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Visit Ladakh


Best Season : March to October
Temperatures (Average) : 10 to 30 degrees cent. Low Temperatures in winter
Clothing : Light/Medium wollens in summers to Heavy wollens in winter
Rainfall: 529mm
Languages : Kashmiri,Urdu,Hindi,English
Food: Every sort of vegetarian and non vegetarian food is available in multiple cuisines to suit every budget. Restaurants of all hues and shades are available all along the Boulevard road. and other major spots. Foods suits all budgets and tastes.
Ladakh the land of high passes markes the boundary between the peaks of the wesern Himalaya and the vast Tibetan Plateau.

Ladakh the far flung eastern corner of troubled Jammu and Kashmir state is India's most remote and sparsely populated region, a high altitude desert cradled by the Karakoram and Great Himalayas ranges. For tourists, this barren and breathless land offers a window on a unique Himalayan landscape and culture that until as recently as 1974, had only been glimpsed by  a few intrepid Western travelers. 

Variously described a "Little Tibet"  or "the last Shangri - La", La Dags "land of height mountain passed" is one of the last enclaves of Mahayana Buddhism Ladakh's principal religion for nearly a thousand years, now brutally suppressed by the Chinese in its native Tibet, Except near that Kashmiri border, the outwards symbols of Buddhism are everywhere  : strings of multicolored prayer flags flutter fro the rooftops of houses, while bright prayer wheels and whitewashed .

Visiting Ladakh
Two main "highways" connect with the rest of India. Due to the unrest in Kashmir, the legendary Srinagar - Leh road now sees far less tourist traffic that the route up from Manali, almost 500 km south , these two plus the track from Kargil to Padum in Zanskar also link the majority of Ladakh's larger set elements with the capital.

Bus Services : - Along the main Indus valley highway are frequent and reliable but grow less so the furtherer away you get from Leh. To reach off track side valleys and villages within a single day it it much easier to splash out on a Jeep taxi either a Gypsy or a Tata Sumo available in Kargil and Leh. the alternative and more traditional way to get around the region of course, is on foot Popular. treks.

Unless you fly direct to leh (the world’s highest airport at 3505m), the decision of when to visit ladakh is largely made for you: the passes into the region are only open between late June and late October, when the sun is at its strongest and the weather pleasantly warm. Even then Night can be chilly, so take sleeping bag. From November onwards, temperatures drop fast, often plummeting to minus 400C between December and February, when the only way in and out of zanskar is along the frozen surface of the river. Another reason to come in summer is to make arguably the most spectacular road journey in the world. The hour-long flight over the Himalayas may be memorable, but is no substitute for the two-day-plus trip from manali (see p.522) – a crash course in just how remote and extraordinary this lonely mountain kingdom really is.

 

 Some history

The first inhabitants of ladakh are thought to have been mixture of nomadic herdsmen

From the Tibetan plateau and a small contingent of early Buddhist refugees from northern India called the mons. Some time in the fourth or fifth century, these two groups were joined by the Dards, a tribe of indo-Aryan origin who migrated southeast along the Indus valley, brining with them irrigation and settled agriculture.

 

   The first independent kingdom in the region was established in the ninth century by the maverick nobleman Nyima Gon, taking advantage of the chaos after the collapse of the Guge empire of western Tibet. Buddhism, meanwhile, had also found its way across the Himalayas from India. Disseminated by the wandering sage-apostles such as padmasambhava (alias “Guru Rinpoche”) dharma gradually displaced the pantheistic shamanism of the Bon cult (which still holds sway in remote villages north of khalsi, near Lamayuru). The east –ward expansion of the faith towards the Tibetan plateau continued in the tenth and eleventh centuries – the period later dubbed the “Second Spreading”. Among its key proselytizers was the “Great Translator” Rinchen Zangpo,  a scholar and missionary associated with foundation of numerous monasteries in ladakh and in neighbouring spiti (see p.519).

 

Around the fourteenth century, Ladakh passed through a dark age during which, for reason that remain unclear, its rulers switched  allegiance from Indian to Tibetan  Buddhism, a from of the faith deeply invested with esoteric practices drawn from the tantra   texts, and possibly influenced by the animated  celebration common to bon (see Contexts, p.1338). This coincided with the rise to prominence in Tibet of Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), who is accepted as founder of the Gelug-pa or “yellow hat”school.with the Dalai Lama at its head, gelug-pa is today the most popular school in ladakh. Under Tashi Namgyal (1555-70), who reunified the kingdom, ladakh became a major Himalayan power, and the ascent to the throne of the “Lion”, Sengee Namgyal, in the seventeenth century, signalled further territorial gains. After being routed by the moghul-balti army at  Bodh Kharbu in 1639, he turned his energies to civil and religious matters, founding a new capital and palace at leh, as well as a string of monasteries that included Hemis, seat of the newly arrived Brugpa sect.

