Ladakh is located in Northern India and part of the state Jammu and Kashmir. It is located between the Karakoram mountain range and the Himalayas and known for its spectacular scenic beauty. The largest town in Ladakh is Leh, which is a very popular tourist destination. Due to its mountain ranges its popular for adventure tourism along with its well-preserved history of Tibetan-Buddhist culture. Most of this place is above is over 3000m above sea level. Ladakh is sometimes also known as ‘Little Tibet’ due to its Tibetan linage. The locals even resemble the Tibetans.
Ladakh was once a very important trade center, however after the border differences with China in 1960 the international trade has suffered. Since 1974, Tourism forms a vital source of income for them and major part of their economy too. Ladakh is also rich in some minerals such as gold, copper and some semi-precious gems.
Best time to Visit
Ladakh is known for its cold temperature throughout the year. However the best time to travel is from June to September when the temperature ranges between 20-30 degrees. During this time one can experience paradise on earth here with some most wonderful and breath taking views and the slightly warm and sunny weather.
Culture of Ladakh
Ladakh is heavily influenced by the Tibetan culture. Most of its population comprises of Buddhists than Muslims. Ladakhi food, too have much in common with the Tibetan food. The architecture of Ladakh has lots of Tibetan and Buddhist touches to them and reflects deep rooted Buddhism. This place is dominated by Buddhists and remaining very small percentage of Hindus, Muslims and other communities. With the vast number of monasteries, also known as ‘Gompas’ having a touch of ancient Ladakh speaks volumes of its rich culture with a history attached to each. They are so picturesque like pictures cut from a fairytale book so serene giving complete peace to the mind and soul.
The people of Ladakh celebrate a number of festivals on several occasions such as harvesting, monastery, New year and they even have carnivals such as the sacred drama of life wearing facial masks and colorful robes etc.
The local food here, too have the Tibetan touch in them and have a lot in common. Some of the common and prominent food here is thukpa ( noodle soup), ngampe (roasted barley soup) and skyu ( a heavy pasta dish with root vegetables).
The locals here enjoy playing ice-hockey which is generally played in January. Archery is another traditional sport and many villages even conduct archery festivals where people get together for gambling, singing, playing folk dances etc. together. Polo is also one more common game played by the locals.
The main occupation here is sheep-rearing. People are mostly nomadic going from place to place in search of pastures. They rear long-haired goats and sheep and the furs and fleece from these animals are used to make the famous Kashmiri Pashmina shawls.
It is truly a place to be visited and for memories to be etched for a lifetime. The spectacular views right out of an artists painting, the beautiful carvings on the rocks, hugs pillars of the gompas, the local markets thriving with life and colorful local attractive stuff like Buddhist bells, lamps, handmade rugs, shawls, coats etc. the serenity of the monasteries, and the lifestyle of the people depicting their simple and peaceful living yet happy lives leaves a deep impact in the minds of the travellers making them wanting to come to this place again and again. The warmth and affection of the local ladakhis adds to its further charm and makes the place even more beautiful.