Chogkhang Tibetan Medicine Centre
Chogkhang Tibetan Medicine Centre
Tibetan medicine Consultation and treatment at Jhangthang Ladakh

At Jhangthang, the work at nomadic home starts very early. All thorough the day, people have one thing or the others to do. Interestingly, nobody use watch so seriously to check time for every piece of work. As such, we too didn’t fixed anytime for the consultation and treatment. Right after we finish our breakfast, we are ready to start our work. Depending on the health condition, each patient were given full time to complete a whole process of consultation and treatment. The procedure involves listening to the problems and case history of the patient followed by pulse examination and at the same time asking various related with proper diagnosis of a disorder. If necessary, tongue examination as well as feeling various parts of the body is also done. Once the diagnosis of a disorder is complete, a proper prescription is written and offered complete description of how and when the medicines should be taken. It was felt very necessary to explain as clearly as possible about the diet which is the main cause of the health problems in the Jhangthang areas. Since, I have to cover many patients with my limited stock of Tibetan medicines, each patients were given medicines lasting 1 month and asked them to arrange more medicines from Leh( main city where all forms of Tibetan medicines are available) once they finish their stock. Nomads are not so health conscious and they are used to stand hard health problem without getting it checked and treated in time. This is one of their way of life. I have noticed that most of the health problems are chronic in nature and I know that they will not continue taking Tibetan medicine for long period of time, and the best way to treat the chronic disorders is by giving external therapies which includes mild and strong oil compress, cupping, moxibustion, cauterization and blood letting. Interestingly, nomads like to get external therapies and for me it was never a problem asking them to receive such drastic therapies. This is how we work at with the nomadic patients of Ladakh Jhangthang.

Giving consultation to an old nomadic man

Checking for cauterization point on crown of the head

Small Tibetan medicine clinic inside a nomadic tent

Giving consultation to an old sick nomadic women

Giving consultation to a nomadic man

Checking joint pain

Writing a prescription

An old nomadic women waiting for her turn for the consultation

Treating a patient with Gold hammer cauterization

Giving moxibustion treatment

Evening scene at Jhangthang

This is a tent make out of Yak's hair

A nomadic women

A nomadic man

Patients waiting for their turn for consultation

Finding moxibustion point

Giving consultation

Writing prescription

Checking Blood Pressure

Giving explanation on proper way of taking the medicines

Giving advise on diet

Counting the pills

Tsampa is prepared in this way

Giving explanation on the proper intake of medicines

Giving consultation to an elderly man

Checking suitable point for a therapy

Giving moxibustion on the vertebra

Group of Yaks as seen from our tent

Evening wind storm

Alois entertaining nomadic children

With Alois and an old nomadic man

With Alois near Rumtse

Thupten Gelek preparing food

Preparing evening meal

Good night doctor and to medicines too

Our team ready to leave Jhangthang

Our team ready to leave Jhangthang

Morning view of the road between Marhi to Rohtang Pass

Traffic congestion between Marhi and Rohtang Pass

As usual, Rani Nullah was receiving the each cars and taxi from both the directions into its grip by allowing to pass one car after another. This is the most harrowing experience each time a car is passed through. This is the central point of problem because of its vulnerable to uncertain landslide and blockages.

At Rani Nullah before Rohtang Pass

Our car crossing the infamous Rani Nullah

It was about 11 am when we were at the top of Rohtang Pass (3978 m). Once we were there, it was time to relax and forget all the difficult time before reaching Rohtang Pass. Rohtang Pass is one of the favorite of Indian tourists and one can see lots and lots of them enjoying their time playing and throwing snowballs to each other. The only thing that we have in our mind is to hoist the National Flag of Tibet on top. FREE TIBET.

Alois hoisting Tibetan Flag at Rohtang Pass

We then moved forward amidst many small villages on both the sides with various building structures, some of them very colorful.

Bagha river and the main road side by side

Heading towards Keylong

Keylong town

The road is carved in the middle with high majestic mountains greetings each one of us with its might and glory. Greenery was visible until we reached Keylong (3080 m), but as we moved further towards Darcha (3360 m), the greenery gradually faded away and at Patseo (4270 m), it was completely barren. Thuptan said that barren land makes him sad and sick as he has never been to this place before.

Barren areas

Little later we were at Baralachala (5030 m) all clad in snow. Luckily, the roads were without snow. Moving further, we came across many rivers, some of them quite strong and dangerous too, as we cross one after another with fear and heavy breathing.

At Baralacha Pass

Heading towards Keylong

The descent from BaralachLa brings forth another stunning change in the landscape. The road goes around a swampy corners and moves down towards the Sarchu plains.

From Baralachala to Sarchu plains

By noon, we were already in the Sarchu plains, visible grassy plain and many tent camps for the tourists. At the far end of these plains lie the Sarchu camp, with many tinned houses providing hot food and relaxing accommodation to weary travelers.

Tented accommodation at Sarchu plains

Tented camps at Sarchu plains

It was completely dark when we reached Sarchu camp (4300 m), the half way between Manali to Leh. Sarchu is the boundary between the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Rows of tents and tinned house with dim light could be seen one after the other. We had a good food and stay at one of the tinned house and next morning, we resumed our travel with a mix of good and bad condition of the road.

