Ladakh, the “Land of Passes” has often been called with various names like “The Moon Land”, “Little Tibet” or “The Last Shangri La”. The Union Territory of Ladakh is located in the western Himalayas of northern India and is the largest and the second least populous union territory of India.
Ladakh Union Territory
Until 2019, Ladakh was a District of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In August 2019, the Parliament of India passed an act by which Ladakh became a union territory on 31 October 2019.
Ladakh is bordered on the East by the Tibet Autonomous Region, on the West lies the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and on its South lies the State of Himachal Pradesh. The Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan lies to the West. Ladakh lies embedded in the mountain ranges of the Karakoram in the North-West, The Himalayas in the South-West, and the Trans-Himalaya at its core. Its position at the upper course of the Indus Karakoram and the mighty Himalayas, Ladakh is one of the world`s highest plateaus with breath-taking landscapes.
Silk Route Ladakh History
In ancient times, medieval times and even before independence India, Ladakh was known as a center for trade and commerce with Central Asian countries. Ladakh acted as an important gateway for the exchange of men, material, and ideas through the ages. It was part of the ancient Silk Route and Leh, the capital of Ladakh was the meeting point for traders from South Asia and Central Asia. Due to its geographical proximity to Central Asia and linkages to old Silk-Route, Ladakh became the transit point for the bilateral Indo-Central Asian trade and commerce. However, after the occupation of Tibet, the Chinese authorities closed the borders between Tibet Autonomous Region and Ladakh in the 1960s.
Strong Indian Military Force in Ladakh
The Government of India has since then successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh and is a favorite place for holidays both with foreigners and Indian tourists. Since Ladakh is a part of the strategically important Kashmir region, bordering both Pakistan and China, the Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region.
How Many Districts are There is Ladakh
Ladakh has two districts namely Leh and Kargil. Leh is the largest town in Ladakh followed by Kargil, each a District Headquarter on its own. The Leh district consists of the Indus, Shyok, and Nubra river valleys. The Kargil district contains the Suru, Dras, and Zanskar river valleys. The main populated regions are the river valleys, but the mountain slopes also support the pastoral Changpa nomads.
Religions in Ladakh
The main religious groups in the region are Muslims (mainly Shia) (46%), Buddhists (40%), Hindus (12%) and others (2%). Ladakh is one of the most sparsely populated regions in India. As its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet, it is known as the “Little Tibet”.
The sparsely populated regions and extremely hospitable inhabitants of Ladakh have always attracted travelers, adventures, and traders for centuries. It is the perfect place for trekking, camping, rafting, and stumbling across unvisited villages and ancient monasteries.
Acclimatization in Leh
Guests traveling directly by air to Leh are advised to complete rest for the first 24 hours. They are also recommended not to undertake any kind of physical exertion and avoid alcohol until the time they are acclimatized to the high altitude conditions. This generally takes one full day.
Ladakh General Information :
Area : 97,000 sq kms.
Population : 2.40 lakhs in the two districts of Leh & Kargil.
Languages : Ladakhi/Balti /Purig, Shina or Dardic, Urdu /Hindi.
Ethnicity : Mongoloid/Tibetan, Dardic and assorted Indo-Aryan
Altitude : Leh – 3505 mtrs; Kargil – 2750 mtrs
Summers : 7 °C Min and26 °C Max
Winters : minus 6 °C Max and minus 23 °C Min
Rain-fall : 15 cm, 6″ (annual average)
Clothing : Cotton & light woolens in summer and heavy woolens including down-filled, wind proof clothing in winter.