A nun trains with a swords. Image Credit: Supplied

Leh: Kung fu nuns of the Drukpa lineage based here have been awarded the prestigious Asia Game Changers Award by the Asia Society in New York for inspiring and applying their unique talent to make the world a better place.

The Asia Society is a leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among people, leaders and institutions of Asia and the US in a global context.

The kung fu nuns have devoted their lives to helping their community -- advocating for girls, protecting the environment, and serving as first responders during disasters like the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Originally honing their kung fu skills as a means of self-defence and meditation, the nuns draw awestruck crowds whenever they hold a demonstration, says a post on the website of the Asia Society.

The Asia Game Changers Award, launched by the Asia Society in 2014, was presented on October 24.

During the award-giving ceremony, soaring across the stage with gravity-defying kicks, they stunned with their acrobatic feats, drawing 'oohs and ahs' from the Cipriani crowd.

"We do not believe in empowering women as the term means giving power or passing down power; we believe in awakening the power every woman has in them. May more women and girls around the world realize that power is ours and it's not something given by others. It is ours to own," said a representative of the nuns, upon receiving the award.

"We believe no one is coming to save us, we will be our own heroes."

Kung fu nuns, who defied a centuries-old ban on exercise for nuns and adopted the martial art as a way to spread awareness on gender equality, human trafficking and environment.

They are from the Kathmandu-based Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery, established by the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in Leh in Ladakh.

The Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery is a unique instance of gender reversal. Here the nuns run the administration, historically reserved for the monks.

The Gyalwang Drukpa is propagating gender neutrality.

The kung fu nuns, who are receiving modern education and the spiritual training, are gaining worldwide recognition.

In celebration of their achievement and to honour the awardees, Live to Love International is holding the homecoming reception for the nuns in New Delhi on November 7 at the India Habitat Centre.