Jordan Lepcha

1. President Droupadi Murmu awarded Padma Shri to Jordan Lepcha for bamboo craftsmanship.
2. Lepcha’s dedication preserves the Lepcha tribe’s cultural heritage through his remarkable work.
3. His exceptional craftsmanship highlights the rich cultural diversity of Sikkim.

New Delhi, May 10: President Droupadi Murmu has honored Jordan Lepcha from Sikkim with the esteemed Padma Shri award, recognizing his exceptional craftsmanship in bamboo. Lepcha’s dedication to preserving the cultural heritage of the Lepcha tribe shines through his remarkable work.

Born on July 28, 1971, in the scenic village of Rubeyam Ram in Dzongu, Mangan District, Sikkim, Jordan Lepcha’s journey into the world of bamboo crafting commenced under the guidance of his parents, who instilled in him a love for the art form from a young age.

Driven by a profound desire to revive ancient traditions, Lepcha dedicated himself to mastering the intricate techniques of crafting Lepcha hats, known as Thyaktuks.

His dedication led him to participate in a six-month training program for traditional hat weaving organized by the Government of Sikkim’s Industry Department in 1997.

Despite initial challenges in selling his creations, he persevered, juggling additional jobs to support his family while honing his craft.

In 2005, Lepcha extended his commitment by sharing his expertise through training sessions for aspiring artisans in Gangtok, under the Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms (Govt. of Sikkim).

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Notably, he offered free training sessions at his own residence, empowering individuals to embrace and propagate the ancient craft of Lepcha hat weaving.

Lepcha’s legacy transcends individual achievements; it embodies the profound impact one person can have in preserving and perpetuating cultural traditions.

Through his tireless efforts, he has not only safeguarded a cherished cultural heritage but also empowered countless individuals to embrace their heritage and sustain themselves through craftsmanship.

Hailing from Lower Lingdong in Mangan district, the 50-year-old artisan has been nurturing the Lepcha cultural heritage for the past 25 years. His speciality lies in weaving traditional Lepcha hats, known as ‘Sumok Thyaktuk’, and crafting bamboo artefacts, a craft passed down through generations.

Lepcha’s bamboo hats, adorned with inscriptions depicting historical events, family values, and Lepcha folktales, serve as symbols of identity for the tribe.

Each hat, meticulously crafted using locally sourced natural materials, takes about one and a half months to complete and is priced between Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.

Despite the labor-intensive nature of his work, Lepcha remains committed to preserving this ancient craft, realizing its significance in safeguarding the community’s identity. Over the years, he has imparted his knowledge to over 150 youths from various parts of Sikkim, ensuring the continuity of the craft for future generations.

In addition to hats, Lepcha creates everyday items like mugs and hair clips, catering to the needs of his community. While he hasn’t extensively marketed his craft, he has met the demand from his community members, underscoring the local significance of his work.

Lepcha emphasizes the importance of securing a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the craft, a process initiated by the Sikkim government. Such recognition would safeguard the art of hat making for the future, ensuring its authenticity and preserving its heritage.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang congratulated Shri Jordan Lepcha for being honored with the esteemed Padma Shri Award, expressing pride in showcasing the rich cultural heritage and talent within the region.