Five hundred nuns biked 2485 miles from Kathmandu, Nepal to Leh, India. Here is what you need to know.
The ladies were members of the Drukpa Order drawn from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. Founded 800 years ago after the founder saw nine dragon, the Drukpa ("Dragon Lineage") Order is a branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The are also known as the Drugpa ("Thunder") or Red Hat Sect. Unlike many Buddhist sects, the Drukpa allow monastic women to practice the traditional martial arts. This has been known to rankle some Buddhist leaders and conservatives. Some nineteenth and early-twentieth century writers of teh West believed the "Dugpas" to be sorcerers focusing principally on the left-hand path traditions and various Tantric practices of Buddhism. Perhaps not relevant, but interesting considering the inclusion of fighting women. They are now one of my new favorite things.
The ride was to protest human trafficking. India, and South Asia generally, is one of the fastest growth region for human trafficking. The article points out "Gangs dupe impoverished villagers into bonded labour or rent them to work as slaves in urban homes, restaurants, shops and hotels. Many girls and women are sold into brothels." This is a growing concern in areas that have experienced environmental and ecological disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami. I have talked about the horrors of human trafficking before. We need to stop calling it that, really it is slavery by another name and it is rampant.
I hope the Drukpa Nuns' ride was helpful. Part of me kind of hopes that some slavers run afoul of 500 unassuming girls riding bikes.