2019 Dard Aryan Festival (Aryan Utsav) held in New Delhi,

The Dard Aryan Tribe of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region known for its liberal customs and ornate costumes is struggling to keep its vibrant cultural legacy alive. Recently, at the 2019 Dard Aryan Festival (Aryan Utsav) in New Delhi, the delegation of the Dard Aryans has requested the Central government to make serious interventions. The rich heritage of the Dard Aryans — believed to be the original descendants of ‘pure Aryan race’ — is under threat due to rapid modernisation, migration and religious conversion. The Dard Aryans inhabit Dha, Hanu, Beema, Darchik and Garkone villages in Leh and Kargil districts. The villages are together called the Aryan valley. The people of this region have unique physical features, social life, ethnic culture and language. Many researchers believe that the ‘Aryans of Ladakh’ or the ‘Brokpas’ were a part of Alexander’s army and had come to the region over 2,000 years ago. The word ‘Dard’ is derived from a Sanskrit word, ‘Daradas’, which refers to people who live on hillsides.

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