Visit a heritage home and museum rolled into one. Based on that alone, we encourage you to stay here for a few days. Gyapthago is a stellar example of old-school Ladakhi living. We love this house because of the simple and elegant way in which it shows us about Ladakhi life – from the food to the hospitality. This is how the elders of Ladakh lived, and you’ll find it’s no less comfortable than being in your own home.
Get off the main road and enter a garden of willow. You’ll see a pristine yellow and white house. The main house is a newer construction than the 200+-year-old ancestral dwelling within the property, but constructed in the same vocabulary. Stay on the first floor in rooms centred by a beautiful inner sanctum. Monks often stay here and meditate or read Buddhist scriptures.
There’s space for one group at a time, so you won’t be sharing this with anyone else but the family (who reside downstairs and will offer full privacy).
There are 4 bedrooms with queen-sized bedding and ample blankets for a warm night’s stay. This place is squeaky clean and smells of Tibetan incense and fresh mountain air.
There is an unattached western-style restroom for guests – but your small group will be the only ones who can access it!
This is the main attraction and for good reason. On one of the days, the host family makes a vegetarian five-course Tibetan feast from scratch for lunch. Even if you love your meat, make room for the things authentic home-cooked Ladakhi food can do for your taste buds.
The momos are wonderfully fresh and light, and you’ll be surprised by the delicious and creamy texture of wheat flour and barley cooked with vegetables. They showcase traditional produce and local dishes of Ladakh. The momos will melt in your mouth, and the warm barley soup will restore your energy after a long day out. You’ll warm your body up in the mountain climate with a taste of chhang – a fermented relative of beer made with barley in these parts. Chhang is usually consumed on important days like weddings or festivals. It’s a pity no brewery has them in the cities! We promise you will ask for seconds and thirds before you finish your meal.
On other meals of your stay, eat simple but hearty meals and sip on warm khava or tea. Steaming rotis, your fix of rice, and comforting dal combinations and sabzis will sit well in your belly before you explore the village around your homestay.
‘Outside’ guests often make a reservation for a traditional meal – they’re quite popular – so you’re likely to meet some interesting people on some days! It will never be more than a few others though, as this is open to very small groups at a time.
If you’re even slightly interested in the culture of Ladakh, this is a must-visit. It will open your eyes to a whole new world and lifestyle. This is a portal through time.
Gourmands who are suspicious of modern interpretations of ancient cuisines – just come here instead! Knowing how barley can be used in such delicious ways is incredible.
It is an ideal place to begin a Ladakh trip – Leh doesn’t have to be the only starting point for your exploration. This is a great home in which to acclimate yourself to the altitude and climate.
Jimmy’s Khampa is approximately 20 minutes from Leh town. More details will be given at the time of booking.
things to do
Visit the museum within the property. The family has maintained and preserved their ancestral home and here you’ll see a centuries-old kitchen, cellars that housed barley and chhaang, and rooms filled with antiques and scriptures.
There are short and long walks around the area that look out at the imposing Stok range, especially Stok Kangri, the highest mountain in Ladakh.
Visit Stok Palace, or explore the township on foot.
You aren’t too far from Leh, so you can take a short 20-minute ride or drive to the capital.
Rs. 2000 per person per night including all meals.