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Ecology & Ice stupa course (2021)

25th October 2021 to 22nd March 2022


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 stakeholder 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.


Admissions Timelines

  • Application Deadline:  5th October 2021
  • Interviews: 20th September to 10th October 2021
  • Announcement of Results: 15th October 2021
  • Course Commencement: 25th October 2021


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 water shortage problem 
  4. Understand, experiment, and replicate the 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, 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.



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


Fellowship structure

  1. Total duration: 5 months (end of October- end of March), including 15 days of Losar break.
  2. Ecology and Ice Stupa Course includes 2 areas: Theoretical and practical exposure to environment, ecology, and the art of glacier grafting
  3. First three weeks of knowledge transfer, followed by on-field internship till end of March. 

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
The fee for this course is Rs 16,000 per individual (excluding accommodation charges).
Your stay will be organised in farmstays in Phyang village. (HIAL students are charged Rs. 300/day). Alternatively, participants can arrange their own accommodation as per their convenience.

Need based scholarship available for limited number of students.



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. Maximum credits received are 12. 

Attendance:  90 percent attendance is mandatory. Students shall be awarded the certificate only on the completion of the course with required marks.