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Ecology & Ice stupa course (2022)

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Reckless human interventions coupled with global climate change have impacted the Himalayas immeasurably, in particular, due to the escalated rate of warming at higher altitudes. As per the “business as usual scenario,” the Himalayas will see a major recession in its glacial mass with reduced precipitation, increasing average temperatures, and no glaciers to provide water to the villages anymore. For centuries, the residents of Ladakh have relied on indigenous knowledge, a system of collective action, and stakeholders participating in villages to persist with their farming practices. In order to continue this traditional Ladakhi way of living, there has to be a breed of ecologically aware youth who combine the indigenous knowledge of the area with modern interventions. Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) addresses and solves this problem through its Ecology and Ice Stupa course. This course is designed for leaders who want to usher in change for the vulnerable trans-Himalayan communities of Ladakh through the introduction of sustainable and low-energy intensive water storage and water usage strategies.

Learning outcome

Interns will:

  1. Understand the world, its environment, and the interconnectedness of its various attributes.
  2. Understand the global climate change issues impacting the world, especially Ladakh and other high-altitude regions. 
  3. Research and reclaim the indigenous ways of counteracting the water shortage problem. 
  4. Understand, experiment, and replicate modern interventions such as Ice Stupas and other forms of artificial glaciers.
  5. Broaden their understanding of additional environmental interventions such as high valley plantation techniques, weather monitoring science, and rehabilitation models, amongst others. 
  6. Be trained as the next generation of enviro-preneurs with holistic ideas about ways to create change in their communities and the world.
  7. Understand the list of plants that are found in the wild and cultivated in Ladakh so far, therefore understanding the flora of Ladakh.
  8. Research and hands-on training of cutting propagation, sowing etc to develop one’s own nursery development.
  9. Learn about the resource (Autumn leaves) recycling and reuse. Its significance and how it can be practiced as a solution to address the local people’s problem and thereby environmental protection.


  1. Formal education is NOT mandatory, since this course is based on experiential learning pedagogy.
  2. A degree in natural sciences, liberal arts, and engineering are useful for those who want to pursue a career either as a researcher or as a professional.

Fellowship structure

  1. Total duration: 6 months, including the Losar break.
  2. Ecology and Ice Stupa Course includes 2 areas: theoretical and practical exposure to the environment, ecology, and the art of glacier grafting.
  3. First three weeks of knowledge transfer, followed by an on-field internship till the end. 

The structure is designed in such a way that it is in sync with HIAL’s Ecology and Ice stupa department and its operations stretched over the winter.

Course Fees
Since it is an internship-based course, the interns become a part of our live projects. Hence there is no course fee. HIAL will pay a monthly stipend of  Rs 7000/- for the duration of the course.


Lead faculty: Nishant Tiku
Course Facilitator: Thupstan Dawa, Tsetan Dolker
Course mentor: Gitanjali
Course Consultant: Sonam Wangchuk 

Grading and attendance
Grading: The grades are awarded on the assignments designed as per 3H principles, i.e. 4 credits for hand, 4 credits for head, and 4 credits for heart. The maximum credits received are 12.
Attendance:  90 percent attendance is mandatory. Interns shall be awarded the certificate only on the completion of the course with the required marks.

For queries or further information, write to us at: