Changthang Valley

Changthang Nomads

Changthang means Eastern Flat Land ; it is the land of Nomads located in the southeastern Ladakh, India, with vast highlands and giant lakes. The average altitude of the area is around 14600m from sea level. The Changtang is home to the Changpas, a nomadic Tibetan people. As of 1989 there were half a million nomads living in Changthang region. Unlike many other nomadic groups, the Changpa are not under pressure from settled farmers as the vast majority of land they inhabit is too inhospitable for farming The people of the Changthang are nomadic pastoralists, they are known as 'Changpa means “Easterners,The main attraction of this area is Changpa nomads, wild animals, lakes and rare birds.


The climate of Changthang is poor and unpredictable. The summers are pleasant but short and thunderstorms can arise at any time of year, often with hail. The winters are cold and freezing-like, despite the latitude, due to the high elevation


The economy of the region is based around the livestock of the Nomads, and the most important resource is the plants to animals graze on. The Changpa’s over one year limits the impact that their animals have on the grazing lands, the grasses of which are dead for eight to nine months of the year, and afford poor fodder during that time.In addition to changing grass, there are numerous other techniques developed by the Changpa to even out the periods of surpluses and shortages. Dairy products are transformed into less perishable forms (like butter and cheese) during the summer when the livestock are producing high levels of milk. Animals are slaughtered in the beginning of winter, after fattening up in the summer and while the weather is conducive to storage Trade has played an important role for the Changpa as they are not able to produce all the goods and crops they consume. Salt, meat, live animals, wool, and unprocessed cashmere are traded for essentials such as grain, cooking pots, fruits, vegetables and other metal implements, as well as more modern goods.