On our expedition to the remote region of Ladakh in northeastern India, we seemed to arrive at each village exactly at harvest time (late August through mid-September). The staple crop of the area is barley, although we often saw fields of wheat, peas, mustard, and assorted vegetables. A roasted barley meal called ngamphe is the principal item of the Ladakhi diet, but barley beer (chang) has got to be a close second.

The harvesting is done communally and often accompanied by call-and-response singing. Despite the harsh climate and terrain, the people of Ladakh could not have been any sweeter. A cheerful greeting of Juley, Juley! was all that was needed to elicit a sunny smile from anyone we met.

–Bill Abbott, WT Founder and President, Journey to Ladakh


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