Welcome To Ladakh!

A mystical land with rugged terrains, snow capped peaks, chanting monks, chiming monastery bells and colourful costumes. In Tibet, Ladakh is commonly called La- Tag and Maryul "Red Land". It was called Kho-Chan-Pa "Snow land" by the old Chinese traveler Fa-Hien. Ladakh has been the dream of adventure lovers and those in search af peace and solitude. For this reason, travelers call it 'Little Tibet'. Situated between 30 degree to 36 degree east latitude and 76 degree to 79 degree north longitude, with altitudes ranging from 2750 m at Kargil to 7672 m at Sasar Kangri in the Karakoram, Ladakh is spread over an area of 96,701 Sq.Kms bounded by the great Himalayas and Karokoram Range. Ladakh remains closed between November and June every year as Srinagar-Ladakh and Ladakh-Manali highways receive heavy snowfall.

Earlier, Ladakh was one of the provinces of Tibetan kingdom, governed by an independent prince and its spiritual head was the Kum Lama or chief pontiff of Lhasa, where Emperor Asoka about 250 BC established Buddhism. Earliest authentic historical observations of Ladakh reach as far back as the beginning of Christian era in AD 399-400 when Fa-Hian traveled to Ladakh. In 10th century, the empire of Great Tibet broke up into several districts headed by chiefs, which were formed as independent kingdoms. Purang was occupied by Tashi-Degon and Ladakh by Palgyi-Gon. Thus Ladakh was an independent kingdom ruled by a Gyalpo (King). From AD 1080 till AD 1110 was the reign of Lhachon Utpalo, during which the Alchi monastery was built. King Trashigon of Gu-ge ruled between AD 1200 and 1230. Lotroichagden ruled Ladakh from AD 1440 till 1470. During this period, rulers of Kashmir sent their army many times to invade the region. This continued during the reign of Bhagen Namgyal AD 1470- 1500. This was followed by Mongolian raids from the north, Tashi Namgyal gained victory over Mongolians in AD 1517. In AD 1532,Abu Sayed Mirza Khan of Kashghar gained power with support of Emperor Sikander of Kashmir.

From AD 1555 to AD 1580, Chevang Namgyal, a descendent of the first king of Tibet, Khri-Tsampa, reconsolidated power in Ladakh. He was succeeded by his brother Jamyang Namgyal AD 1595. While marching to Puril district, King Jamyang's troops dispersed due to violent storm, they were attacked by rebels and sent to Skardo as prisoners along with the king. Ali Mir, a Muslim ruler of Skardu took advantage, marched upon Ladakh with large forces and took possession of the whole land in 17th century. During this period, many historical monuments and records were destroyed. Ali Mir marched back to Skardu completing arrangements for forming his government of Ladakh. On reaching back he released Jamyang from the prison and got one of his daughters married to him. People asked Jamyang to restore temple & images of Buddha and secure new copies of sacred books from Lhasa. Singge Namgyal succeeded Jamyang in AD 1610 and heroically conquered Purang, Guge, Zanskar, Spiti, Puril, Mayal, Sidee. During his reign, he ordered the building of Hemis, Chemre, Temisgan, and other monastaries.

Succeeded by his son Deldan Namgyal in AD 1670, who emulated his father and installed huge statues of Buddha, plated with copper and gold, in Shey. During his reign, Tartars from Baltistan invaded Ladakh, Deldan escaped to Kashmir and sought military aid from Ibrahim Khan, governor of Emperor Aurangzeb. Mughal forces pushed out Tat-tars from Ladakh. Deldan embraced Islam and built mosque in Leh. Islam got a foothold during Deldan's rule though he himself reverted to Buddhism. His son Delek Namgyal ruled Ladakh from AD 1705 to 1740, conquered Spiti, Murad and other areas. Mir of Balti invaded Ladakh and conqured in AD 1750. From this date to AD 834, Ladakh faced a repetition of wars.

