Ladakh
Overview
 
Ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

, the northernmost state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of the Republic of India. It lies between the Kunlun
Kunlun Mountains
The Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 km. In the broadest sense, it forms the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim Basin and the Gansu Corridor and continues east south of the Wei River to end at the North China Plain.The...

  mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 and Tibetan
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

 descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

.
Historically, the region included the Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

 (Baltiyul) valleys, the Indus Valley, the remote Zangskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin is one of the two main disputed border areas between China and India, and the other is South Tibet, which comprises most of India's Arunachal Pradesh. It is administered by China as part of Hotan County in the Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but is also claimed by India...

 and Ngari, including the Rudok region and Guge
Guge
Guge was an ancient kingdom in Western Tibet. The kingdom was centered in present-day Zanda County, within Ngari Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, China. At various points in history after 10th century AD, the kingdom held sway over a vast area including south-eastern Zanskar, Upper Kinnaur,...

, in the east, and the Nubra valley
Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is about 150 km north of Leh, the capital town of Ladakh, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra . The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The average altitude of the valley is...

s to the north.

Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti
Lahul and Spiti
The district of Lahaul-Spiti in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh consists of the two formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The present administrative centre is Keylong in Lahaul...

 to the south, the Vale of Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Jammu
Jammu
Jammu , also known as Duggar, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India.Jammu city is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir...

 and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the trans–Kunlun territory of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 to the far north.
Encyclopedia
Ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

, the northernmost state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 of the Republic of India. It lies between the Kunlun
Kunlun Mountains
The Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 km. In the broadest sense, it forms the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim Basin and the Gansu Corridor and continues east south of the Wei River to end at the North China Plain.The...

  mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 and Tibetan
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

 descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

.
Historically, the region included the Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

 (Baltiyul) valleys, the Indus Valley, the remote Zangskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin is one of the two main disputed border areas between China and India, and the other is South Tibet, which comprises most of India's Arunachal Pradesh. It is administered by China as part of Hotan County in the Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but is also claimed by India...

 and Ngari, including the Rudok region and Guge
Guge
Guge was an ancient kingdom in Western Tibet. The kingdom was centered in present-day Zanda County, within Ngari Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, China. At various points in history after 10th century AD, the kingdom held sway over a vast area including south-eastern Zanskar, Upper Kinnaur,...

, in the east, and the Nubra valley
Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is about 150 km north of Leh, the capital town of Ladakh, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra . The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The average altitude of the valley is...

s to the north.

Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti
Lahul and Spiti
The district of Lahaul-Spiti in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh consists of the two formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The present administrative centre is Keylong in Lahaul...

 to the south, the Vale of Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Jammu
Jammu
Jammu , also known as Duggar, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India.Jammu city is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir...

 and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the trans–Kunlun territory of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 to the far north. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It is sometimes called "Little Tibet" as it has been strongly influenced by Tibetan culture.

In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes, but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism. Since 1974, the Government of India
Government of India
The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

 has successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh
Tourism in Ladakh
Ladakh , a word which means "land of high passes", is a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir of Northern India sandwiched between the Karakoram mountain range to the north and the Himalayas to the south. The Indian portion of Ladakh is composed of the Leh and Kargil districts...

. Since Ladakh is a part of the Kashmir dispute, the Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region.

The largest town in Ladakh is Leh. It is one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, including the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts
The Chittagong Hill Tracts comprise an area of 13,295 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, and borders India and Myanmar . It was a single district of Bangladesh until 1984. In that year it was divided into three separate districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. Topographically, this is the...

, Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

; a majority of Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhist
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

s and the rest are mostly Shia Muslims. Some Ladakhi activists have in recent times called for Ladakh to be constituted as a union territory
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

 because of its religious and cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir.

History

Rock carvings found in many parts of Ladakh show that the area has been inhabited from Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 times. Ladakh's earliest inhabitants consisted of a mixed Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 population of Mons
Mon people
The Mon are an ethnic group from Burma , living mostly in Mon State, Bago Division, the Irrawaddy Delta, and along the southern Thai–Burmese border. One of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia, the Mon were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in Burma and Thailand...

and Dards
Dard people
The Dards are a group of people defined by linguistic similarities, and not common ethnicity, predominantly found in Eastern Afghanistan, in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northern Areas and North West Frontier Province of Pakistan...

, who find mention in the works of Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, Nearchus
Nearchus
Nearchus was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. His celebrated voyage from India to Susa after Alexander's expedition in India is preserved in Arrian's account, the Indica....

, Megasthenes
Megasthenes
Megasthenes was a Greek ethnographer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica.He was born in Asia Minor and became an ambassador of Seleucus I of Syria possibly to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However the exact date of his embassy is uncertain...

, Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, and the geographical lists of the Puranas. Around the 1st century, Ladakh was a part of the Kushana empire. Buddhism spread into western Ladakh from Kashmir in the 2nd century when much of eastern Ladakh and western Tibet was still practising the Bon religion. The 7th century Buddhist traveler Xuanzang
Xuanzang
Xuanzang was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang period...

 also describes the region in his accounts.

In the 8th century, Ladakh was involved in the clash between Tibetan expansion pressing from the East and Chinese influence exerted from Central Asia through the passes. Suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 over Ladakh frequently changed hands between China and Tibet. In 842 Nyima-Gon, a Tibetan royal representative annexed Ladakh for himself after the break-up of the Tibetan empire, and founded a separate Ladakhi dynasty. During this period Ladakh acquired a predominantly Tibetan population. The dynasty spearheaded the second spreading of Buddhism, importing religious ideas from north-west India, particularly from Kashmir. The first spreading of Buddhism was the one in Tibet proper.

Faced with the Islamic conquest of South Asia in the 13th century, Ladakh chose to seek and accept guidance in religious matters from Tibet. For nearly two centuries till about 1600, Ladakh was subject to raids and invasions from neighbouring Muslim states, which led to the partial conversion of Ladakhis to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

King Bhagan
Bhagan
Lhachen Bhagan was a Basgo king who united Ladakh in 1470 by overthrowing the king of Leh. He took on the surname Namgyal and founded a new dynasty which still survives today....

 reunited and strengthened Ladakh and founded the Namgyal dynasty which survives to today. The Namgyals repelled most Central Asian raiders and temporarily extended the kingdom as far as Nepal, in the face of concerted attempts to convert the region to Islam and destroy Buddhist artifacts. In the early 17th century efforts were made to restore destroyed artifacts and gompas and the kingdom expanded into Zangskar
Zanskar
Zanskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum...

 and Spiti
Spiti
-Geographical locations:*Lahaul and Spiti, a district in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India.*Spiti Valley, former heartland of the former Spiti district now combined.*Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh.*Spitia River-Language:...

. However, despite a defeat of Ladakh by the Mughals, who had already annexed Kashmir and Baltistan, it retained its independence.

In the late 17th century, Ladakh sided with Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 in its dispute with Tibet which, among other reasons, resulted in its invasion by the Tibetan Central Government. This event is known as the Tibet-Ladakh-Mughal war of 1679-1684. Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 helped restore Ladakhi rule on the condition that a mosque be built in Leh and that the Ladakhi king convert to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The Treaty of Tingmosgang in 1684 settled the dispute between Tibet and Ladakh, but severely restricted Ladakh's independence. In 1834, the Dogra
Dogra
The Dogras are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group in South Asia. Being a diversified group, the Dogras include both Savarnas such as Brahmins, Rajputs and Non-savarnas. The Dogras also incluide merchant castes such as Mahajans...

s under Zorawar Singh
General Zorawar Singh
Zorawar Singh Kahluria was born in a village of Kahlur State in modern Himachal Pradesh, India....

, a general of Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.-Early life:...

 invaded and annexed Ladakh. A Ladakhi rebellion in 1842 was crushed and Ladakh was incorporated into the Dogra state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Namgyal family was given the jagir
Jagir
In historic India, a jagir was a small territory granted by the ruler to an army chieftain in fairly short terms usually of three years but not extending beyond his lifetime, in recognition of his military service...

of Stok, which it nominally retains to this day. European influence began in Ladakh in the 1850s and increased. Geologists, sportsmen and tourists began exploring Ladakh. In 1885, Leh became the headquarters of a mission of the Moravian Church.

At the time of the partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 in 1947, the Dogra ruler Maharaja
Maharaja
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king". The female equivalent title Maharani denotes either the wife of a Maharaja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a Maharaja is known as a Rajamata...

 Hari Singh
Hari Singh
Maharaja Hari Singh was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.He was married four times...

 signed the Instrument of Accession
Instrument of Accession (Jammu and Kashmir)
The Instrument of Accession is a legal document executed by Maharajah Hari Singh, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947...

 to India. Pakistani raiders had reached Ladakh and military operations were initiated to evict them. The wartime conversion of the pony trail from Sonamarg to Zoji La by army engineers permitted tanks to move up and successfully capture the pass. The advance continued. Dras, Kargil and Leh were liberated and Ladakh cleared of the infiltrators.

