REACHING FOR THE STARS LITERALLY
Outlook Traveller|July 2021
A young astronomy enthusiast from a remote Ladakhi village shares how she is smashing gender stereotypes
STANZIN DOLKAR

I’VE ALWAYS BEEN CURIOUS ABOUT THE STARS Growing up, our elders narrated beautiful stories about the Pole Star and his children. Losar, the Ladakhi New Year, is also a festival associated with the stars.

My village, Maan, on the shores of Pangong Lake in Ladakh, is a special place for stargazing, free of clouds, light or air pollution.

Growing up I learned that women in our village take care of household chores, work on the farm, raise children and weave handicrafts. Men usually go to Leh and other towns to work as guides or travel agents. So as a woman, I had two options — to get married or engage in labor-intensive work.

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