Our stay at Sarchu Camp

Little later we arrived at the infamous Gata loops. The loops take the road from an altitude of about 4200m all the way up to 4700m over a span of 10km.

Gata Loops

After climbing 21 hairpin bends which they called ‘Gata Loops”, we were amidst a wonderful landscape with many changing high mountain passes, although good road but with many bad patches. The road then descends to a steady slopes towards the Nakeela Pass (4965 m).

Base camp between Sarchu and Lachungla

After a brief descent and then a stiff climb we reached Lachungla (5065 m) decorated with colorful Tibetan good luck flags being driven forcefully with very strong wind.

Thuptan Gelek and Alois Andrea Gerono

After Lachulung La the landscape once again changes dramatically. But unfortunately, the road condition between Lachungla and Pang is miserably bad. The car can move hardly 10 km per hour. The road snakes its way downward with the streams running right beside the road. In due course, beautiful and extraordinary landscapes open up once we cross more and more bends. the canyon opens up to reveal an even more dramatic landscape. There are rocky mountains, sandy mountains with varied shapes and structures.

The road eventually leads to Pang (4600 m). Another place for the travellers to eat and relax. We reached Pang at noon time and had good time to rest and eat. The weather was clear and the sun was equally strong.

Pang, a place to eat and relax

At Pang Camp

We resumed our move and after a brief climb the landscape opens up into a wide plain area. Situated at about 4500 m, it is a dramatic flat stretch of land about 45km long and 20km wide, fringed by low hills.

Kyang Chu Thang, a vast open area extending miles away

On those plain areas, we could see the nomads with their goats and sheep.

Our first sight of a sheep

Kyang, Tibetan wild ass

Little further, the first sight of the group of nomadic tent was visible and we drove straight towards them.

Scattered nomadic tents

Driving towards Kharnag

Nomads were aware of our car and were waiting anxiously at their door to receive us. Tashi delek, Tashi Delek (Welcome, welcome) and finally we were at Jhangthang area of Ladakh. It took two and half days to reach the first nomadic area of Ladakh. We crossed three high mountain passes, passed some breath taking bad roads at Rani Nullah, covered some highly dangerous water crossing points between Baralachala and Sarchu, and experienced different moods of good to bad and very bad road conditions.

On 28th June, we put up our tents.

Our camp at Jhangthang

In the evening, we were invited by the group leader for a dinner as our kitchen was not ready by then. It was for the first time that Alois had eaten a nomadic food that evening and I was happy that he liked Tibetan nomadic Thukpa that evening. Long travel on bumpy road and a good Thukpa at the end, proved to be very helpful for a sound sleep for the first night in tent.

Inside a nomadic tent

Nomadic life is very difficult with only one tent for all the purpose for all the family members. All the nomads in Ladakh Jhangthang are Buddhist practitioners. In all the tents, a simple yet colorful alter is displayed. Daily offering of water, incense and butter lamp is done every morning before any other work is started.

Work start very early in a nomadic tent

In one of the nomadic tent, I went to feel the taste of Tibetan Tsampa with butter and tea which is called Jamthur, and as always it was very refreshing.

Enjoying Jamthur in the morning

In the evening, one of the main task is to milk the goats, sheep and the Dri, female Yak. It is quite common to say, Yak’s butter, Yak’s cheese. However, there is no such Yak’s butter or Yak’s cheese. Yaks are male and the female is called Dri. Preparing for milking of animals is a hard job. I have seen in many occasion that it is a hard work involving many family members to separate the mother with their small ones and then bringing one after another in a long row.

Evening time round up

As always, I have to bring lots of Tibetan medicine to Jhangthang so that there is no shortage at the last moment. In the past, the last moment in the course of giving treatment was most difficult as I usually felt short of medicines and often it was so hard to make a good combination of prescriptions. This year, all went well until the end.

Tibetan Medicines – ready to be delivered

An evening time in Jhangthang is a special time of the day for those who would go with the animals throughout the day. They would take their live stock far away from their home to a distant place where the animals can graze comfortably.

Evening scene at Jhangthang

An evening time in Jhangthang is a special time of the day for those who would go with the animals throughout the day. They would take their live stock far away from their home to a distant place where the animals can graze comfortably.


Chogkhang Tibetan medicine centre’s Annual Free Medical Tour to Ladakh Jhangthang, 26th June – 21 July 2012

Next medical tour to Ladakh Jhangthang is scheduled between 20th July onwards 2013.

Total number of days covered :   26 days

Total number of places covered:

  Kharnag, Debring, Rumeng, Ngorchen and Tsawa.

Total number of kilometres covered:


Total number of Patients treated:


Total number of male patients treated:


Total number of female patients treated:


Total number of child patient treated:


Total number of home visit:


Total number of dosage given:


Total number patients who received moxibustion:


Total number of patients who received Golden cauterization:


Total number of patients who received cupping therapy:


Total number of patients who received mild hot oil compress therapy:


Most common health problem:

  Digestive disorder, rheumatic arthritis, chronic nerve disorders and high blood pressure.