In 1949, China closed the border between Nubra
Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is about 150 km north of Leh, the capital town of Ladakh, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra . The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The average altitude of the valley is...

 and Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

, blocking old trade routes. In 1955 China began to build roads connecting Xinjiang and Tibet through this area. It also built the Karakoram highway
Karakoram Highway
The Karakoram Highway is the highest paved international road in the world, but at its peak at the China-Pakistan border it is only paved on the Chinese side. It connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an altitude of as confirmed by both...

 jointly with Pakistan. India built the Srinagar-Leh Highway during this period, cutting the journey time between Srinagar and Leh from 16 days to two. The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir continues to be the subject of a territorial dispute between India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 on the one hand and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 on the other. Kargil was an area of conflict in the wars of 1947
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
The India-Pakistan War of 1947-48, sometimes known as the First Kashmir War, was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu from 1947 to 1948. It was the first of four wars fought between the two newly independent nations...

, 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. This conflict became known as the Second Kashmir War fought by India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947...

 and 1971
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases...

 and the focal point of a potential nuclear conflict during the Kargil War
Kargil War
The Kargil War ,, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control...

 in 1999.

The Kargil War of 1999, codenamed "Operation Vijay" by the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

, saw infiltration by Pakistani troops into parts of Western Ladakh, namely Kargil, Dras, Mushkoh
Mushkoh Valley
The Mushkoh Valley is a valley in Ladakh, India. Considered to be glaciated and unsuitable for human habitation, it came into prominence in 1999 during the Kargil conflict when Pakistan infiltrated troops across the Line of Control. The Mushkoh valley is the limit of at the western extremity of...

, Batalik and Chorbatla, overlooking key locations on the Srinagar-Leh highway. Extensive operations were launched in high altitudes by the Indian Army with considerable artillery and air force support. Pakistani troops were evicted from the Indian side of the Line of Control
Line of Control
The term Line of Control refers to the military control line between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—a line which, to this day, does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary but is the de facto border...

 which the Indian Government ordered was to be respected and which was not crossed by Indian troops. The Indian Government was criticized by the Indian public because India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 respected geographical co-ordinates more than India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

's opponents, (Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

).

Since 1984 the Siachan glacier
Siachen Glacier
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains at about , just east of the Line of Control between India-Pakistan. India controls all of the Siachen Glacier itself, including all tributary glaciers. At long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and...

 area in the north-east corner of Ladakh has been the venue of a continuing military standoff
Siachen conflict
The Siachen Conflict, sometimes referred to as the Siachen War, is a military conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir. The conflict began in 1984 with India's successful Operation Meghdoot during which it wrested control of the Siachen Glacier from...

 between India and Pakistan and the highest battleground in the world. The boundary was not demarcated in the 1972 Simla Agreement beyond a point, NJ 9842. There is a competition to occupy the heights of the Saltoro Ridge which borders the Siachan glacier
Siachen Glacier
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains at about , just east of the Line of Control between India-Pakistan. India controls all of the Siachen Glacier itself, including all tributary glaciers. At long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and...

. Since then strategic points on the glacier are occupied by both sides, with the Indians having a clear strategic advantage.

The Ladakh region was bifurcated into the Kargil and Leh districts in 1979. In 1989, there were violent riots between Buddhists and Muslims. Following demands for autonomy from the Kashmiri
Kashmiri people
The Kashmiri people are a Dardic linguistic group living in Kashmir Valley in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and parts of the Pakistani territory of Azad Kashmir who speak the Kashmiri language...

 dominated state government, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council
Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council
The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh is an Autonomous Hill Council that administers the Leh District of Jammu and Kashmir, India. -History:...

 was created in the 1990s. Leh and Kargil Districts now each have their own locally elected Hill Councils with some control over local policy and development funds.

Geography

Ladakh is the highest plateau of the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n state of Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 with much of it being over 3,000 m (9,800 ft). It spans the Himalayan
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 and Karakoram
Karakoram
The Karakoram, or Karakorum , is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China, located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan , Ladakh , and Xinjiang region,...

 mountain ranges and the upper Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 valley.

Historically, the region included the Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

 (Baltiyul) valleys, the Indus Valley, the remote Zangskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge
Guge
Guge was an ancient kingdom in Western Tibet. The kingdom was centered in present-day Zanda County, within Ngari Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, China. At various points in history after 10th century AD, the kingdom held sway over a vast area including south-eastern Zanskar, Upper Kinnaur,...

  in the east, Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin is one of the two main disputed border areas between China and India, and the other is South Tibet, which comprises most of India's Arunachal Pradesh. It is administered by China as part of Hotan County in the Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but is also claimed by India...

 in the east, and Nubra valley
Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is about 150 km north of Leh, the capital town of Ladakh, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra . The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The average altitude of the valley is...

 to the north over Khardong La
Khardung La
Khardung La is a high mountain pass located in the Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India...

 in the Ladakh mountain range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti
Lahul and Spiti
The district of Lahaul-Spiti in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh consists of the two formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The present administrative centre is Keylong in Lahaul...

 to the south, the Vale of Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Jammu
Jammu
Jammu , also known as Duggar, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India.Jammu city is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir...

 and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the trans–Kunlun region of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 on the other side of the Kunlun range across the Karakoram Pass
Karakoram Pass
The Karakoram Pass is a mountain pass between India and China in the Karakoram Range. It is the highest pass on the ancient caravan route between Leh in Ladakh and Yarkand in the Tarim Basin...

 in the far north. Running southwest to northeast, the Altyn Tagh converges with the Kunlun range in Kashmir, which runs southeast to northwest forming a "V" shape to converge at Pulu
Pulu, Nepal
Pulu is a village development committee in Mugu District in the Karnali Zone of north-western Nepal. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 909 people living in 171 individual households.-External links:*...

. The geographical divide between Ladakh in the highlands of Kashmir and the Tibetan Plateau commences in the vicinity of Pulu. It continues southwards along the intricate maze of ridges situated east of Rudok, wherein are situated Aling Kangri and Mavang Kangri and culminates in the vicinity of Mayum La.

Before partition, Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

, now under Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i control, was a district in Ladakh. Skardo
Skardu
Skardu , is the main town of the region Baltistan and the capital of Skardu District, one of the districts making up Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan....

 was the winter capital of Ladakh while Leh was the summer capital.

The mountain ranges in this region were formed over a period of 45 million years by the folding of the Indian plate into the more stationary Eurasian Plate
Eurasian Plate
The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate which includes most of the continent of Eurasia , with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Chersky Range in East Siberia...

. The drift continues, causing frequent earthquakes in the Himalayan region. The peaks in the Ladakh range are at a medium altitude close to the Zoji-la (5,000–5,500 m or 16,000–18,050 ft), and increase towards south-east, culminating in the twin summits of Nun-Kun (7000 m or 23,000 ft).

The Suru and Zangskar valleys form a great trough enclosed by the Himalayas and the Zangskar range
Zanskar
Zanskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum...

. Rangdum
Rangdum
Rangdum is in a valley situated 3,657 m above the sea level, in an isolated region of the Suru valley in the Ladakh region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Northern India. On one side are the colorful hills while on the other side are rocky mountains and glaciers, notably Drang-drung.Rangdum...

 is the highest inhabited region in the Suru valley, after which the valley rises to 4,400 m (14,436 ft) at Pensi-la
Pensi-la
Pensi-la is a mountain pass in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, which is known as the Gateway to Zanskar. Pensi La is 4,400 m above sea level and connects the Suru Valley region to the Zanskar Valley region...

, the gateway to Zangskar. Kargil, the only town in the Suru valley, is the second most important town in Ladakh. It was an important staging post on the routes of the trade caravans
Caravan (travellers)
A caravan is a group of people traveling together, often on a trade expedition. Caravans were used mainly in desert areas and throughout the Silk Road, where traveling in groups aided in defence against bandits as well as helped to improve economies of scale in trade.In historical times, caravans...

 before 1947, being more or less equidistant, at about 230 kilometres from Srinagar
Srinagar
Srinagar is the summer seasonal capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. It is one of the largest cities in India not to have a Hindu majority. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats...

, Leh, Skardu
Skardu
Skardu , is the main town of the region Baltistan and the capital of Skardu District, one of the districts making up Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan....

 and Padum
Padum
Padum is the largest town and administrative centre of Zanskar tehsil of Kargil district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is 240 km away from Kargil.-Description:...

