Hear that sound?
It’s the silent mantra,
Softer year by year,
Vanishing in the world’s hubbub,
Listen while it’s still there…

Anonymous, Spituk Monastery, Ladakh, India, early 21st century


A travel photographer, Jakub Śliwa, tells a story about Ladakh in India – about the Himalayan settlements and their dwellers, Buddhist monasteries and secluded valleys. He presents the beauty, subtlety, but also the toil of the old world and what comes with the new order.
The photographs carry out a dialogue according to Śliwa’s concept: avoid misrepresentation of the reality and depict the existing world while lending the artistic eye to the ephemeral ambiance of Buddhist philosophy, unique culture and seclusion, which still reverberate in this place.
Jakub Sliwa The Silent Mantra photobook travel photography
Photo album

The Silent Mantra

Although Ladakh is a region within Indian borders, it culturally belongs to the Tibetan tradition – and it is often called the Little Tibet. Its extant monasteries cultivate Buddhist traditions, and many Tibetan fugitives live in its valleys. The region maintains traditional rituals (such as cz’am dances) which gradually disappear in the occupied Tibet.
Due to the geographical position of the former Himalayan kingdom situated among impenetrable passes negotiable only a few months a year, and its harsh climate, the influence of outside cultures had been resisted for long. The air link between Delhi and Leh (the capital of Ladakh) irreversibly changed the face of this territory.
This familiar story – the story common to villages, towns and regions worldwide – unrolled before the photographer’s very eyes. Jakub found himself in Ladakh in search for unknown places off the beaten track.
Enchanted by the unique ambiance of this region, he would return every year to see the villages unlike the ones he had left twelve months before. His photographs capturing the course of these changes remain pregnant with dwindling traditions and philosophy of the old world while accounting for what the new has brought.
Limited edition, printed in duotone on the high quality uncoated matt paper. Embossed hardcover.

The Silent Mantra


ISBN: 978-83-937941-9-5
Format: 245 × 187 mm
Cover: hard
Pages: 80
Language: English
Publisher: Deadpxels
About the author

Jakub Śliwa

For years, Jakub Śliwa has specialized in photographing the “non-Western” world: the Indian subcontinent, North and Central Africa. He has visited India several tens of times and made features i.al. about the lepers of Puri, the obsolescent Kushti wrestling tradition and the spectacular rituals of Kali worship. He is interested in fading traditions, rituals and ceremonies and has published on these subjects i.al. in National Geographic. He would return to the Ladakh villages for six years until this still unrecognized place lent him a story for his original publication.

Photobook – Reviews

The Silent Mantra

The Silent Mantra

The book comes with:

one randomly selected high quality photograph from the album.
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