Originating in India, hatha yoga has found its way to the Tibetan Plateau. Last year, under the instruction of Andrew Taylor, who has been in Ritoma for the last two years, it has been introduced to the Norlha staff and offered at nearby Norden Camp. Every day after work, any member of the Norlha staff can join in the yoga classes, held in the store room. In summer, Andrew sometimes takes his class on the pasture above the workshop, its inspiring vastness inviting decompression. Women, weavers or administrators, are particularly enthusiastic and three time a week, work over, can be seen filing into the store room, yoga mat rolled under their arm. At Norden, the beautiful space by the river, with its enclosed room with a view on the river or its outdoor deck is an ideal setting for relaxing into the beautiful nature all around. Norden hosts yoga groups or provides its guests with individual instruction. With its inspiring setting that invites one to the heart of the grassland, Plateau Yoga is an unforgettable experience.
In Nepal and India's traditional families, sons follow in their father’s steps and adopt their line of work. Panch Anand hails from a small village in Southern Nepal, near the Indian border. At fourteen, he was sent to India for training, and on his return found work in Katmandu. There is no work in the village, and most men who are not agricultural based either join the army, look for work abroad or migrate to the capital. They send money back to their families, the more successful among them build large houses and educate their children, returning at most once a year. There are few opportunities for weavers outside of Nepal, and India already has a pool large enough to fill their needs. Panch Anand has been working at Norlha for the last eleven years. There are Nepalese workers on the Tibetan plateau, mostly in the restaurant business in Lhasa, Shigatse and even Gyatse, but in faraway Amdo, they can be counted on a single hand. Life may be lonely, but Panch Anand managed to learn the basics of Amdo dialect and took great pride in training the Norlha artisans.
Panch Anand’s family remained in their village. Over the years, his daughter got married and he sent his son to learn weaving in India. He built his family a new house and became the "man who works abroad” in his village. One day, two years ago, he let us know of his future plans. His son, Ganesh was learning jacquard, which we had expressed an interest in, and he hoped that he could also work at Norlha. Panch Anand would continue to come for a couple of years, and eventually leave his job to his son. Ganesh came last year for the first time. He was everything his father could have hoped for; resourceful, hard working and proficient at what he was trained for. His father beamed with pride; he had achieved his goal. He could retire in comfort while his son follows in his steps.
A heartfelt thank you to the generous participants of Norlha’s ‘One for You, One for Them’ campaign. Norlha would like to share pictures of Ritoma seniors receiving their scarves; these scarves will keep 42 extremely grateful grandparents warm through the summer chills and winter frost. b Many could not make it for the actual pick up, but sent words of appreciation through their families.
Norlha textiles were created from the union of precious khullu and the skilled hands of local artisans. Together, they wove and spun a way of life embodied in the décor at Norden Camp. Norlha’s sister company, Norden, defines the other form of luxury that is Norlha; its tents and log cabins exude the warmth and comfort brought about by the carpets, soft furnishings, blankets and throws made by Norlha. Set on the Tibetan High Plateau grassland in a winter pasture surrounded by low trees, flowering bushes and meandering streams, Norden is an experience that introduces the visitor to the environment of the grassland, its food and culture. Norden is an immersion to the surrounding ecosystem, tempered by an organic comfort that demonstrates a unique way of using local raw materials.
More Than a Game: The NBA in Tibet On any given day on the vast Tibetan Plateau you will find nomads herding their yak and sheep and monks reciting mantras. You will also find them playing one of their favorite sports: Basketball. Here in Amdo basketball courts are found in every village and monastery, a game of passion and community that brings together not only Tibetans from all across the Plateau, but now players from around the world. Norlha has hosted several international tournaments over the years, and this season was proud to host its first annual Sagadawa Invitational. Norlha invited some of the best teams in the region to compete alongside international players, including former NBA player Steve Hawes. Tibetan teams included two all-star squads made up of the top players in Kanlho, the mighty monks of Labrang, the prefectural university team made up of Chinese students, Norlha's own team, and teams from neighboring Sichuan and Qinghai, one of who's captain is one of Tibet's most famous singers, Sherten. Although there are no other known Tibetan women's teams in the region to play against as of yet, the Norlha women's team played a competitive game against the Norlha guards. Teams shared meals, had Q&A's, played competitive games and contests, performed songs, and received an instructional clinic from Coach Steve, teaching what he has learned after 10 years playing in the NBA. Norlha looks forward to its next tournament in September, coinciding with a local Laptse festival. This tournament will introduce wheelchair basketball to the region, bringing in some of the best wheelchair basketball players from around the world.