. The Zangskar valley lies in the troughs of the Stod and the Lungnak rivers. The region experiences heavy snowfall; the Pensi-la is open only between June and mid-October. Dras
Dras
Dras is a town in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is often called 'The Gateway to Ladakh'. The town shot into prominence in the summer of 1999 following Pakistani-backed incursions into Jammu and Kashmir...

 and the Mushkoh Valley
Mushkoh Valley
The Mushkoh Valley is a valley in Ladakh, India. Considered to be glaciated and unsuitable for human habitation, it came into prominence in 1999 during the Kargil conflict when Pakistan infiltrated troops across the Line of Control. The Mushkoh valley is the limit of at the western extremity of...

 form the western extremity of Ladakh.

The Indus river is the backbone of Ladakh. Most major historical and current towns — Shey
Shey
Shey is a town in Ladakh that has the old summer Palace of the kings of Ladakh. It is located 15 km. from Leh towards Hemis. The palace was built more than 555 years ago by Lhachen Palgyigon, the king of Ladakh...

, Leh, Basgo
Basgo
Basgo is a historical town situated on the bank of the Indus river in Ladakh. It was once an important cultural and political centre and is frequently mentioned in the Ladakhi Chronicles. It is known for its gompas such as Basgo Monastery and historical ruins....

 and Tingmosgang
Tingmosgang
Tingmosgang is a town on the bank of Indus River in Ladakh, in northwestern India. It is 92 km west of Leh, near Khalatse, and north of the present main road. The town has a palace and the monastery over a hillock.-History:...

 (but not Kargil), are situated close to the Indus River. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, the stretch of the Indus flowing through Ladakh is the only part of this river, which is greatly venerated in the Hindu religion and culture, that still flows through India.

The Siachan Glacier
Siachen Glacier
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains at about , just east of the Line of Control between India-Pakistan. India controls all of the Siachen Glacier itself, including all tributary glaciers. At long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and...

 is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains along the disputed India-Pakistan border. The Karakoram range forms a great watershed that separates China from the Indian subcontinent and is sometimes called the "Third Pole." The glacier lies between the Saltoro Ridge immediately to the west and the main Karakoram range to the east. At 70 km long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world's non-polar areas. It falls from an altitude of 5,753 m (18,875 ft) above sea level at its source at Indira Col
Indira Col
The Indira Col is a col on the Indira Ridge in the Siachen Muztagh in the Karakoram Range. It is within a couple kilometers of a tripoint where territories controlled by India, Pakistan and China meet....

 on the China border down to 3,620 m (11,875 ft) at its snout. The passes and some dominating heights on the Saltoro ridge, which has a crestline with heights from 5,450 to 7,720 m (17,880 to 25,330 feet), are occupied by troops on both sides.

Saser Kangri
Saser Kangri
Saser Kangri is the highest peak in the Saser Muztagh, the easternmost subrange of the Karakoram range in India.The Saser Kangri massif consists of five named peaks:...

 is the highest peak in the Saser Muztagh, the easternmost subrange of the Karakoram range in India, Saser Kangri I having an altitude of 7,672 m (25,171 ft).

The Ladakh range
Ladakh range
The Ladakh Range is a segmentf the Karakoram Range, that extends southeastward for 230 miles from the mouth of the Shyok River in the Ladakh region to the Tibetan border...

 has no major peaks; its average height is a little less than 6,000 m (19,700 ft), and few of its passes are less than 5,000 m (16,400 ft). The Pangong range
Pangong range
The Pangong range is a mountain range in the northern Indian region of Ladakh that runs parallel to the Ladakh range about 100 km northwest from Chushul, along the southern shore of the Pangong Lake. Its highest range is 6,700 m , and the northern slopes are heavily glaciated....

 runs parallel to the Ladakh range about 100 km northwest from Chushul, along the southern shore of the Pangong Lake
Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about . It is long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is wide at its broadest point...

. Its highest range is 6,700 m (22,000 ft) and the northern slopes are heavily glaciated. The region comprising the valley of the Shayok and Nubra rivers is known as Nubra. The Karakoram range in Ladakh is not as mighty as in Baltistan. The massifs to the north and east of the Nubra–Siachen line include the Apsarasas group (highest point 7,245 m, 23,770 ft), the Rimo group (highest point 7,385 m, 24,230 ft) and the Teram Kangri group (highest point 7,464 m, 24,488 ft), together with Mamostong Kangri (7,526 m, 24691 ft) and Singhi Kangri (7,751 m, 25,430 ft). North of the Karakoram lies the Kunlun. Thus, between Leh and eastern Central Asia there is a triple barrier — the Ladakh range, Karakoram range, and Kunlun. Nevertheless, a major trade route was established between Leh and Yarkand.

Ladakh is a high altitude desert as the Himalayas create a rain shadow
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

, denying entry to monsoon clouds. The main source of water is the winter snowfall on the mountains. Recent flooding in the region has been attributed to abnormal rain patterns and retreating glaciers, both of which might be linked to global warming. The Leh Nutrition Project, headed by Chewang Norphel, also known as the 'Glacier Man', currently creates artificial glaciers as one solution for retreating glaciers.

The regions on the north flank of the Himalayas — Dras, the Suru valley and Zangskar — experience heavy snowfall and remain cut off from the rest of the region for several months in the year, as the whole region remains cut off by road from the rest of the country. Summers are short, though they are long enough to grow crops. The summer weather is dry and pleasant. Temperature ranges are from 3 to 35  °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

 in summer and minimums range from -20 to -35 °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

 in winter.

Panorama

Flora and fauna

The wildlife of this region was first studied by Ferdinand Stoliczka
Ferdinand Stoliczka
Ferdinand Stoliczka was a Moravian palaeontologist who worked in India on paleontology, geology and various aspects of zoology. He died of high altitude sickness during an expedition across the Himalayas.-Early life:Stoliczka was born at the lodge Zámeček near Kroměříž in Moravia...

, an Austrian-Czech
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

 palaeontologist, who carried out a massive expedition in the region in the 1870s. Vegetation is extremely sparse in Ladakh except along streambeds and wetlands, on high slopes, and in irrigated places.

The fauna of Ladakh has much in common with that of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 in general and that of the Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

 in particular. Exceptions to this are the birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds — a total of 225 species have been recorded. Many species of finches, robins, redstarts (like the Black Redstart
Black Redstart
The Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros is a small passerine bird in the redstart genus Phoenicurus. Like its relatives, it was formerly classed as a member of the Thrush family , but is now known to be an Old World flycatcher .-Description:The Black Redstart is 13–14.5 cm in length and 12–20...

), and the Hoopoe
Hoopoe
The Hoopoe is a colourful bird that is found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive 'crown' of feathers. It is the only extant species in the family Upupidae. One insular species, the Giant Hoopoe of Saint Helena, is extinct, and the Madagascar subspecies of the Hoopoe is sometimes...

 are common in summer. The Brown-headed Gull
Brown-headed Gull
The Brown-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus, is a small gull which breeds in the high plateaus of central Asia from Turkmenistan to Mongolia. It is migratory, wintering on the coasts and large inland lakes of tropical southern Asia...

 is seen in summer on the river Indus and on some lakes of the Changthang
Changthang
The Changtang is a high altitude plateau in western and northern Tibet extending into southeastern Ladakh, with vast highlands and giant lakes. From Eastern Ladakh Changtang stretches approximately 1600 km east into Tibet, as far as the state of Qinghai. All of it is geographically part of...

. Resident water-birds include the Brahminy duck also known as the Ruddy Sheldrake
Ruddy Shelduck
The Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea, is a member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae...

 and the Bar-headed Goose
Bar-headed Goose
The Bar-headed Goose is a goose which breeds in Central Asia in colonies of thousands near mountain lakes and winters in South Asia, as far south as peninsular India. It lays three to eight eggs at a time in a ground nest....

. The Black-necked Crane
Black-necked Crane
The Black-necked Crane is a medium-sized crane that is found on the Tibetan Plateau of Asia. It is 139 cm long with a 235 cm wingspan, and it weighs 5.5 kg . It is whitish-gray, with a black head, red crown patch, black upper neck and legs, and white patch to the rear of the eye...

, a rare species found scattered in the Tibetan plateau, is also found in parts of Ladakh. Other birds include the Raven
Raven
Raven is the common name given to several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus—but in Europe and North America the Common Raven is normally implied...

, Red-billed Chough
Red-billed Chough
The Red-billed Chough or Chough , Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, is a bird in the crow family; it is one of only two species in the genus Pyrrhocorax...

, Tibetan Snowcock
Tibetan Snowcock
The Tibetan Snowcock is a bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. This species is found in high-altitude regions of the Western Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau, where it overlaps in part with the larger Himalayan Snowcock...

, and Chukar
Chukar
The Chukar Partridge or Chukar is a Eurasian upland gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. It has been considered to form a superspecies complex along with the Rock Partridge, Philby's Partridge and Przevalski's Partridge and treated in the past as conspecific particularly with the first...

