Sikkim : Drokpa Community – ‘Nomadic Yak Herders’ Striving To Preserve Century-Old Traditions  


  • Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent, Sikkim 

Yak and Drokpa nomads share symbiotic relations and Yak herding has remained a part of life for Drokpa nomads in the Himalayas for centuries in north Sikkim also Drokpa has carried forward their traditions and still spent their lives with Yaks in the high terrain of North Sikkim.

Commemorating the Drukpa Tshechi festival – an auspicious Buddhist festival was celebrated with zeal and vigour at 15,000 ft high Lhashar/Zachu Valley in North Sikkim on August 1. It is being organized just to keep alive their century-old tradition as number of Drokpa practicing nomadic life has decreased rapidly in last two-three decades and could be the last generation to practice this life.

The celebration was organized by the Drokpa community, the nomadic yak herders of Lhashar, and supported by Lachen Dzomsa. It began with early morning prayer rituals, followed by the traditional yak race and other activities which witnessed the participation from local populace along with a handful of visitors from across the State.

The yak race, a tradition passed down since generations is an effort made by the nomadic Drokpas to keep their unique wereak race at 15,000 feet, part of Drukpa Tshechi tradition and culture alive.

Out of six participants this year in the yak race Wangckuk Gyaltsen, 17 years, of Lashar, aged 17 and Sonam Tshering lachenpa (23 years) hailing from Lachen stood first and second respectively.

This occasion is celebrated to honour the rich cultural legacy of the community; raising awareness among the youths for continuing to carry-forward the customs, passed-down through ancestors.