republic Day Parade in Delhi in mid-Jan 2019. I knew there’s some seminar going on in IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi) where Dard Aryans living conditions, their contribution to the society, and promotion of tourism in the region was to be discussed in the event. Had no idea what can I expect there. Neither was I invited.
I decided to visit the Dard Aryans event for possibly some story since I had reserved the day for photography in Delhi. It’s not difficult for a person who look sincere and have a DSLR in hand to make space in a public event. With this confidence, I knew I’ll make a good mark but didn’t know whether I’d waste my time there. I was still determined to visit the place because it was not much of the travel time from Rajpath to IGNCA. I was curious to know about the Dard Aryans tribe from Leh.
How to make close portraits in not so public events?
Although the seminar was free of cost, but it was on invitation only. When I reached there, the security asked me to show invitation. I said I’ll just hang-out in IGNCA café and then leave – thinking let me get-in first and then will see how to go further from there.
I parked my car and headed towards the café – I saw couple of gents in tribal dress of Dard Aryans. I felt elated that I don’t need to gatecrash, and I possibly can get people in open air. I chatted with the folks made their portraits and came to know that there are many more Dard Aryan people and Brokpa girls have come for the event. “They’ll come out for lunch in 10-15 min and you can go for photos,” said one of the guys. He was excited that he’s being photographed and was liking the picture that I showed him in camera’s display.
So, the lesson of making your way into a private event is that you don’t need aggressive gate-crashing, just take one step at a time. Sincerity helps.
Read this is you’re interested to know more about Ladakhi traditional dress and jewelry.
Portrait of Bropka Girl and Dard Aryans
Alright, as expected, and those guys at the stall also helped me introduce, I got good close portrait of beautiful Brokpa girls, traditionally dressed Dard Aryan male, and couples.
The Brokpa tribe in Leh majorly follow Buddhist religion. The tribes in Kargil district are Muslim. Whereas, A small percentage of the tribe also follow Hinduism.
They were excited about the portraits and invited me to visit their villages – they belonged to different villages in Leh/ Ladhak region Garkone and Darchik. I’ve published these images in my Street Portrait Photography book and other online stories. Looking forward to share about Brokpa tribe and Dard Aryans again when I visit the Leh and Ladakh.