. The Lammergeier
Lammergeier
The Lammergeier, Lammergeyer, or Bearded Vulture, Gypaetus barbatus , is the only member of the genus Gypaetus. Traditionally considered an Old World vulture, it actually forms a minor lineage of Accipitridae together with the Egyptian Vulture , its closest living relative...

 and the Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

 are common raptors here.

The Bharal
Bharal
The bharal or Himalayan blue sheep or naur, Pseudois nayaur, is a caprid found in the high Himalayas of Nepal, Tibet, China, India, Pakistan, and Bhutan...

 or "blue sheep" is the most abundant mountain ungulate in the Ladakh region. However it is not found in some parts of Zangskar and Sham areas. The Asiatic Ibex is a very elegant mountain goat that is distributed in the western part of Ladakh. It is the second most abundant mountain ungulate in the region with a population of about 6000 individuals. It is adapted to rugged areas where it easily climbs when threatened. The Ladakhi Urial is another unique mountain sheep that inhabits the mountains of Ladakh. The population is declining, however, and presently there are not more 3000 individuals left in Ladakh. The urial is endemic to Ladakh, where it is distributed only along two major river valleys: the Indus and Shayok. The animal is often persecuted by farmers whose crops are allegedly damaged by it. Its population declined precipitously in the last century due to indiscriminate shooting by hunters along the Leh-Srinagar highway. The Tibetan argali or Nyan is the largest wild sheep in the world, standing 3.5 to 4 feet at the shoulder with the horn measuring 90–100 cm. It is distributed on the Tibetan plateau and its marginal mountains encompassing a total area of 2.5 million km2. There is only a small population of about 400 animals in Ladakh. The animal prefers open and rolling terrain as it runs, unlike wild goats that climb into steep cliffs, to escape from predators. The endangered Tibetan Antelope
Tibetan antelope
The Tibetan antelope or chiru is a medium-sized bovid which is about in height at the shoulder. It is the sole species in the genus Pantholops and is placed in its own subfamily, Pantholopinae...

, commonly known as chiru, or Ladakhi tsos, has traditionally been hunted for its wool (shahtoosh
Shahtoosh
Shahtoosh is the name given to a specific kind of shawl, which is woven with the down hair of the Tibetan antelope , by the weavers of Kashmir.- Characteristics :...

) which is a natural fiber of the finest quality and thus valued for its light weight and warmth and as a status symbol
Status symbol
A status symbol is a perceived visible, external denotation of one's social position and perceived indicator of economic or social status. Many luxury goods are often considered status symbols...

. The wool of chiru must be pulled out by hand, a process done after the animal is killed. The fiber is smuggled into Kashmir and woven into exquisite shawls by Kashmiri workers. Ladakh is also home to the Tibetan gazelle, which inhabits the vast rangelands in eastern Ladakh bordering Tibet.

The kiang
Kiang
The kiang is the largest of the wild asses. It is native to the Tibetan Plateau, where it inhabits montane and alpine grasslands. Its current range is restricted to Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, plains of the Tibetan plateau and northern Nepal along the Tibetan border...

, or Tibetan wild ass, is common in the grasslands of Changthang, numbering about 2,500 individuals. These animals are in conflict with the nomadic people of Changthang who hold the Kiang responsible for pasture degradation. There are about 200 snow leopards
Snow Leopard
The snow leopard is a moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of South Asia and Central Asia...

 in Ladakh of an estimated 7,000 worldwide. The Hemis High Altitude National Park in central Ladakh is an especially good habitat for this predator as it has abundant prey populations. The Eurasian lynx
Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized cat native to European and Siberian forests, South Asia and East Asia. It is also known as the European lynx, common lynx, the northern lynx, and the Siberian or Russian lynx...

, is another rare cat that preys on smaller herbivores in Ladakh. It is mostly found in Nubra, Changthang and Zangskar. The Pallas's cat, which looks somewhat like a house cat, is very rare in Ladakh and not much is known about the species. The Tibetan Wolf
Tibetan wolf
The Tibetan wolf , also known as the woolly wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf native to Central Asia from Turkestan, Tien Shan throughout Tibet to Mongolia, northern China, Shensi, Sichuan, Yunnan, and the western Himalayas in Kashmir from Chitral to Lahul. They also occur in the Korean peninsula...

, which sometimes preys on the livestock of the Ladakhis, is the most persecuted amongst the predators. There are also a few brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

s in the Suru valley and the area around Dras. The Tibetan Sand Fox has recently been discovered in this region. Among smaller animals, marmot
Marmot
The marmots are a genus, Marmota, of squirrels. There are 14 species in this genus.Marmots are generally large ground squirrels. Those most often referred to as marmots tend to live in mountainous areas such as the Alps, northern Apennines, Eurasian steppes, Carpathians, Tatras, and Pyrenees in...

s, hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s, and several types of pika
Pika
The pika is a small mammal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tail. The name pika is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae . One genus, Ochotona, is recognised within the family, and it includes 30 species...

 and vole
Vole
A vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars . There are approximately 155 species of voles. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America...

 are common.

Scant precipitation makes Ladakh a high-altitude desert with extremely scarce vegetation over most of its area. Natural vegetation mainly occurs along water courses and on high altitude areas that receive more snow and cooler summer temperatures. Human settlements, however, are richly vegetated due to irrigation.

Natural vegetation commonly seen along water courses includes seabuckthorn (Hippophae spp.), wild roses of pink or yellow varieties, tamarisk (Myricaria spp.), caraway
Caraway
Caraway also known as meridian fennel, or Persian cumin is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa....

, stinging nettles, mint, Physochlaina praealta, and various grasses.

Natural vegetation in unirrigated desert around Leh includes capers (Capparis spinosa), Nepeta
Nepeta
Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their effect on cats—the nepetalactone contained in nepeta binds to the olfactory receptors of cats, typically resulting in temporary euphoria...

 floccosa, globe thistle (Echinops
Echinops
Echinops is a genus of about 120 species of thistles in the daisy family Asteraceae, commonly known as globe thistles. They are native to Europe east to central Asia and south to the mountains of tropical Africa.Species include:...

 cornigerus), Ephedra
Ephedra (genus)
Ephedra is a genus of gymnosperm shrubs, the only genus in its family, Ephedraceae, and order, Ephedrales. Ephedra grows in dry climates over wide areas of the northern hemisphere, including southwestern North America, Europe, north Africa, and southwest and central Asia, and, in the southern...

 gerardiana, rhubarb
Rheum (genus)
Rheum is a genus of about 60 perennial plants in the family Polygonaceae. The genus includes the vegetable rhubarb The species have large somewhat triangular shaped leaves with long, fleshy petioles. The flowers are small, greenish-white to rose-red, and grouped in large compound leafy...

, Tanacetum
Tanacetum
Tanacetum is a genus of about 160 species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to many regions of the Northern Hemisphere.Common names include Tansy , Costmary , and Feverfew ; several other species are also known as tansies.Tanacetum species...

 spp., several artemisias, Peganum harmala, and several other succulents. Juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

 trees grow wild in some locations and are usually considered sacred by Buddhists.

Human settlements are marked by lush fields and trees, all irrigated with water from glacial streams, springs, and rivers. Higher altitude villages grow barley, peas, and vegetables, and have one species of willow (called Drokchang in Ladakhi). Lower villages also grow wheat, alfalfa, mustard for oil, grapes, and a greater variety of vegetables. Cultivated trees in lower villages include apricots, apples, mulberries, walnuts, Simon poplars
Balsam poplar
The balsam poplars — also known as Populus sect. Tacamahaca — are a group of about 10 species of poplars, indigenous to North America and eastern Asia, distinguished by the balsam scent of their buds, the whitish undersides of their leaves, and the leaf petiole being round in cross-section...

, Afghan poplars, oleaster (Elaeagnus angustifolia
Elaeagnus angustifolia
Elaeagnus angustifolia, commonly called silver berry, oleaster, Russian olive, or wild olive, is a species of Elaeagnus, native to western and central Asia, from southern Russia and Kazakhstan to Turkey and Iran...

), and several species of willow (difficult to identify, and local names vary). Elm
Elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

s and white poplars are found in the Nubra Valley, and one legendary specimen of white poplar grows in Alchi in the Indus Valley. Black Locust (Robinia Pseudoacacia), Himalayan Cypress
Cupressus torulosa
Cupressus torulosa, known as the Himalayan cypress, is a species of cypress in southern Asia.-Distribution:The Himalayan cypress is an evergreen conifer tree species is found in the Himalaya from . It is also found on limestone terrain in Sichuan China and in Vietnam.-See also:*Cupressus*Index:...

 and horse chestnut have been introduced since the 1990s.