Dogra Maharaja Gulab Singh after conquering Kishtawar sent troops leadership of the great General Zorawar Singh to Ladakh through Suru Valleyon 16 August 1834. Opposed by the Balti leaders many times, Dogra troops under the command of Basti Ram finaliy with the usage of artilleries captured the fort. Gyalpo in this stalemate collected farces from other chiefs and pushed out the General. Zarawar Singh managed to stay in the areas nearby for few month and finally conquered Ladakh and then later on invaded Baltistan too. Having consolidated huge force, Zorawar Singh invaded Yarkand far its Pashmina wool trade and rich monastries.Entire area came under Ladakhis and Dogras. The government of Lhasa took this invasion seriously and at the same time Chinese forces on 7th November 1841 moved towards Zorawar. Singh and occupied Leh and other areas. Shot during the battle after fighting fearlessly, General Zorawar Singh breathed his last. Maharaja Gulab Singh overcame generals death after a long time and Sent his forces. Chinese rule was just 6 weeks old when Dogra forces captured Ladakh and Baltistan once again. In 1846, Basti Ram was in control of the region. Dogras after systematic wars annexed Ladakh Baltistan with their kingdom of Jammu a Kashmir and ruled for more than 1000 years.

The history of Ladakh and Baltistan up to 1947 remained the same till Maharaja Hari Singh chose join with Indian Dominion. The partition af India resulted in the invasion of some parts af Ladakh and Baltistan by China. For their original lineage from Dards an lndo-Aryan race fram Indus, people Ladakh have features and attire similar that of Tibetans and Central Asian peopler a Known for their soft attitude, Ladakhis are very gentle in nature,just opposite to their geographical conditions. just apposite Ladakh is divided into two districts,Leh and Kargil.

Statistics

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Altitude:

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96,701 Sq.Kms bounded by the great Himalayas and Karakoram Range

3500 m

30 - 36 E

76 - 79 N

Ladakhi

20- (-40)

July-October

How To Reach:

Air:

Leh is connected by the regular domestic flights to and from Delhi. However, as the weather is unpredictable,a 2 to 3 hrs hold-up is normal, especially on the early morning departures.

By Rail:

The nearest railway station is in Kalka from where has to take a bus or taxi to Manali via Shimla. There are regular Tata Sumo and bus services in Manali to and from Leh.

By Road:

Long, winding but well maintained roads are the next best option to a flight for Leh. The two popular routes to Leh are from Srinagar via Kargil on the Srinagar-Leh Highway and from Manali via Sarchu and Dharchu on the Manali-Leh Highway. These routes are only open from June to October. However, it is a long and tiring journey of two days, the only comforts being the spectacular sights of the mountain country, alluring blue rivers and the passes over 13,000 ft that takes us to our destination. The respective night halts on the two routes are Kargil and Sarchu. There are regular bus and Tata Sumo services to Leh. Leh Bus Stand is barely a kilometer from the city itself.

Facilities

Shopping

The craftsmanship in Ladakh has been mostly used far the divinity purpose in the monasteries and homes. The wood carving with dragon designs embossed on it is a craft adapted in some villages. The daily use items like jewelry boxes and others are made in attractive colours with different lucky signs of Buddhism.

Pashmina shawls are also woven in the villages where men and women card and spin the pashmina, sheared from Pashmina goat. In the village af Chiling, 19 km from Nima in Zanskar, metal work is done by the descendants of artisans brought from Nepal in mid 17th century for building statue of Buddha at Shey. The brass, silver & copper items are mostly carved with peculiar designs. There are other woolen shawls also available in colourful designs at a reasonable cost. Carpets with Tibetan design made by looping knots 'Khabtan' are made by Ladakhi men and women mainly for personal use. The locally made warm woolen cloth Pattu and robes made of this cloth are of some attraction to visitors to safeguard from the cold of Ladakh in winter.

The most sought after souvenirs of Ladakh are the Tangkha paintings, made on the thin white cloth 'Latha'. Some paintings are made of real gold water to keep its shine everlasting.The Mural paintings Gompas and monasteries depicting images related to Buddhist religion mark everlasting craftsmanship to be cherished and appreciated. Clay moulding is a special craft in Ladakh, the masters engaged in preparing the statues for monasteries. Some of the statues of Lord Buddha in the famous monasteries of Ladakh are created by these craftsmen. Masks and other objects are also made by the clay moulding craft. You may be interested in meeting a monk-oracle or an astrologer revered by people of Ladakh for their spirit-healing and prediction on the occasions for establishing business, ploughing fields, arranging marriages or starting a journey. Many locally made items are also available in the markets of Leh and other villages, which can be wonderful souvenirs.

