Weaving a new story

Weaving a new story
19 Mar 2018

‘nga- zha rgyu spun yin’…. ‘We are all warp and weft’, say the people of the Rupshu community.

 Ladakhi women with backstrap loom

Rupshu, a high altitude plateau and valley region in southeast Ladakh is mainly inhabited by the Changpa nomads. It is a belief in the Changpa community that by weaving, a woman reveals her regenerative abilities and the making of the cloth expresses her regenerative abilities. As the creators of the life, the warp is like a mother and the balls of wool, the weft she inserts to make her cloth, is like the child conceived within her womb.

For the Changpa community, weaving is an important part of their lifestyle. The Ladhaki pastoralist move about ten times a year to take their animals to the grass. This is the time when women weave most of their woollen fabrics which they use either for coats or for rugs.  The variable quality and staple length of wools calls for the use of supported spindles in Ladakh. Spinning inn Ladakh is done mainly by using ‘phang’- a whorless spindle.

Phang- whorless spindle

Snambu fabric is fulled after weaving. Water is stomped on it until it shrinks to the appropriate width, and then it is ready to be dyed. Mostly, the Ladhaki’s do not use chemical dyes and leave in fabric as it is, sometimes, they may use the natural dyestuffs found in Ladakh to give a light colour to the fabric.


As a brand, Shades of India treasures fine handwork and craftsmanship.

The backstrap loom is one of the gems of hand spinning that you can find in our collections. We prefer to use natural dyes so that the rugs maintain their natural colours and speak for themselves with only a few design and detailing elements.

This cycle of using natural products helps support the nomadic lifestyle and shows the profound connection of the Ladhaki people with their land. 



Image Courtesy: Pinterest