Government and politics

Ladakh district was a district of the Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 state of India until 1 July 1979 when it was divided into Leh district
Leh District
Leh is one of the two districts located in Ladakh, the other being the Kargil District to the west, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is the second largest district in India in terms of area. It is bounded on the north by Ghanche District , a small border with Xinjiang, China, via the...

 and Kargil district
Kargil District
Kargil is a district of Ladakh, Kashmir, India. Kargil lies near the Line of Control facing Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's Baltistan to the west, and Kashmir valley to the south. Zanskar is part of Kargil district along with Suru, Wakha and Dras valleys...

. Each of these districts is governed by a Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, which is based on the pattern of the Darjeeling Gorkha Autonomous Hill Council. These councils were created as a compromise solution to the demands of Ladakhi people to make Leh a union territory.

In October 1993, the Indian government and the State government agreed to grant each district of Ladakh the status of Autonomous Hill Council. This agreement was given effect by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1995. The council came into being with the holding of elections in Leh District on 28 August 1995. The inaugural meeting of the council was held at Leh on 3 September 1995. Kargil followed Leh's footsteps in July 2003, when the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council — Kargil was established. The council works with village panchayats to take decisions on economic development, healthcare, education, land use, taxation, and local governance which are further reviewed at the block headquarters in the presence of the chief executive councilor and executive councilors. The government of Jammu and Kashmir looks after law and order, the judicial system, communications and the higher education in the region.

Ladakh sends one member (MP) to the lower house of the Indian parliament the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

. The MP from Ladakh in the current Lok Sabha is Hassan Khan an Independent.

Although on the whole there has been religious harmony in Ladakh, religion has tended to be politicized in the last few decades. As early as 1931, Kashmiri neo-Buddhists founded the Kashmir Raj Bodhi Mahasabha
Kashmir Raj Bodhi Mahasabha
Kashmir Raj Bodhi Mahasabha was an organization founded by Kashmiri neo-Buddhists in 1931....

 that led to some sense of separateness from the Muslims. The bifurcation of the region into Muslim majority Kargil district and Buddhist majority Leh district in 1979 again brought the communal question to the fore. The Buddhists in Ladakh accused the overwhelmingly Muslim state government of continued apathy, corruption and a bias in favour of Muslims. On these grounds, they demanded union territory status for Ladakh. In 1989, there were violent riots between Buddhists and Muslims, provoking the Ladakh Buddhist Association
Ladakh Buddhist Association
Ladakh Buddhist Association is an organization in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India concerned with interests of Buddhists in Ladakh. It was founded in 1933 by Kalon Tsewang Rigzin and Munshi Sonam Tsewang...

 to call for a social and economic boycott of Muslims which went on for three years before being lifted in 1992. The Ladakh Union Territory Front
Ladakh Union Territory Front
Ladakh Union Territory Front is a political party in Jammu and Kashmir in India.The party demands union territory status for Ladakh. A consortium of political parties formed in 2002 decided that a regional party shall be formed under a single flag and carry on with the struggle for the Union...

 (LUTF), which controls the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council — Leh demands union territory status for Ladakh. A consortium of political parties formed in 2002 decided that a regional party should be formed under a single flag and carry on with the struggle for this status. Things changed when a few of the nominated candidates shifted sides and joined national and Kashmiri parties. Since then the political scene in Ladakh has been uncertain. While the LUTF demands union territory status for just the Leh district, the general consensus among the people in Kargil and Ladakh is that these districts be included in the demand. This Party lost prestige after it indulged in narrow-minded politics that led to the suspension of prestigious educational movements like the Operation New Hope, implemented jointly by the Students' Educational & Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL).

Economy

The economy of Ladakh rests on three pillars: the Indian Army, tourism, and civilian government in the form of jobs and extensive subsidies. Agriculture, the mainstay only one generation ago, is no longer a major portion of the economy, although most families still own and work their land.

For centuries, Ladakh enjoyed a stable and self-reliant agricultural economy based on growing barley, wheat and peas and keeping livestock, especially yak
Yak
The yak, Bos grunniens or Bos mutus, is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population...

s, cows, dzo
Dzo
A dzo is a hybrid of yak and domestic cattle. The word dzo technically refers to a male hybrid, while a female is known as a dzomo or zhom. Alternative Romanizations of the Tibetan names include zho and zo. In Mongolian it is called khainag...

s (a yak-cow cross breed), sheep and goats. At altitudes of 3,000 to 4,300 m (10,000 to 14,000 ft), the growing season is only a few months long every year, similar to the northern countries of the world. Animals are scarce and water is in short supply. The Ladakhis developed a small-scale farming system adapted to this unique environment. The land is irrigated by a system of channels which funnel water from the ice and snow of the mountains. The principal crops are barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 and wheat. Rice was previously a luxury in the Ladakhi diet, but, subsidised by the government, has now become a cheap staple.

At lower elevations fruit is grown, while the high altitude Rupshu
Rupshu
Rupshu is a valley in southeast Ladakh, on the Leh-Manali highway. The altitude of the valley is between 4,500 and 5,500 metres. It is inhabited by the Changpa nomads.- External links :* published in The Statesman, 16 June 2004....

 region is the preserve of nomadic herders. In the past, surplus produce was traded for tea, sugar, salt and other items. Two items grown for export are apricots and pashmina
Pashmina
Pashmina refers to a type of fine cashmere wool and the textiles made from it. The name comes from Pashmineh , made from Persian pashm . The wool comes from changthangi or pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas in Nepal, Pakistan and northern...

. Currently, the largest commercially sold agricultural product is vegetables, sold in large amounts to the Indian army as well as on the local market. Production remains mainly in the hands of small-landowners who work their own land, often with the help of migrant labourers from Nepal. Naked barley (Ladakhi: nas, Urdu: grim) was traditionally a staple crop all over Ladakh. Growing times vary considerably with altitude. The extreme limit of cultivation is at Korzok, on the Tso-moriri lake, at 4,600 m (15,100 ft), which has what are widely considered to be the highest fields in the world.

In the past Ladakh's geographical position at the crossroads of some of the most important trade routes in Asia was exploited to the full. Ladakhis collected tax on goods that crossed their kingdom from Turkestan
Turkestan
Turkestan, spelled also as Turkistan, literally means "Land of the Turks".The term Turkestan is of Persian origin and has never been in use to denote a single nation. It was first used by Persian geographers to describe the place of Turkish peoples...

, Tibet, Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 and Baltistan. A minority of Ladakhi people were also employed as merchants and caravan traders, facilitating trade in textiles, carpets, dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

stuffs and narcotics between Punjab and Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

. However, since the Chinese Government closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia, this international trade has completely dried up.

Since 1974, the Indian Government has encouraged a shift in trekking and other tourist activities from the troubled Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 region to the relatively unaffected areas of Ladakh. Although tourism employs only 4% of Ladakh's working population, it now accounts for 50% of the region's GNP.

Adventure tourism in Ladakh started in the 19th century. By the turn of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for British officials to undertake the 14-day trek from Srinagar to Leh as part of their annual leave. Agencies were set up in Srinagar and Shimla
Shimla
Shimla , formerly known as Simla, is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. In 1864, Shimla was declared the summer capital of the British Raj in India. A popular tourist destination, Shimla is often referred to as the "Queen of Hills," a term coined by the British...

 specialising in sports-related activities — hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

, fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 and trekking. This era is recorded in Arthur Neves The Tourist's Guide to Kashmir, Ladakh and Skardo, first published in 1911. Today, about 100,000 tourists visit Ladakh every year. Among the popular places of tourist interest include Leh, Drass valley, Suru valley, Kargil, Zangskar, Zangla
Zangla
Zangla is a town in Zanskar tehsil of Kargil district, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located 35 km from Padum. The town is the nodal point on the popular Padum-Strongdey-Zangla-Karsha-Padum round trip. Zangla Monastery is located in the area.-Geography:Zangla is located at ,...

, Rangdum
Rangdum
Rangdum is in a valley situated 3,657 m above the sea level, in an isolated region of the Suru valley in the Ladakh region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Northern India. On one side are the colorful hills while on the other side are rocky mountains and glaciers, notably Drang-drung.Rangdum...

, Padum
Padum
Padum is the largest town and administrative centre of Zanskar tehsil of Kargil district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is 240 km away from Kargil.-Description:...

, Phugthal, Sani, Stongdey, Shyok Valley, Sankoo
Sankoo
Sankoo is a township 42 km south of Kargil located in a bowl shaped valley drained by large tributary streams of the Suru River, the Kartse and the Nakpochu.The village is featured as the richest green flourishing and verdant valley throughout the entire region of Laddakh and hence the bowl...

