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Druk Padma Karpo School: A Renowned Center For Cultural Understanding & Creative Expression


Amid the stunning beauty of Ladakh, with the majestic backdrop of the Great Himalayas, proudly stands Ladakh’s educational gem, Druk Padma Karpo School. This notable educational institution was featured in the movie “3 Idiots” and affectionately called ‘Rancho School’ by visitors. We, the movie enthusiasts, only came to know about this school through the film. Beyond that, how many of you know about the cultural importance of this temple of education? Though the fame and name of this institution through the movie 3 Idiots is commendable, this 18-year-old educational institution has its own pride to boast and come forward.  

All About Sustainability

You’ll be familiar with the iconic character played by Aamir Khan in the movie 3 Idiots’, who champions unconventional methods of education, creativity, and hands-on learning. Druk Padma Karpo School, founded years before the movie, embodies these same principles in everyday teaching, making it a unique and intriguing educational institution.

The Founder

His Holiness, the Gyalwang Drukpa, founded this school with a noble vision to educate the Buddhist value system through various study methods. Padma Karpo, which means the ”white lotus”, is an important symbol in Buddhism that embodies Buddhism’s values. 

The Temple Of Buddhist Philosophy

Located in the coldest region of Ladakh, the school is a beacon of deep cultural values rooted in Buddhist philosophy. It proudly continues the mission of imparting world-class education to students from the Himalayan region, including nomadic tribes. The school’s curriculum includes teachings about Buddhism, Ladakhi language, and culture. It incorporates traditional festivals and ceremonies into the curriculum, which is evidence of its dedication to preserving and promoting Buddhist values. 

The Campus

Once you step onto the campus, you can feel the magic. The whole building is designed like a Buddhist mandala. You will first notice the unique architecture harmoniously blends modern and traditional elements.  

The school’s buildings, constructed with locally sourced materials, are beautiful and environmentally friendly. Solar panels provide sustainable energy, while classrooms are designed to maximise natural light and warmth. These features and the school’s commitment to using reusable materials showcase its dedication to environmental conservation.

Inside the classrooms, students explore the vast canvas of creativity while they learn everything. They are exposed to practical methods by conducting experiments, exploring new ideas, implementing critical thinking and problem-solving, etc. They get to know and practice their culture through music and dance, which imparts an inborn love for learning. 

The Famous ‘Idiotic Wall’

After the successful release of the movie 3 Idiots, this school’s famous ‘Idiotic Wall’, which was shown in the movie became the centre of attraction. Visitors come to the school just to see it and take photos in front of it. A visitor’s centre, photo station, and Rancho’s Cafe are also available for visitors to explore and enjoy. 

Sustainability At Its Core

The school is not just an educational institution but a pioneer in sustainable education. Its water recycling system, eco-friendly garden, and use of reusable materials are all part of its commitment to minimising environmental impact. These practices inspire not just the students but also the visitors to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

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