' The Mountains are Calling! ', a very common expression heard now-a-days! Everyone today is rushing to the mountains as if each one of them are to reveal a some huge global secret or as if they are imparting some spiritual knowledge and are as if ready to enlighten us! For me this calling came in a rather different way. It was one where I decided to transform the fate of Ladakh. Browsing through the internet looking for the innovations, I came across something that left me mesmerized! I could not help but control my intrigue to know everything anything about what is. I surprised and overwhelmed have found a gem amidst the mountains! The innovation of an ICE STUPA! Sonam Wangchuk, a respected personality and a science genius happens to be the Master Mind behind it.
An Ice Stupa, a monument in itself is one of the many remedies and a huge step towards fighting Global Warming and associated problems as it directly caters to the problems of our time my rewinding our self created environmental mess. This innovation solves the water problems faced in drought and desert-like cold seasons of Ladakh giving a hope for a new Future. The Stupa gives an opportunity to store water at lower altitude using the basic principle of gravity and physics.
After careful study and a stay in Ladakh in the Winter season I understood the reality of the place and the nature of the people. Having a closer look at the Economic, Environmental and Migratory Problems faced in Ladakh one shall understand how marvelous the innovation of the Ice Stupa has been to the people of Ladakh. I believe it’s a boon! I thus propose that it be rightly planned in an economic way considering the lifestyle of the residential populance and the ever reliant tourist populance to solve the above layers of problems.
Over the years Ladakh and its masses have developed a certain life cycle that is threatening to their sustenance. A extremely popular destination among-st travelers and a stop taken by every voyager Ladakh is completely neglected and left to freeze in its own sorrows for 6 months when the location experiences extreme low temperatures and the life halts due to snow. Thus there is imbalance seen as it is occupied by locals and visitors and is packed with humans for six months of the years where as the rest of the six months it is left deserted.
Originally the occupation of the people was only Agriculture but now it has become the secondary as tourism has taken its place. The Locals literally treat the Tourists as there God on whom they rely for their finances. Agriculture is subtly done merely for self sustenance. During the cold months Ladakhis leave their homeland and migrate outside doing smaller jobs sustaining themselves. My intervention is an effort to anchor the people of Ladakh to their homeland and engage them in the Winter Climate with the help of the innovation of the Ice Stupa.
Revolving around ICE STUPA to cater to all layers of society A RESEARCH AND EXPERIENTIAL CENTER FOR ICE was conceived, where locals can be employed, artists get the stage, tourists get the experience and keep the money flowing. This temporary model which rotates in the valley is proposed to benefit all the villages and prevent hazardous growth of water in one direction. It needs to be constructed every year following nature's cycle without disturbing the landscape and minimizing the impact and maximizing the benefits of the locals in a sustainable way. Phyang near Leh is selected as the site as it very well connected to Leh. The Site is a river basin, frozen for most of the months.
Project being time and season specific with material being ice is a phased out one. It’s a people participatory workshop that demands participation from Day the day the Winter begins. The project is managed such that special work preparation phases are made. It has 5 phases running simultaneously, it deals with various construction methods creating employment for the locals.
The proposed project is an exploration in Ice Construction. A series of experiential spaces for visitors where every ice experience is portrayed in form of a space considering and understating the properties of ice. Spaces with multiple adventurous, functional and spatial aspects are evolved and a safe habitable space with all major elements made in ice are designed and crafted by artists is conceived. The idea of impermanence of everything is conceived in form of a festival of ruins where the people are invited to craft and sculpt on the ruins and experience them dissolve by understanding the impermanence in life as a major aspect of life.
The journey that Sonam Wangchuk started off as an experiment led me like a beam of torch to combine the power of this science that led to the innovation to explore it more and to design an human impactful and a befitting example of the nature's cycle and rather enhancing it to the benefit of man.