, Salt Valley
Salt Valley
The Salt Valley is a wide open area in the Rupshu region, a valley in southeast Ladakh, India. The valley has a length of about 20 km and a maximum width of about 7 km. Its average elevation is 5,000 m. It can be approached from Leh across the Tanglang La pass....

 and several popular trek routes like Lamayuru  - Padum
Padum
Padum is the largest town and administrative centre of Zanskar tehsil of Kargil district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is 240 km away from Kargil.-Description:...

 - Darcha
Darcha
Darcha is village on the Bhaga River in Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh, India. It is the northernmost permanent settlement in Himachal Pradesh along the Manali-Leh Highway. The Rough Guide to India describes it as "a lonely cluster of dry-stone huts and dingy tent camps".The village has 65 households...

, the Nubra valley
Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is about 150 km north of Leh, the capital town of Ladakh, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra . The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The average altitude of the valley is...

 and the Indus valley.

Extensive government employment and large-scale infrastructure projects — including, crucially, road links — have helped consolidate the new economy and create an urban alternative to farming. Subsidised food, government jobs, the tourism industry and new infrastructure have accelerated a mass migration from the farms into Leh town. The Indian army is a major part of the economy by employing tens of thousands of Ladakhis as soldiers as well as purchasing goods and services locally.

Transport

There are about 1,800 km (1,100 mi) of roads in Ladakh of which 800 km (500 mi) are surfaced. The majority of roads in Ladakh are looked after by the Border Roads Organisation
Border Roads Organisation
The Border Roads Organisation maintains roads that serve the borders areas of India. It is staffed with a combination of Border Roads Engineering Service officers from the General Reserve Engineer Force and officers from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army. The organisation develops and...

.

Ladakh was the connection point between Central Asia and South Asia when the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 was in use. The sixty-day journey on the Ladakh route connecting Amritsar
Amritsar
Amritsar is a city in the northern part of India and is the administrative headquarters of Amritsar district in the state of Punjab, India. The 2001 Indian census reported the population of the city to be over 1,500,000, with that of the entire district numbering 3,695,077...

 and Yarkand through eleven passes was frequently undertaken by traders till the third quarter of the 19th century. Another common route in regular use was the Kalimpong route between Leh and Lhasa via Gartok
Gartok
Gartok is a trade-market of Tibet, situated on the bank of the Indus on the road between Shigatse and Leh, to the east of Simla. At an elevation of 14,630 ft , it is located at the base of the Kailash Range. In accordance with the Tibet treaty of 1904, Gartok, together with Yatung and Gyantse, was...

, the administrative centre of western Tibet. Gartok could be reached either straight up the Indus in winter or through either the Taglang la or the Chang la. Beyond Gartok, the Cherko la
Cherko la
Cherko la is a mountain pass in Tibet, and forms the watershed between Sutlej and Indus rivers....

 brought travelers to the Manasarovar and Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal
Lake Rakshastal is a lake in Tibet, lying close to the west of Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. The Satluj River originates at Rakshastal's northwestern tip. Despite its close proximity to Lake Manasarovar—over the road to Purang County, Lake Rakshastal does not share the lore of worship with...

 lakes, and then to Barka, which is connected to the main Lhasa road. These traditional routes have been closed since the Ladakh-Tibet border was sealed by the Chinese government. Other routes connected Ladakh to Hunza
Hunza (princely state)
Hunza was a princely state in the northernmost part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan until 1974. The state was also known as Kanjut. The state bordered the Gilgit Agency to the south, the former princely state of Nagar to the east, China, to the north and Afghanistan to the northwest. The state...

 and Chitral
Chitral
Chitral or Chetrar , translated as field in the native language Khowar, is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River , in Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, high...

 but, as in the previous case, there is currently no border crossing between Ladakh and Pakistan.

In present times, the only two land routes to Ladakh in use are from Srinagar and Manali. Travelers from Srinagar start their journey from Sonamarg, over the Zoji La
Zoji La
Zoji La is a high mountain pass in India, located on the Indian National Highway 1 between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range. Though often referred to as Zojila Pass in the foreign press, the correct English translation is Zoji Pass or simply Zojila, since...

 pass (3,450 m, 11,320 ft) via Dras and Kargil (2,750 m, 9,022 ft) passing through Namika la
Namika La
Namika La or Namika Pass , Pillar of the Sky Pass, is a high mountain pass in the Himalayas Zaskar Range in India along the Srinagar-Leh highway highway at 34°22′N 76°35′E....

 (3,700 m, 12,140 ft) and Fatu la (4,100 m, 13,450 ft). This has been the main traditional gateway to Ladakh since historical times and is now open to traffic from April or May until November or December every year. However, with the rise of militancy in Kashmir, the main corridor to the area has shifted from the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh route via Zoji la to the high altitude Manali-Leh Highway
Leh-Manali Highway
The Leh-Manali Highway is a highway in India connecting Leh and Manali. It is open only between June and mid-September when snow is cleared from the road by the Border Roads Organisation. It connects the Manali valley to Kullu valley, Lahaul and Spiti and Ladakh...

 from Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...

. The highway crosses four passes, Rohtang la (3,978 m, 13,050 ft), Baralacha la (4,892 m, 16,050 ft), Lungalacha la
Lungalacha La
Lachulung La , or Lāchālūng La or Lungalacha La, is a mountain pass along the Leh-Manali highway. It is located some from Sarchu and from Pang on the Leh-Manali highway....

 (5,059 m, 16,600 ft) and Taglang la (5,325 m, 17,470 ft) and the More plains
More plains
More plains is crossed by the road from Leh to Manali. This stretch of 40 km falls in between Leh and Sarchu. This road has an average elevation of 4000 meters and is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides...

 and is open only between May and November when snow is cleared from the road.

Buses run from Leh to the surrounding villages. The Manali-Leh-Srinagar
Srinagar
Srinagar is the summer seasonal capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. It is one of the largest cities in India not to have a Hindu majority. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats...

 road makes up about half of the road network, the remainder being spurs off it. Ladakh is criss-crossed by a complex network of mountain trails which even today provides the only link to most of the valleys, villages and high pastures. For the traveler with a number of months it is possible to trek from one end of Ladakh to the other, or even from places in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...

. The large number of trails and the limited number of roads allows one to string together routes that have road access often enough to restock supplies but avoid walking on motor roads almost entirely.

There is one airport in Leh, from which there are daily flights to Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 on Jet Airways
Jet Airways
Jet Airways is a major Indian airline based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is India's largest airline and the market leader in the domestic sector. It operates over 400 flights daily to 76 destinations worldwide. Its main hub is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, with secondary hubs at Delhi,...

, Air Deccan
Air Deccan
Kingfisher Red, known formerly as Simplifly Deccan and prior to that as Air Deccan, is a low-cost brand run by Kingfisher Airlines. It is headquartered in Mumbai, India....

, and Air India
Air India
Air India is the flag carrier airline of India. It is part of the government of India owned Air India Limited . The airline operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Its corporate office is located at the Air India Building at Nariman...

 and weekly flights to Srinagar and Jammu. There are two airstrips at Daulat Beg Oldie and Fukche
Fukche
Fukche Advanced Landing Ground is one of the numerous Advanced Landing Grounds built in India during and after the 1962 Sino-Indian War.-Location:...

 for military transport.

Demographics

Ladakh has a population of about 260,000 which is a blend of many different ethnic groups, predominantly the Tibetans
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

, Mons and the Dards. Like other Ladakhis, the Baltis of Kargil, Nubra, Suru Valley and Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

 show strong Tibetan links in their appearance and language
Balti language
Balti is a language spoken in Baltistan, in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and adjoining parts of Ladakh. Baltistan, before 1948, was part of Ladakh province. The Balti language is a dialect of the Ladakhi language, a form of Tibetan. It is mutually intelligible with Ladakhi proper and Burig...

, and were Buddhists until the last few hundred years.

Most Ladakhis in Leh District and Zangskar are Tibetan Buddhist, while most of the rest of Kargil District is Shia Muslims. There are sizeable minorities of Buddhists in Kargil District and of Muslims in Leh District. There are some Sunni Muslims of Kashmiri descent in Leh and Kargil towns and also Padum
Padum
Padum is the largest town and administrative centre of Zanskar tehsil of Kargil district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is 240 km away from Kargil.-Description:...

 in Zangskar. The Balti villages in Leh District have several thousand Nurbakhshia Muslims. There are a less than 40 families of Ladakhi Christians, who converted in the 19th century.

Among non-Ladakhi residents, there are followers of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

, and a small number of followers of the Bon religion.

The Changpa nomads who live in the Rupshu plateau are more closely related to Tibetans. Since the early 1960s nomad numbers have increased as Changthang nomads from across the border flee Chinese-ruled Tibet. However, since 2000 some nomads, notably most of the community of Kharnak, have abandoned the nomadic life and settled in Leh town. There are about 3,500 Tibetan refugees from all parts of Tibet in Leh District.

