Drokpas – The Eccentric Tribe of Ladakh

The tough terrains of Ladakh dazzle because of this vivacious tribe. Drokpas are said to be one of oldest, and original, tribes of India, Their colourful jewellery and heavy clothes make them look different from the rest of Kashmiris. Drokpas mostly live in the disputed territory between India and Pakistan – the only fertile valley of Ladakh. They are modern in many aspects, and extra marital affairs are considered normal in them.


As per historians, the original Drokpas were a group of soldiers, who were left out from the Alexander’s army. Also, the Indo-Aryan migration theory is much widely accepted in case of Drokpas. The relationship between the two languages, the mention of Gilgit in their folk songs and anthropological studies suggest the arrival of Indo-Aryans to India in phases.


The usual norm of society is different for the Drokpas. For them infidelity doesn’t exist. For centuries, the Drokpas have been indulging in public kissing and wife-swapping without inhibitions. Their main source of income is through their own cultivation. They strictly prefer marrying within their tribe.

Fashion & Jewellery

Drokpas’ cultural richness and uniqueness is reflected in their exquisite dresses and ornaments. The males wear a large woollen dress held at the waist-over woollen trousers. The women don special woollen dresses and deck-up themselves with shells, beads and silver jewellery. Goatskin capes complete the traditional dress for both the genders. Both men and women wear heavy headgear decorated with flowers, coins and seashells.