Laya : a “eth­ni­cally dis­tinct tra­di­tional way of life”

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Pen­jor/Laya

The in­hab­i­tants of Laya vil­lage un­der Gasa Dzongkhag are eth­ni­cally dis­tinct and have been con­tin­u­ing their tra­di­tional way of life so far. The vil­lage si­t­u­ated at an al­ti­tude of about 3800m above the sea level.

The vil­lage is ac­ces­si­ble only by eight hours day trek from the near­est road point. How­ever, the scenic beauty of jour­ney will have good mem­o­ries while walk­ing through some of the most pris­tine nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments in the coun­try and the vil­lage will see with its unique cul­ture.

Ten­zin Phuntsho, 58 years old from Laya vil­lage said that the vil­lage had dis­tinct cul­ture where women wear a long black an­kle-length skirt called the zoom and they wear their long black hair topped with con­i­cal-shaped hats which are made up of bam­boo knit­ted while men wear the Bhutanese cos­tume (gho).

He added that in olden days even the men used to wear dif­fer­ent dress how­ever he said that it’s very dif­fi­cult for them to re­mem­ber the type of dress that their fore­fa­ther used to wear.

He said that their clothes are made out of yak wool and the women wear jew­elry made of items such as sil­ver and turquoise.

Merry from United States of Amer­ica who vis­ited Laya for the first time said that though trekking up­hill from the near­est road point find her with tough time but she said that she can­not de­scribe her hap­pi­ness as she en­joyed lot.

She added that the en­vi­ron­ment along the way seem very en­joy­able with chirp­ing of dif­fer­ent birds.

She said that she found pe­cu­liar way of liv­ing and more­over the way of dress­ing for women seem pe­cu­liar com­pared to the Bhutanese women she ever en­coun­tered.

She added that the most dis­tinc­tive fea­ture of the Layap women’s dress is their con­i­cal hat sharp pointed to the sky.

Jeff El­liott 56 years old shared the same feel­ings and said that it’s very dif­fi­cult to ex­plain his hap­pi­ness for vis­it­ing Laya. He said that if you have time, ev­ery­one should visit Laya as one will find with unique cul­ture with lo­cal di­alect (Layakha) that are spo­ken by semi­no­madic com­mu­ni­ties in the north of the district. He said that the Layaps are the only in­hab­i­tant on this small part of the coun­try.

“Most of the peo­ple still live as semi-no­madic yak herders, spend­ing their time be­tween the vil­lages and the high al­ti­tude yak herd­ing camps,” said Jeff.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the Layap lived a semi­no­madic life­style, which de­pend their life on yaks and horses.

Ow­ing to the cold weather in Laya, few crops can be planted that in­cludes wheat and few veg­eta­bles. Layaps also tra­di­tion­ally pick cordy­ceps which is the main source of in­come for the high­lander.

Mean­while, most vil­lagers mi­grate to Pu- nakha val­ley in the win­ter with their pony and re­turned back to their vil­lage in the spring­time.

Agata Po­ni­a­towski, from New York, a stu­dent of Royal Thim­phu Col­lege (RTC) said that the cul­ture of Laya is re­ally great where we can see the life and cul­ture of no­madic peo­ple.

She said that though she had done some trek in the coun­try, how­ever she said that “The trek to Laya from Koina just few kilo­me­ters away from Gasa Dzongkhag head­quar­ter, I would def­i­nitely take this mem­o­ries.”

An­other stu­dent of RTC, Kollja said that the en­vi­ron­ment of the Laya is very amaz­ing. He said that the at­mos­phere of Laya is bet­ter com­pare to other places and he even wished that he would loved to study there if there is col­leges in that place as there won’t be any dis­tur­bances.

Mean­while, the Laya vil­lage lies en­tirely within Jigme Dorji Na­tional Park and houses about 260 house­holds with a pop­u­la­tion of about 800. It’s has mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties like school, health fa­cil­i­ties, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­new­able nat­u­ral re­sources (RNR) ex­ten­sion cen­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.