People of Dard descent predominate in Dras and Dha-Hanu areas. The residents of the Dha-Hanu area, known as Brokpa
Brokpa
The Brokpa are a small community of Dard people residing in the Dha-Hanu valley about 163 km southwest of Leh in Ladakh. They are thought by some to be the purist descendants of the ancient Indo-Europeans....

, are followers of Tibetan Buddhism and have preserved much of their original Dardic traditions and customs. The Dards of Dras, however, have converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and have been strongly influenced by their Kashmiri neighbours. The Mons are believed to be descendants of earlier Indian settlers in Ladakh, and traditionally worked as musicians, blacksmiths and carpenters.

According to the 2001 population census of India, 47.4% of the population is Buddhist, 45.9% Muslim, 6.2% Hindu and 0.5% others. The region's population is split roughly in half between the districts of Leh and Kargil. Leh is 77% Buddhist and Kargil is 80% Muslim.

The principal language of Ladakh is Ladakhi
Ladakhi language
The Ladakhi language , now also called Bhoti, and by linguists more generally called Western Archaic Tibetan when the Balti and Burig or Purig or Purki dialects are included, is the predominant language in the Ladakh region of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India, and is also spoken in Baltistan...

, a Tibetan language. Educated Ladakhis usually know Hindi, Urdu and often English. Within Ladakh, there is a range of dialects, so that the language of the Chang-pa people may differ markedly from that of the Purig-pa in Kargil, or the Zangskaris, but they are all mutually comprehensible. Due to its position on important trade routes, the language of Leh is enriched with foreign words. Traditionally, Ladakhi had no written form distinct from classical Tibetan, but recently a number of Ladakhi writers have started using the Tibetan script to write the colloquial tongue. Administrative work and education are carried out in English; although Urdu was used to a great extent in the past, now only land records and some police records are kept in Urdu.

The total birth rate (TBR) in 2001 was 22.44, while it was 21.44 for Muslims and 24.46 for Buddhists. Brokpas had the highest TBR at 27.17 and Arghuns had the lowest at 14.25. TFR was 2.69 with 1.3 in Leh and 3.4 in Kargil. For Buddhists it was 2.79 and for Muslims it was 2.66. Baltis had a TFR of 3.12 and Arghuns had a TFR of 1.66. The total death rate was 15.69, with Muslims having 16.37 and Buddhists having 14.32. Highest was for Brokpas at 21.74 and lowest was for Bodhs at 14.32.

Population of Leh and Kargil districts
Year Leh District
Leh District
Leh is one of the two districts located in Ladakh, the other being the Kargil District to the west, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is the second largest district in India in terms of area. It is bounded on the north by Ghanche District , a small border with Xinjiang, China, via the...

 
Kargil District
Kargil District
Kargil is a district of Ladakh, Kashmir, India. Kargil lies near the Line of Control facing Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's Baltistan to the west, and Kashmir valley to the south. Zanskar is part of Kargil district along with Suru, Wakha and Dras valleys...

population percent of change females per 1000 males population percent of change females per 1000 males
1951 40,484 1011 41,856 970
1961 43,587 0.74 1010 45,064 0.74 935
1971 51,891 1.76 1002 53,400 1.71 949
1981 68,380 2.80 886 65,992 2.14 853
2001 117,637 2.75 805 115,287 2.83 901


The sex ratio for Leh district declined from 1011 females per 1000 males in 1951 to 805 in 2001, while for Kargil district it declined from 970 to 901. The urban sex ratio in both the districts is about 640. The adult sex ratio reflects large numbers of mostly male seasonal and migrant labourers and merchants. About 84% of Ladakh's population lives in villages. The average annual population growth rate from 1981–2001 was 2.75% in Leh District and 2.83% in Kargil district.

Culture

Ladakhi culture is similar to Tibetan culture
Tibetan culture
Tibetan culture developed under the influence of a number of factors. Contact with neighboring countries and cultures- including Nepal, India and China - have influenced the development of Tibetan culture, but the Himalayan region's remoteness and inaccessibility have preserved distinctive local...

.

Gastronomy

Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa
Thukpa
Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup, usually served with meat. It is popular in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and also in the states of Sikkim, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and some other parts of India. The food is widely available in restaurants in these regions...

(noodle soup) and tsampa
Tsampa
Tsampa is a Tibetan staple foodstuff, particularly prominent in the central part of the region. It is roasted flour, usually barley flour and sometimes also wheat flour or rice flour...

, known in Ladakhi as ngampe (roasted barley flour). Edible without cooking, tsampa makes useful trekking food. A dish that is strictly Ladakhi is skyu, a heavy pasta dish with root vegetables. As Ladakh moves toward a cash-based economy, foods from the plains of India are becoming more common. As in other parts of Central Asia, tea in Ladakh is traditionally made with strong green tea, butter, and salt. It is mixed in a large churn and known as gurgur cha
Butter tea
Butter tea, also known as po cha , cha süma , Mandarin Chinese: sūyóu chá or goor goor in local Ladakhi terms, is a drink of the Tibetans and Chinese minorities in southwestern China. It is also consumed in Bhutan. It is made from tea leaves, yak butter, and salt.-Usage:Drinking butter tea is a...

, after the sound it makes when mixed. Sweet tea (cha ngarmo) is common now, made in the Indian style with milk and sugar. Most of the surplus barley that is produced is fermented into chang, an alcoholic beverage drunk especially on festive occasions.

Architecture

The architecture of Ladakh contains Tibetan and Indian influences and monastic architecture reflects a deeply Buddhist approach. The Buddhist wheel, along with two dragons, is a common feature on every gompa
Gompa
Gompa and ling are Buddhist ecclesiastical fortifications of learning, lineage and sadhana , located in Tibet, India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

, including the likes of Lamayuru
Lamayuru
Lamayuru or Yuru Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist Gompa in Kargil District, Western Ladakh, situated on the Srinagar - Kargil - Leh road 15 km east of the Fotu La, at a height of 3,510 m.-History:A. H...

, Likir
Likir
Likir is a small town located in Ladakh, which is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It is perhaps most famous for the nearby Klu-kkhyil Gompa. The Likir Monastery was first built in the 11th century and was rebuilt in the 18th century, and currently has a gold-covered Buddha...

, Thikse
Thikse
Thikse Gompa or Thikse Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Yellow Hat sect, located on top of a hill, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India...

, Hemis
Hemis
Hemis is a town in India 40 km southeast of Leh in Ladakh, well known for the Hemis monastery that was established in 1672 AD by king Senge Nampar Gyalva. Hemis is best known to tourists for the colorful festival held in July. Hemis also could be associated with the Hemis National Park, an...

, Alchi
Alchi
Alchi is a village and monastery in the Leh district of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, situated on the bank of Indus River 70 km downstream from the capital in Leh...

 and Ridzong Gompas. Many houses and monasteries are built on elevated, sunny sites facing south, and in the past were made of rocks, earth and wood but are now more often concrete frames filled in with stones or adobes.

Music and dance

Traditional music includes the instruments surna and daman (shenai and drum).
The music of Ladakhi Buddhist monastic festivals, like Tibetan music
Music of Tibet
The music of Tibet reflects the cultural heritage of the trans-Himalayan region, centered in Tibet but also known wherever ethnic Tibetan groups are found in India, Bhutan, Nepal and further abroad...

, often involves religious chanting in Tibetan
Tibetan language
The Tibetan languages are a cluster of mutually-unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh,...

 or Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 as an integral part of the religion. These chants are complex, often recitations of sacred texts or in celebration of various festivals. Yang chanting, performed without metrical timing, is accompanied by resonant drums and low, sustained syllables. Religious mask dances are an important part of Ladakh's cultural life. Hemis monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Drukpa Lineage, located in Hemis, Ladakh . Situated 45 km from Leh, the monastery was re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal...

, a leading centre of the Drukpa tradition of Buddhism, holds an annual masked dance festival, as do all major Ladakhi monasteries. The dances typically narrate a story of the fight between good and evil, ending with the eventual victory of the former.
Weaving is an important part of traditional life in eastern Ladakh. Both women and men weave, on different looms. Typical costumes include gonchas of velvet, elaborately embroidered waistcoats and boots and hats. The Ladakh Festival is held every year from September 1 to 15. Performers adorned with gold and silver ornaments and turquoise headgear throng the streets. Monks wear colourful masks and dance to the rhythm of cymbals, flutes and trumpets. The yak, lion and Tashispa dances depict the many legends and fables of Ladakh. Buddhist monasteries sporting prayer flags
Tibetan prayer flag
A prayer flag is a colorful panel of rectangular cloth, often found strung along mountain ridges and peaks high in the Himalayas. They are used to bless the surrounding countryside and for other purposes. Prayer flags are believed to have originated with Bon, which predated Buddhism in Tibet. In...

