Ladakh’s culture, economy and society has been shaped by many factors – the fact that Ladakh neighbors Tibet in the east, in the north by the Xiniang province of China, in the northwest by Pakistan, in the west by Kashmir and in the south by the Lahaul and Spiti valleys of Himachal Pradesh, also Central Asia further a field – how all these areas have influenced and shaped the culture and society that has developed in Ladakh over the years to the present day.
Along the long established trade routes through Tibet, Central Asia, Kashmir and the plains of northern India, came not only goods but also ideas. Despite its harsh terrain and remoteness from urban centres, Ladakh has long been a location where people, commerce and cultures intermingled and its art forms therefore reflect influences from many other places. Records and monographs left by European travelers – the first Europeans to reach Leh in 1631were the Portuguese priests Francisco de Azevedo and John de Oliveira. Then in 1820 the two Englishmen William Moorcroft and George Trebeck, who worked for the East India Company – they had come to Ladakh in the course of a journey to central Asia in search of horses for the East India Co – were kept in Leh for two years waiting for permission to go to Yarkand, and which was eventually denied them. It was during this two-year wait that they observed and wrote about life in Ladakh, trade, clothes, religion, etc.
Ladakh or the ‘Land of High Passes’ is a barren yet beautiful region located in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sharing its east border with Tibet, Ladakh has Lahaul and Spiti to its south and the Kashmir valley to the west. Strategically placed on ancient trade routes, Ladakh lies between the Kunlun Mountains in the north and the Himalayas in the south. The region originally comprised the Baltistan valley, the Indus Valley, Zanskar, Lahaul, Spiti, Aksai Chin and Ngari.
Ladakh is the highest altitude plateau region in India (much of it being over 3,000 m), incorporating parts of the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River valley.
WILDLIFE IN LADAKH
Ladakh, undoubtedly, is a unique wildlife destination, which boasts of being home to a number of exotic animals as well as bird species roaming freely in their natural habitat. You can witness a huge variety of flora and fauna. It also has some rare and endangered species of animals. The region of Ladakh with a unique ecosystem gives an opportunity of a wildlife as well as a photography enthusiast to view some rare and most beautiful wildlife species with a striking background of the snowy peaks.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LADAKH
Ladakh offers accommodation from family-run establishments to guest houses to budget hotels and rooms in monasteries that are suitable to every budget. However, Leh offers more options for accommodation ranging from guest houses in Changsva to budget hotels near the Central Library and luxury hotels on Old Sheynam Road.
Camps and hikers huts are a common feature in Nubra, Changthang and Drokpa area during the summer months. Tourist camps spring up every season in Korzok village too.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN LADAKH
Ladakh offers a wide variety of cuisine from Tibetan to Korean to Chinese to Indian and Continental. These can be found in street-side stalls, restaurants, cafes and garden restaurants. While in Ladakh, do not forget to try the local specialties like Momos, Marchwangan Korma and the local tea made from yak’s butter.
BEST TIME TO VISIT LADAKH
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Ladakh is as given below. The best time to visit Ladakh is also specified.
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