Domkhar Rock Art Sanctuary – A renowned hidden place of historical importance

Domkhar rock art sanctuary is located in Leh’s Domkhar hamlet, right on the banks of the Indus River. The location is well-known for prehistoric artwork created by tourists. The major source of income for the people in this region is apricot and apple cultivation. This is a destination for folks who appreciate the historical artwork of our forefathers. There are various rock-carved sculptures that are considered to be between 2000 and 4000 years old.

Where is Domkhar rock art sanctuary located?

Domkhar often spelled Damkhar, is a settlement in the Indian state of Ladakh’s Leh district. It is situated in the tehsil of Khalsi. The Domkhar Rock Art Sanctuary was established in 2012 to protect the area’s prehistoric petroglyphs. Domkhar contains about 200 dwellings. A visit to this place was a part of our Youth Hostel organized Lamayuru cycling expedition.

Domkhar, a little settlement on the banks of the Indus, is 160 kilometers from Leh. You may drive from Leh to Skurbuchan. Domkhar Rock Art Sanctuary is on the way to Sakar. Its rippling green meadows are studded with the shadows of towering poplars. Large stones line the rushing river, some black and polished, others veined with cracks, and many with prehistoric sculptures of men and monsters on their dazzling surface.

About Domkhar rock art sanctuary

I made my way through the rain to Domkhar Rock Art Sanctuary, where I pushed through the gates beneath the sanctuary’s welcome board. I’m attracted to the warmth of a Ladakhi kitchen, where everyone sits cross-legged on the floor. This is the house of Stanzin Thangjuk, the farmer who has been important in conserving these rock engravings on his own.

The admission fee is Rs. 30 and includes butter tea and snacks. We could go to the owner’s house because the area is private property. This was an opportunity for us to get to know the people, their way of life, and so on. The carpet and artwork in the hall were brightly colored. We drank the local tea, which was made of tea, yak milk, butter, and salt, with dried fruits and fresh apricots.

The Domkhar rock art refuge and farmland are both located in the owner’s backyard. They raise apples and apricots on the fields, which are subsequently dried. This product is then packaged and sold on the local market or exported. There is also the chance to get things at a considerably lower price than what is accessible outside. A kilogram of dry apricot costs around 300 rupees.

What is rock art called?

Rock art is defined by anthropologists and archaeologists as pictures cut, sketched, or painted onto immovable rock surfaces. Petroglyphs are images that have been etched or engraved onto the rock. Pictographs are images created using paint or other pigments. Paintings, sketches, engravings, stencils, bas-relief carvings, and figures made of beeswax in rock shelters and caves are examples of rock art.

Leh rock art

We continued on our journey to the Domkhar rock art refuge. The prehistoric engravings on the gleaming black stone were stunning. The Domkhar rock art sanctuary is located right adjacent to the bank of the Indus River, where most ancient travelers rested overnight or for a few days before continuing their journey. The artwork is stunning and in excellent shape. The carvings depict prehistoric hunting scenes, numerous animals, anthropomorphic characters, written language, religious symbols, and other symbols.

There are further rock drawings throughout the 35-kilometer stretch between Domkhar and Khalste hamlet, however many have been ruined by human activities. Many academics, both Indian and international, performed an admirable job of investigating Ladakh’s rock art, but this did not aid in the preservation of the petroglyphs. Such petroglyphs can be found all across Ladakh, with notable locations outside of Domkhar being Tangtse, Khaltse, Kharu, and Biama.

It is a must-see if you are in the vicinity of Lamayuru. At Domkhar rock art refuge, you can also purchase native herbal remedies, honey, and dried fruits. To get a sense of the location, watch the video above. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. Buy me a coffee to support my work or you can go to my store to buy some of my images. Also, do not forget to join my FriendZone by signing up for my newsletter and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

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