, display of thankas, archery competitions, a mock marriage and horse-polo are the some highlights of this festival.

Sports

The most popular sport in Ladakh now is ice hockey, which is played only on natural ice generally Mid-December through Mid-February . Cricket is also very popular. Archery is a traditional sport in Ladakh, and many villages still hold archery festivals, which are as much about traditional dancing, drinking and gambling as about the sport. The sport is conducted with strict etiquette, to the accompaniment of the music of surna and daman (shenai and drum). Polo, the other traditional sport of Ladakh is indigenous to Baltistan and Gilgit, and was probably introduced into Ladakh in the mid-17th century by King Singge Namgyal, whose mother was a Balti princess.

Social status of women

A feature of Ladakhi society that distinguishes it from the rest of the state is the high status and relative emancipation enjoyed by women compared to other rural parts of India. Fraternal polyandry
Polyandry
Polyandry refers to a form of marriage in which a woman has two or more husbands at the same time. The form of polyandry in which a woman is married to two or more brothers is known as "fraternal polyandry", and it is believed by many anthropologists to be the most frequently encountered...

 and inheritance by primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

 were common in Ladakh until the early 1940s when these were made illegal by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, although they still exist in some areas. Another custom is known as khang-bu, or 'little house', in which the elders of a family, as soon as the eldest son has sufficiently matured, retire from participation in affairs, yielding the headship of the family to him and taking only enough of the property for their own sustenance.

Traditional medicine

Tibetan medicine has been the traditional health system of Ladakh for over a thousand years. This school of traditional healing contains elements of Ayurveda
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

 and Chinese medicine, combined with the philosophy and cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

 of Tibetan Buddhism. For centuries, the only medical system which was accessible to the people have been the amchi who are traditional doctors following the Tibetan medical tradition. Amchi medicine is still an important component of public health to this day, especially in remote areas.

A number of programmes by the government, local and international organisations are underway to develop and rejuvenate this traditional system of healing. Efforts are underway to preserve the intellectual property rights of amchi medicine for the people of Ladakh. The government has also been trying to promote the seabuckthorn in the form of juice and jam, as it is believed to possess many medicinal properties. This is also seen as a means of providing employment to the various self help groups in rural Ladakh.

Organizations

There are many NGOs which are actively working to improve the life in Ladakh like LEDeG, LEHO, the Leh Nutrition project, Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh
Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh
The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh is an Indian non-governmental organization based i Ladakh.-History:The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh is an organisation founded in 1988 aimed at reforming the educational system of Ladakh, by a group of young...

 (SECMOL) and Women's alliance. LEDeG has been working actively since 1971 to install hydraulic rams to improve the water supply in the region. It has also been successful in setting up hydro-power projects in the otherwise energy-starved region.

Education

According to the 2001 census, the overall literacy rate in Leh District is 62% (72% for males and 50% for females), and in Kargil District 58% (74% for males and 41% for females). Traditionally there was little or nothing by way of formal education except in the monasteries. Usually, one son from every family was obliged to master the Tibetan script in order to read the holy books.

The Moravian Mission opened a school in Leh in October 1889, and the Wazir-i Wazarat (ex officio Joint Commissioner with a British officer) of Baltistan and Ladakh ordered that every family with more than one child should send one of them to school. This order met with great resistance from the local people who feared that the children would be forced to convert to Christianity. The school taught Tibetan, Urdu, English, Geography, Sciences, Nature study, Arithmetic, Geometry and Bible study. It is still in existence today. The first local school to provide western education was opened by a local Society called "Lamdon Social Welfare Society" in 1973. Later, with support from HH Dalai Lama and some international organisations, the school has grown to accommodate approximately two thousand pupils in several branches. It prides itself on preserving Ladakhi tradition and culture. The Druk White Lotus School
The Druk White Lotus School
The Druk White Lotus School is located in Shey, Ladakh, in northern India.The school was started at the request of the people of Ladakh who wanted a school that would help maintain their rich cultural traditions, based on Tibetan Buddhism, while equipping their children for a life in the 21st...

 under the guidance of His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa
Gyalwang Drukpa
The Gyalwang Drukpa or Drukchen are a line of re-incarnate lamas or tulku who are the head of the Drukpa school, one of the independent Sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism...

, spiritual head of the Drukpa Order (the dominant Buddhist sect in Ladakh and traditionally, the state religion of Ladakh) located in Shey
Shey
Shey is a town in Ladakh that has the old summer Palace of the kings of Ladakh. It is located 15 km. from Leh towards Hemis. The palace was built more than 555 years ago by Lhachen Palgyigon, the king of Ladakh...

 is another school which aims at helping to maintain the cultural traditions of Ladakh with its missionary approach to teaching.

Schools are well distributed throughout Ladakh but 75% of them provide only primary education. 65% of children attend school, but absenteeism of both students and teachers remains high. In both districts the failure rate at school-leaving level (class X
Education in India
Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory. The Nalanda University was the oldest university-system of education in the world...

) has for many years been around 85–95%, while of those managing to scrape through, barely half succeeded in qualifying for college entrance (class XII.) Before 1993, students were taught in Urdu until they were 14, after which the medium of instruction shifted to English.

In 1994 the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh
Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh
The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh is an Indian non-governmental organization based i Ladakh.-History:The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh is an organisation founded in 1988 aimed at reforming the educational system of Ladakh, by a group of young...

 (SECMOL) launched Operation New Hope (ONH), a campaign to provide "culturally appropriate and locally relevant education" and make government schools more functional and effective. The ONH works with the government, the NGOs, the teachers and the village communities. By 2001, ONH principles were being implemented in all the government schools of Leh District and the matriculation exam pass rate had risen to 50%. A government degree college has been opened in Leh, enabling students to pursue higher education without having to leave Ladakh.

Media

The government radio broadcaster "All India Radio" (AIR) and government television station "Doordarshan" both have stations in Leh that broadcast local content for a few hours a day. Beyond that, Ladakhis themselves produce feature films that are screened in auditoriums and community halls. They are often made on fairly modest budgets.

There are also a handful of private news outlets.
  • Rangyul or Kargil Number is a newspaper published from Kashmir serving Ladakh in English and Urdu.
  • reachladakh.com has Ladakhi reporters posting news regularly.
  • Daily updated news of Ladakh can be accessed on visitladakh.com.


Some publications that cover Jammu and Kashmir as a whole, also provide some coverage of Ladakh.
  • The Daily Excelsior, claims to be "The largest circulated daily of Jammu and Kashmir".
  • Epilogue, a monthly magazine covering Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Kashmir Times, a daily newspaper covering Jammu and Kashmir.

See also

  • Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh
    Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh
    Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh is a book by Helena Norberg-Hodge. The book was published in 1991. The 1st part of the book described the untouched land of Ladakh, when Helena first arrived in 1975, on how everyone is so happy and contented. In the "olden" world, Ladakhis women enjoyed high...

    (book)
  • Balti language
    Balti language
    Balti is a language spoken in Baltistan, in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan and adjoining parts of Ladakh. Baltistan, before 1948, was part of Ladakh province. The Balti language is a dialect of the Ladakhi language, a form of Tibetan. It is mutually intelligible with Ladakhi proper and Burig...

  • Baltistan
    Baltistan
    Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

  • Geography of Ladakh
    Geography of Ladakh
    Ladakh is the highest altitude plateau region in India , straddling the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River valley....

  • Ladakhi language
    Ladakhi language
    The Ladakhi language , now also called Bhoti, and by linguists more generally called Western Archaic Tibetan when the Balti and Burig or Purig or Purki dialects are included, is the predominant language in the Ladakh region of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India, and is also spoken in Baltistan...

  • Polyandry in Tibet
    Polyandry in Tibet
    Polyandry is a form of polygamy whereby a woman has several husbands. In Tibet those husbands are often brothers, which is why it is most commonly called "Fraternal Polyandry". Concern over the delicate question of which children are fathered by which brother falls on the wife alone...

  • Tourism in Ladakh
    Tourism in Ladakh
    Ladakh , a word which means "land of high passes", is a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir of Northern India sandwiched between the Karakoram mountain range to the north and the Himalayas to the south. The Indian portion of Ladakh is composed of the Leh and Kargil districts...

  • Wildlife of Ladakh

Further reading

  • Zeisler, Bettina. (2010). "East of the Moon and West of the Sun? Approaches to a Land with Many Names, North of Ancient India and South of Khotan." In: The Tibet Journal, Special issue. Autumn 2009 vol XXXIV n. 3-Summer 2010 vol XXXV n. 2. "The Earth Ox Papers", edited by Roberto Vitali, pp. 371–463.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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