 

Sengge’s building spree created some fine monuments, but it also drained the kingdom’s coffers, as did the hefty annual tribute paid to the moghuls after the Bodh Kharbu debacle. Finances were further strained when Deldan, sengge’s successor, picked a quarrel with his ally, Tibet. The fifth Dalai Lama dispatched an army of Mongolian horseman to teach him a lesson, and three years of conflict only ended after the Moghul governor of Kashmir intervened on ladakh’s behalf. This help, however, came at a price: Aurangzeb demanded more tribute, ordered the construction of a mosque in leh, and forced the ladakhi king to convert to Islam.

Trade links with Tibet resumed in the eighteenth century, but ladakh never regained its former status. Plagued by feuds and assassinations, the kingdom teetered into terminal decline, and was an easy target for the Dogra general Zorawar Singh, who annexed it for the Maharaja of Kashmir in 1834. The ladakhi royal family was banished to stok palace, where their descendants reside to this day.

 

Ladakh became a part of independent India in 1948, following the first of the four indo-pak wars fought in the region. However, both international frontier and the so-called “Ceasefire line” that scythes through the top of Jammu and Kashmir remain “unauthenticated”: even today, the two armies take periodic pot-shots at each other near kargil and across the disputed Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram, 100km north. When you consider the proximity of China, another old foe who annexed a large chunk of ladakh in 1962, it is easy to see why this is India’s most sensitive border zone-and why it remained off-limits to tourist until 1974.

 

Today ladakh comprise around seventy percent of the state of Jammu and Kashmir as it stands. Long dissatisfied with the state government based in Srinagar, and after years of agitation, the ladakhis finally saw the establishment in their region of an Autonomous Hill Development Council in September 1995, localizing-in theory-government control. Local politicians and religious leaders of leh, however, spent the late 1990s accusing the state government of manipulation and the purposeful mismanagement of the AHDC, and in 2002 created a new body called the Ladakh Union Territory Front, the goal of which is to split from Jammu and Kashmir and gain Union Territory recognition from Delhi. A victory sorts occurred later that year when the newly elected government in Jammu agreed to give more internal decision-making power to the AHDC, thus ending a six-year stand-off and paving the way for UT status. Meanwhile, the Muslims of Kargil and Drass-heavily influenced by politics of the Kashmir valley, seeking relations with their Balti cousins across the border in Pakistan and demanding a hill council of their own-are vehemently opposed to any separation of ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir.
 

Relations between Muslim and Buddhist in the region have declined steadily since the1980s-fuelled by the competition for urban jobs, land disputes and the fighting in Kashmir. The situation reached new low in July 2000 after Muslims (their exact identity remains in dispute) shot dead three Buddhist monks outside a monastery in Rangdum in the remote region between the Suru Valley and Zanskar. A German traveler who had the misfortune of hitching a ride on the same truck as the terrorists, thus a witness to the crime, was also executed. The shockwaves of the massacres were felt throughout ladakh, with curfews imposed on leh. Such media stories-along with the threat of nuclear exchange in the spring of 2002-has impacted the tourist industry. The number of visitors dropped from 18,000 in 2001to a mere 3000 the following year.


Ladakh Places of Interest (Visit Ladakh)

Leh
Leh is nested in a side valley just to the north of the Indus Valley.  Until 1947 it had close trading relations with Central Asia yak trains would set off from the Leh Bazaar to complete the stages over the Kaakoam Pass to Yarkand and Kashgar.

Kargil

Administering the  Valleys of Suru , Drass, Wakha and Bodkarbu, Kargil lies midway between the alpine valleys of Kashmir and the fertile reaches of the Indus Valley and ladakh


Thak Thok
Thak Thok gompa shelters a cave in which the apostle Padmasambhava is said to have meditated during his epic eight-century journey to Tibet.

Dhahanu
Dhahanu is situated to the south west of Leh, around 163 Kms. passing through the beautiful villages of Kaltsey, Domkhar, Skurbuchan 


Padum
Padum is 240 km to the south of Kargil, comes as a bit of an anticlimax

Rangdum
Rangdum is an elliptical expanded plateau surrounded by colourful hills on the one side and glacier encrusted rocky mountains on the other. 


Zanskar
Walled in by the Great Himalayan Divide, Zanskar, literally " Land of White Copper" has for decades exrted the allure of Shangri La on visitours to Ladakh.

Zangla
Zangla is the nodal point on the popular Padum Strongdey Zangla Karsha Padum round trip, which covers most of the cultural sites of Zanskar.
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Valley of Ladakh

The Suru Valley
Diving two of the world's most formidable mountain ranges, the Suru Valley winds south from Kargil to the desolate Pensi La the main entry point for Zanskar. 

Nubra Valley
the Nubra valley  - nubra means green used to be on the trading route  connection Tibet with Turkistan, Also Now  as the Valley of Flowers more ...

Drass Valley
Drass (3230 m), 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar, is a small township lying in the centre of the valley of the same name . 

Shyok Valley
The Shyok River receives the waters of the Nubra and Changchenmo rivers. It rises from the Khumdang glacier, which can be approached from Shyok. 


Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso, 15km to the southeast of Leh, is one of the largest saltwater lakes in Asia, a long narrow strip of water stretching from Ladakh east into Tibet.

Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri or "Mountain Lake" is Famous for the large herds of king, or wild ass, which graze on its shores, the lake of Tso Moriri.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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