Showing posts with label Shey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shey. Show all posts

Monday, August 14, 2023

A School, I Wish I had gone to

Remember the iconic scenes from Rancho School in Ladakh, from 3 Idiots movie's climax? 

The school Rancho (scientist and educator) had established in Ladakh, on the principles of innovation, free thinking, creativity and pursuit for knowledge rather than pursuing marks/grades/numbers and ranks.

3 Idiots movie is one of my favourite for many reasons. I am a fan of Aamir Khan, Raju Hirani and I have always been passionate about education. So a movie made by them and on the topic of Indian education system, makes it a movie to feature in my list of all time favourites.

The 3 Idiots Wall, in the school campus

So when we are in Leh Ladakh on a family trip, we made sure to fit the Rancho School in our itinerary. Thanks to our taxi/tour guide Tashi bhai for mentioning about this school's location.

This blog is my travel memoir, to make your visit to the school easier. Also to introduce you to this real school outside of the filmy image. The school is doing lots of good work and this awareness may motivate some of you to volunteer and contribute to their community causes.  

At the school entrance

Real name of Rancho School?

Druk Padma Karpo

How to reach?

The school is located in Shey, the old capital city of Ladakh. It is 15 kilometers to the south of Leh city, a 25 minutes drive by cab or local bus. 

SHEY (image from Thrillophilia)

Founded in the year?


Founded by?

His holiness Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, a Buddhist Spiritual Leader of Ladakh. The design was created in association with Arup, Architectural firm. 


The students study Bothi (the local language), English and Hindi languages, Science, Social Studies, Creative Arts and Sports. The school provides education in the age group of 6 to 16 years. 

The school is a not for profit institution, which provides education to children from this remote Leh valley region. Many students in this school are first generation learners. Through education the school aims to empower the local community, with new knowledge and skills for betterment of their life. 


The school has won several prestigious awards. To name a few:

  • It won the BBC Award for World's most Beautiful School in 2016. 
  • WB Honours for Innovation in Public Washroom Design in India in 2015. 
  • World Architecture Award for Best Green Building in 2002. 

Ongoing project?

  • In 2010, the school campus was severely damaged by a mudslide, because of the fragile ecosystem in the Himalayan region. A project called Dragon Garden was conceptualised in collaboration with Architecture students from University of Greenwich. The Dragon Garden is aimed to transform the barren desert school campus into a lush green sustainable garden which will be used for learning, playing and growing vegetables and fruits for self-consumption. 
  • Sesmic upgrade and mudslide repair of the student's residences.
  • Construction of the senior secondary school complex.

Getting involved?

Image credits: TOI, Solaripedia, Business Khabar

The school welcomes volunteers who would like to teach, raise funds or contribute fund for supporting any of the above mentioned ongoing projects.

There is also a visitor zone, shop and cafe in the school premise. The purchases made there is also a way of making contributions for the school fund.

Do find the link for volunteering and for making contributing funds for a good cause:

For so many of us, Leh Ladakh is in our bucket list :) So when you plan your visit, do take out time to drop in at Druk Padma Karpo - The Rancho School at Shey, to see their positive, impactful work of imparting education, knowledge and skills, to the children of local communities, who have very little access to the things which you and I from big cities take for granted.