Archery , Polo and Ice-skating in Ladakh

During Summer in Ladakh region, archery festivals are held with music and dance for entertainment of the villagers gathered to witness the competition. It has become popular among visitors who watch these events in traditional way with the locals. Polo is a traditional game of western Himalayan region originally brought from Baltiston to Ladakh in mid 17th century during reign of Senge Namgyal whose mother was a Balti princess. Most of the villages in Ladakh have a polo ground where tournaments are held in summer between the teams of different villages and the army men in the vicinity. Tourists Ilove to be part of the team or simply watch the thrilling game.

During freezing temperature Ladakh offers splendid opportunities as the lakes and ponds in villages are completely covered with thick layer of ice. Young boys and girls take keen interest in ice skating completions held regularly, in fact Ladakh has produced some of the champions of ice skating have brought laurels at National International level for J&K state.

Mountaneering in Ladakh

Ladakh has gained much popularity for Great Himalayan mountain range that have been mesmerizing mountaineers world wide. The ruggedness of the region is itself a thrilling experience for every traveler; the dominating mountains challenge the avid climbers from a distant view. Mountaineers from across the world dream of scaling these peaks and feel the charisma of being on top of the world.

The ideal climbing season is mid June to September. Most climbing expeditions required to obtain prior permission from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), New Delhi. Booking fee is based on the height and popularity of the peak and a registered liaison officer/escort assigned to every climbing team.IMF maintains a proper backup support for the security and safety of the expeditions Ladakhi sherpas / guides are famous for guiding the climbers through a proper route and assist them in getting accustomed to the limate and the culture of the place.

River Rafting in Ladakh

The gigantic Indus flowing with full vigor at most of the places offers splendid river rafting opportunities for the professional and amateur adventurers. The best white water stretch for professionals is between Spituk and Saspol beyond which the river gets dangerous. The Zanskar river similarly demands highly skilled professional river rafting. Stretch from Spituk to Karu River is easy to handle even for amateurs. The travel agents in Leh offer rafting packages to aIl adventurers. Over the years Ladakh has produced some of the best rafters.

Important Informations

High Altitude Health Precautions (HAHP)

At high altitude place like Ladakh, oxygen level is lower than what people of plains are used to. Acclimatization on arrival is very essential; one must give some (24 to 36 hrs) time to get adjusted to the change of atmosphere before indulging in any physical activity. At Leh the specialists at the hospitals are well equipped to meet any eventuality caused by the high altitude. Presence above 2700 m, i.e. 10,000 ft, can cause breathlessness,nausea, coughing, headache or any other related mountain sickness. High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO) and High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACO) are very serious forms of acute mountain sicknesses. They are life threatening and warrant immediate medical treatment/attention. In such cases it is advisable to contact the nearest Hospital or Medical Dispensary situated in major villages. Some serious cases are even referred to be airlifted to Delhi. Please inform your travel agent/group leader or escort about your health conditions before leaving an a tour.

Advised Clothing

Summer (May-Sep) : Cotton wear, light woolens, sturdy walking shoes, rain proofs.
Winter (Oct.April) : Heavy woolens, thermal wear, feather jackets, sturdy walking shoes.

Inner Line Permits

Entry into some areas of Ladaakh region is restricted. It is mandatory to obtain the Protected Area Permits from the Deputy Commissioner's office at Leh for visiting Khardung-La, Nubra volley, Pangong, Tsomo-riri, Tso-Kar Doh-Hanu area of Leh district. Apart from these several other preconditions like weather, road conditions, size of the group apply for some circuits. Travelers must corry 6-10 sets of photocopy of the permits for the checking points.

Important Contacts

Airports Contact Numbers

Srinagar +91-194- 2303635 Jammu +91-191- 2431917 Leh (Ladakh) +91-1982- 253076

J&K State Road Transport Corporation

Srinagar +91-194- 245510 Jammu +91-191- 2473245 New Delhi +91-11- 23934232 / 32965527 Leh(Ladakh) +91-1982- 25208

Railway Station, Jammu Tawi

+91-191- 2476078

Tourist Reception Centers

TRC, Srinagar +91-194- 2452691 TRC, Jammu +91-191- 2548172 /2520432

Divisional Commissioner's Offices

Kashmir +91-194- 2472580 Jammu +91-191- 2544665 / 2544045

Foreigner's Registration Offices

Srinagar +91-194-2483588 Jammu +91-191-2542676 Leh (Ladakh) +91-1982- 252200