give us good pashmina.
For the water you just drank, oh goat,
give us good pashmina.
Lie down in the grass and keep still, oh goat,
so that we can take your pashmina
There goes a song by the Changthangi Nomads as they comb out the fine pashmina fibres from the goats.
During a short trip, we managed to explore a little bit of the beautiful Ladakh valley in the great Himalayas. We also met very interesting people who are passionate about giving the locals their due rewards for raising & caring for the pashmina goats and combing the fine fibres from the goats in such harsh weather that is unimaginable for us to live in. The temperature drops down to minus 40 deg C during winters in the valley!
Apparently, only about 2-3% of pashmina fibres produced in Ladakh are now being converted into ultra-soft pashmina shawls locally and the rest is being sold off to other places. An effort is on to increase this percentage so the value addition passes on to the nomads and locals of the region.
The pashmina goats have 2 kinds of fur on them- the outer coat which is a kind of rough hair and the undercoat which is the ultra-soft pashmina fibre that incidentally grows during the harsh winter.
We learnt from Dr. Feroz Din Sheik of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Leh that the Changthang region of Ladakh produces the finest & most valuable pashmina fibre in the world and the fibres are as fine as 12-14 microns. (Human hair is about 80 microns) and the typical yield of pashmina fibres is just about 40-50 tons per annum.
It is very encouraging to see the efforts put in by the Government authorities, NGOs and locals for maintaining the quality and the authenticity of Ladakhi pashmina so that the consumers are sure they get what they pay for.
Efforts are on to promote hand spinning and hand weaving of this luxurious fibre in the Ladakh region itself so the locals get better benefits rather than just selling the fibres off to traders or mills.
Nice to be associated with this great land and interact with them and assist them in their endeavours by supplying world-class Spinning wheels and Hand Looms from Ashford Handicrafts and AVL looms
Our good friend & associate Nawang Phuntsog has a lovely store and studio in the main market of Leh and he shares our passion in bringing modern tools for hand spinning and weaving to Ladakh. After all, the soft and luxurious fibres deserve the best & gentle tools to work with!