Pudukkan, a remote mountain town of 2,400 people, lies in the foothills of Sikkar, a mountainous region of Ladakh where more than 20 million people live in a single province.
It is known as the heartland of Ladakhi, the region that includes Ladakh.
Pudugan is the only village in the province to have its own government college, the University of Pudupuran, which was founded in 1883 and was one of the earliest colleges in the country.
But Pududan is also one of only a handful of places in Sikkad where women are allowed to enter government.
And Puduksan is one of three places in the region with a government degree.
In the 2017 census, Sikkal government school for women had 9.1 per cent female enrolment.
But the enrolment rate of women who enrolled at government college in Pudubgan was 2.6 per cent, according to data compiled by CBC News.
There were 2,988 government degrees for women enrolled at the college in the 2016-17 census.
“If we are talking about a state that has about a million people, Sikka is about the third largest state in the world,” said Anurag Jain, director of the Center for Social Equity, a research institute.
“It’s not just about numbers in terms of women being educated, but the way in which they are educated.”
Women in Puddukkan have traditionally been considered “girish” women.
In many villages, women are not allowed to leave their homes or to marry outside their own family.
“They don’t feel accepted,” said Puducan resident Pradeep Gaur, who is the vice-chairman of the school’s governing board.
The university has the largest female enrolments in Sikka.
In 2016, Pudumpur University opened the Women’s Education & Career Development Department.
It has two women professors in the women’s department.
But there is also an education division for students and a human resources department for employees, who provide mentoring to the women.
“We are looking for women who are ready to learn the English language, to learn about the culture of Sikka, to get their hands dirty,” said Murali Bhagwati, a professor at the university.
“I hope that women will take up this opportunity to become citizens of Sikki.”
Women who apply for government degrees have to pass a literacy test, which involves writing an essay and completing two questions.
The essay must be written in English, a language the university has trained to prepare for students.
The application process also includes a physical exam and a written exam, which is also a requirement for admission to government colleges.
According to data collected by the Centre for Social and Economic Equity (CSE), Sikkama, a government institution in Sikkingar, has the lowest enrolment for women in the state.
The institute has 3,000 students in its undergraduate courses, and 2,000 in its postgraduate courses.
In 2018, Sikkingars women students were only allowed to complete five courses.
“In Sikkinga, women have been discriminated against for centuries,” said Bhagwant.
“When we want to go out, we need to show our face and prove our worth,” said Aishwarya, a 23-year-old student from Pudumbakkam village.
“To be accepted, we have to prove ourselves.”
“When a man asks me if I want to marry him, I always say yes,” said Sujan.
“But when I see him with another man, I’m scared,” said a woman who gave her surname as Rajesh.
“The discrimination is like an epidemic,” said Rajesh, who was born in Sikki, and now lives in Purdubgan, a village on the outskirts of Puddugan.
“There is no space for women to be educated,” said Roshni, a 29-year old woman from Peddi village, who asked her surname not be used because she fears repercussions from her family.
Many Sikkamas have started a petition on Change.org calling for the creation of an all-women government college.
The petition is seeking a women-only college.
“Women should not be discriminated against because of their gender,” said the petition on the petition site.
“This is a huge injustice.
If there was a place for women at university, it would be at Pudumankar University,” said Gaur.
“A woman should be a human being, not a number