The Changpa are a semi-nomadic Tibetan people. They are mainly found in the Changtang, a high plateau that stretches across the cold desert of Ladakh (meaning 'land of the passes'), Jammu and Kashmir. A smaller number lived in the western regions of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, until they were forced to move by China.
The Changpa are semi-nomadic: they usually stay in one place for a few months in a row, near pastures where their sheep, yaks and Pashmina goats can graze. The Chanpga spend around 5-6 hours a day with the herd, and they are known for having a strong bond with their animals. They bring the herd to high altitudes for grazing every day, after which the males will be separated from the females to be milked. The cashmere wool from the Pashmina goats that is used to create the famous Pashmina shawls, is traded for rice, grain and other basics.
The Chanpga mainly live in the Changtang in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. It’s a high-altitude plateau that stretches 1,600 kilometers from southeastern Ladakh in India to northwestern Tibet in China, that reaches heights of more than 4,500 meters. Temperatures can get pretty low at that altitude, and it’s sometimes even snowing during the summer. During winter is most of the time too cold to work, so the Changpa people work as hard as possible during the few summer months a year. In the winter they take time to relax and celebrate live.
The Changpa live in a remote area and the roads are most of the time nothing more than a patch of tire marks in the sand or grass, which they travel when they are exchanging goods with other communities.
This tribe’s motto could be ‘work hard, play hard’, because the Changpa pursue a clear goal: to work as much as possible in the summer months, and to relax in winter, when it’s not possible to work due to the extreme low temperatures. In order to accomplish this, they follow the instructions of the head of their community, who tells them when and where they are going with their herds. The chief of the community is most of the time an older male, who has experience in crossing the plateau.
‘Work hard, play hard’ is also important for modern business nomads. Although we might not want to work a few months in a row, we should maintain a balance between working and relaxing. There are lots of options at Tribes: drinking a beer at the bar, enjoying a cup of coffee, going to the gym in your break, or joining a yoga class.