Photo Caption From The Left : Members posing in Traditional Ladakhi Clothing : Mr Saleem in Muslim attire, Ms Yangchan from a Buddhist family adorning a  Muslim Wedding attire, Ms Kanis from a Muslim Family wearing Buddhist Wedding attire and Mr Padma at the extreme right in Buddhist attire. – Confluence

The Old Raku House in main Tukcha, Leh is the official centre of the Flowering Dharma and the Alphonso Club. Nestled in the midst of quiet and serene poplar grove, Raku House is just at a distance of 15 minute walk from the Leh Market and is an excellent example of traditional Ladakhi House / Architecture.

Extreme left : Abilay Rigzin Dolma with Raku House in the backdrop

The foundation of the old Raku House was laid about 150 years ago by the parents of present day owner Abilay (Grandmother) Rigzin Dolma. The name “Raku” means “the one who drank the soup of the goat” and has its origin in an interesting story: it is said that during ancient time when Ladakh was ruled by Kings, the ancestor of the family with some other villagers happened to slaughter a Goat for consumption. When the meat of the Goat was cooked the ancestor was the one who drank the soup and that’s how the family got its name.

Surveyed / Creative : Edoardo from Italy

The present old Raku House was originally built as an outhouse meant for the livestock and the family lived there briefly only during summers to take care of their livestock and pastures and fields, as it was mandatory by law for all the citizens to live in the vicinity of Palace according to their status.

Extreme left and middle : Brother of Abilay Rigzin Dolma and Memelay Phuntsok Namgyal

The first floor was built by the elder brother of Abilay Rigzin Dolma and the top floor was an addition by Memelay (Grandfather) Phuntsok Namgyal, husband of Abilay Rigzin who joined the Raku Family as a Makpa (Son in Law).

In front of Chotkang, a traditional prayer room

The top floor houses a beautifully ornate “Chotkang” (Prayer room) which has been however kept closed as it requires proper renovation.

From Left : Lobsang Wangmu of Flowering Dharma, Grandfather and Grandmother of Raku House at their new residence

The Raku Family moved out of the old House some 25 years ago and shifted to the New Raku House built just adjacent to it. Since it stood empty, Memelay Phuntsok Namgyal on the request of the Flowering Dharma members agreed to lease the house for a period of certain years to out their carry out their activities and to set up an office. The Old Raku House was renovated after consultation of an Lstigspon (traditional Ladakhi House Builder) using mostly traditional techniques.

The old Raku House also has a “lato” (a shrine for the protector deity of the family) standing tall on the roof. Latos are sacred and are to be respected: it is worshipped and offered offerings once every year during Losar (Lunar New Year).

Eduardo, our volunteer and Architectural Consultant, Sketching the layout of the Raku House