Before They Pass Away: A Photographer Races After Vanishing Tribes

By Jane Hwang - 2014-01-07T15:48:54Z

Photograph by Jimmy Nelson BV courtesy teNeues

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The Drokpa of India

The Dropka are know for maintaining an insular community and unique features, maintained by marrying only within the community, and for their colorful ceremonial costumes, which have been passed down through the generations. 

"Around 2,500 Drokpas live in the villages in the Dha-Hanu valley of Ladakh, which is situated in Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. Historians have identified the Drokpa people as the only authentic descendants of the Aryans left in India. One theory is that the original Drokpas were a group of soldiers from Alexander’s army who lost their way while returning to Greece after having been defeated by the Indian king Porus in 326 BC, while another – less romantic, but probably more accurate – is that the Drokpa descend from the Dards, an Aryan tribe that centuries ago moved into western Ladakh from the Hindukush mountains, settling in Dha-Hanu, the only fertile valley in Ladakh." -- Before They Pass Away

Left: Dha Village, Kashmir, February 2012