Sonam Wangchuk, a visionary engineer hailing from the breathtaking landscapes of Ladakh, has become a beacon of hope and inspiration for his groundbreaking innovations in the field of sustainable living and engineering. Born and raised amidst the majestic mountains, Wangchuk’s journey from a Ladakh-based engineer to a renowned innovator has been nothing short of remarkable.
Written by Sameer Mohapatro. M.Sc.- Agriculture (2nd Year)
Born in 1966 in Uleytokpo, a remote village in Ladakh, Sonam Wangchuk grew up surrounded by the serene beauty of nature and the challenges of living in a high-altitude region. As a young boy, he displayed a deep curiosity and fascination with science and engineering. Inspired by the natural wonders of his homeland and his desire to make a difference, Wangchuk embarked on a path of learning and exploration.
After completing his schooling, Wangchuk pursued a degree in mechanical engineering at the National Institute of Technology in Srinagar, Jammu, and Kashmir. His formal education honed his technical skills, but it was his profound connection with the Himalayas and its people that fueled his passion for finding sustainable solutions for life in the region.
In 1993, Wangchuk founded the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) to reform the educational system in Ladakh. The organization aimed to empower local students and encourage a practical and innovative approach to education, tailored to the unique challenges of the region.
Wangchuk’s story gained widespread recognition when he inspired the character of ‘Phunsukh Wangdu’ in the Bollywood blockbuster “Three Idiots.” Played by actor Aamir Khan, the character portrayed Wangchuk’s ingenuity and dedication to revolutionizing traditional learning methods. The movie brought his work to the national stage, making him a household name in India.
Wangchuk’s commitment to creating sustainable and climate-resilient living solutions for high-altitude regions led him to develop a groundbreaking mobile solar-powered tent for the Indian Army. Recognizing the challenges faced by soldiers deployed in harsh winter conditions, Wangchuk set out to provide them with a warm, eco-friendly, and cost-effective shelter.
The mobile solar-powered tent, accommodating up to 10 soldiers, presents an innovative solution that utilizes passive solar heating techniques to maintain a comfortable temperature within the sleeping chambers. The ‘greenhouse’ section harnesses solar energy during the day, while the insulated sleeping chamber keeps the temperature at a cozy 15 degrees.
Beyond his contributions to sustainable living and innovations for the Indian Army, Wangchuk’s vision extends to preserving the fragile ecosystems of the Himalayas and empowering local communities through education and eco-friendly practices.
His dedication to creating a positive impact on society has earned him recognition and accolades, and he continues to inspire the younger generation to explore the vast potential of science, engineering, and sustainable living.