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Traditional Sports of Ladakh – Archery

The word ‘sports’ evokes visions of young fit people. It evokes images of competitive spirits.

But in most folk sports that I have watched in places that remain pure and unspoilt by the wave of homogenising westernisation, both of these images would not be representative of the folk sports prevalent.

Football is Goa is played by old and young – more for the fun of the game than for competing with other teams.

And so also in Ladakh – archery is practiced by the young and the old. Seniors are treated with additional courtesy and have a valid place in the scheme of things – an extremely endearing characteristic of the sports displayed in a folk festival.

The bows and arrows are simply made, with no high tech aiming devices or powering devices attached.

A short photo essay :

Making the target

The freshly made target

Testing the Bow

The Old and the young

The Monk Archer

The feathered arrow

The folk festival canopy where wheat chang and Ladakhi tea were served to all

And a good time was had by all!!

jm

Oct 2011

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