There is a palpable excitement among members of the Ladakh contingent for the Republic Day Parade as the young union territory is all set to make its debut in the extravaganza on Rajpath with a beautiful tableau depicting the iconic Thikse Monastery and its cultural heritage.
The Union Territory of Ladakh was created in 2019 after the central government bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir came into UTs.
On Friday, during a media preview of the R-Day tableaux held, members of the Ladakh contingent were feeling "on top of the world".
"Our tableau will be showcased for the first time on Rajpath in the grand parade. We had struggled to get a separate UT status and that aspiration was fulfilled in 2019 and we had celebrated it in Ladakh. And, now as an independent UT, with our own identity, we will be taking part in the ceremonial event. We feel very happy," said Diksit Palmo, who hails from Leh.
She is one of the five women in the 11-member contingent led by a government official.
Palmo says she also was part of the contingent of the then state of Jammu & Kashmir in 2015, but this time, "our identity is our own".
The tableau prominently depicts the historic Thikse Monastery located on top of a hill in Thikse in Leh district, and is one of the most-visited tourist sites in the region.
Artistes dressed in colourful traditional Ladakhi 'gunchas' interacted with reporters on Friday during the media preview of the R-Day tableaux held at Delhi Cantonment.
Dorjay Youron, who is from Thiksey, was doubly excited to know the landmark of her hometown will be showcased on the Rajpath.
Rinchen Dolma, another member of the contingent, said, "We are proud to represent our region with our own name -- Ladakh, and not as a constituent of J&K, which also has a different identity now."
A total of 17 states and UTs will be represented on the Rajpath in this year's parade through their vibrant tableaux, besides that of various ministries and the three armed forces.
"The Ladakh tableau highlights the vision for Ladakh to be carbon-neutral, and exemplary for the world. It also showcases the Indian Astronomical Observatory, located in Hanle near Leh, one of the world's highest sites for optical, infrared an gamma-ray telescopes," according to the tableaux details shared by the officials.
Ladkah region is known for its unique cultural and beautiful architectural heritage and vibrant costumes and festivals and delicious food, besides scenic beauties dotted with monasteries.
Jammu and Kashmir, however, does not figure in the list of the tableaux list released by the government.
Sarabjeet Kaur, a Jammu native, felt sad that the new UT of J&K will not be represented this year during the Republic Day parade.
"I am part of the ministry of culture's tableau which will depict the heralding of 75th year of our Independence Day, and I am happy to be part of it. But, a bit unhappy that my state, now a UT, will not be there in the tableaux parade," said Kaur, an artiste who will depict herself as a Kashmiri woman, dressed in a traditional costume while accompanying the ministry's tableau.
The ministry of culture's tableau also carries a giant bust of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and men and women dressed as INA soldiers.