The interesting story of Nimmu House and the Nangso family

Nimmu House is a historical monument here in Ladakh that has a beautiful story to tell – one that seems to never end! Day by day we learn something more about this wonderful building and we thought it was about time to share it with you…


In 1900, a man decided to build a house. This man, named Zildar Rinchen Namgyal, was the tax collector of the Ladakhi King during the Namgyal dynasty. Zildar was also cousin to the King. Indeed, Nimmu and the Sham valley have always been prosperous: wide and sunny valleys, low altitude compared to the surroundings, cultures were abundant and the region was rich.

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It was an interesting move from the King to implement tax collection in this part of Ladakh as tax payments here were made in the form of barley, weeds and potatoes… The amount that was collected depending on how much land the villagers had. Nimmu House is where all meetings and important exchanges took place as it’s located on one of the commercial roads that linked the Kashmiri and Pakistan region with the Tibet and Chinese areas.

 

Unfortunately, the tax collector, Zildar, had a bad reputation: hard with the villagers and well into profits. He was not much appreciated by the villagers! So legend states that he was cursed and thus unable to have children. Zildar ended up adopting his sister’s daughter.
His adopted daughter, Apileh, is this beautiful woman with a marked face who ritually walks around the house at least five times a day.

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This ritual which is called ‘Kora’ is accompanied by the counting of her beads from Treng Nga – similar to a Tibetan Rosary. Similarly to her father, Apileh never had children of her own, but she did adopt two children who were named Amale and Angchuk.

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The long standing curse is nowadays gone. Lots of ceremonies and priers were done in the residence to counteract the curse and bring happiness and joy in this heritage place and on the family. Currently, we name the family “The Nangso family”. Etymologically, this family name signifies with the “Nang” , “family or house” and with the “so”, “the most important”. By these roots, the name defines the statute of the family, historically of Royal lineage. During the 70s’, the Nangso became landowners.

 

The family lives near Nimmu House and regularly visits the family residence. The family’s temple is actually located on the 2nd floor of Nimmu House and there are a number of pictures of the family decorating the walls of our boutique hotel. They provide dry apricots, apricot oil, roasted barley, vegetables, milk to the hotel guests regularly… and even a trekking guide in the person of Angchuk!

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The centenarian residence was traditionally a meetings and exchanges place between traders, villagers and tax collectors. True to its first aim, the house is still a meetings and sharing place in Ladakh, between the villagers, the travelers and the Nimmu Team!

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