Many years ago – I can’t remember when it was – I met Nawang Phuntsog, the owner of Nomadic Woollen Mills. I bought a cashmere wool scarf for my brother back then. And found that I really enjoy talking to him, he is full of stories! In 2018, Nawang was in Germany launching his scarves. I accompanied him and then decided to distribute them myself. I really learned a lot about the production from him and was also able to visit various production sites. I still love his scarves and have sold quite some over the years, but I stopped distributing them. I wasn’t really good at it.
In 2019, I stayed with him for most of my Ladakh winter visit. That was nice. That’s also when I got to know his wife Chorol a bit better, and their three children. They are all boys, the last one a very early premature birth. At that time he was still a baby and it was hoped that he would be able to see. But that didn’t happen, he is blind and can only distinguish light and darkness. Nevertheless, he is a very happy child who loves to listen and is especially enthusiastic about music. He sings, he uses things as rhythm/drum instruments and he loves listening to Sufi music. First we were a bit in the living room drinking hot drinks.
Afterwards, we had to visit Nawang’s new studio. It is not far from him in Choglamsar. There are already some spinning wheels and looms for the in-house production of cashmere wool shawls – which turn out differently from those woven by machines. In general, the looms are also new to Ladakh. In this studio, women are trained for production and pieces are made for sale. Nawang never stopped at the point where he had achieved something, which he then simply continued to do, but he used to looked at how things could be changed and improved. Always with the aim of bringing many parts of the production chain as close as possible to the goats (some things, such as large-scale machine weaving, are not possible due to the climatic conditions in Ladakh, at least not yet).
Then we stood on top of the roof and looked at the construction developments in Choglamsar. Just 4 years ago, the area was quite empty, but now many new buildings have been built and are under construction. The area is close to industry, i.e. field irrigation is rather absent, but the groundwater is of good quality.
The boys have bicycles that they like to use – like here on the way home.
Back at the house, Chorol had already cooked a delicious lunch (aubergines). I almost filled my belly too much.
So it was good that we all set off together again afterwards, in the direction of Indus. We had to pass through a large company. Such sights are still quite new to me in Ladakh.
We passed the ice hockey ring. But it was no longer possible to play there because there was already too much thaw.
we had to cross smaller streams
And then I was amazed: there was an outdoor gym! With a paved longer path – for jogging? for cycling? for walking? I “had” to take lots of pictures. It seemed so absurd – on the other hand, there are also more and more Ladakhis who sit around in the office and don’t automatically get a lot of exercise.
The nearby Indus makes the area quite attractive after all, despite the construction company, the other buildings and a road that is well travelled even in winter.
And then it soon got dark and we had to say goodbye. It is an absolute feel-good family whose company is nice to enjoy. The interaction with each other, with the different idiosyncrasies and the even closer bond with the special child, which also requires more physical contact is super pleasant.
And then the Dosmoche Festival was waiting for us the next day!