Ladakh

Ladakh, the land of jagged peaks and barren landscape is at once alluring and awe-inspiring. Hidden behind this harsh and forbidding façade is an ancient civilization and a captivating people. With its unaltered character and overwhelming natural beauty Ladakh beckons the more intense and adventurous of travelers. The awesome wilderness and magic can only belong to this great land of towering mountains and Buddhist simplicity.

The largest of the 10 provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is bordered by the Karakoram chain of mountains in the north and the Himalayas in the south. With the great Indus flowing right through Ladakh, the province is divided into Leh, the capital Nubra, Zanskar, lower Ladakh and Rupshu. The many distinctive features of Ladakh are its uplands, craggy, barren cliffs and plateaus.

There is little information on Ladakh before the birth of the kingdom i.e.10th century. Rock carvings found in various parts of Ladakh, show that the area has been inhabited from the Neolithic times. The Indo-Aryan population of Mons and Dards, who were Ladakh’s earliest inhabitants, find mention in the works of Herodotus, Nearchus, Megasthenes, Pliny, Ptolemy, and the geographical lists of the Puranas.
Ladakhi culture is very similar to Tibetan culture and that is why it is also referred to as ‘Little Tibet’. Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the diet traditionally comprising of Thukpa, noodle soup; and Tsumpa, known in Ladakhi as ‘Ngamphey’, roasted barley flour. A dish that is strictly Ladakhi is ‘skyu’, a heavy pasta dish with root vegetables.
Ladakh is India’s highest plateau with much of it being over 3,000 m (9,800 ft). It spans the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River valley. Historical Ladakh includes the fairly populous main Indus valley, the more remote Zanskar (in the south) and Nubra valleys (to the north over Khardung La), the almost deserted Aksai Chin, and Kargil and Suru Valley areas to the west.

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Due to the mountainous terrain, Ladakh is cut through by valleys and river systems creating smaller sub-regions. These subregions have substantial contrasting geographic and climatic conditions and that has its impact on the life and livelihood of the inhabitants. Thus all the regions of Ladakh reflects their own identity. Each forms an ethnic cluster with varied dialect and custom. Broadly and roughly, on the Northern side is the Nubra valley almost parallel to Indus valley, on eastern side is the high-altitude plains of Changthang, on southern side is the secluded valley of Zanskar and to the west is the valley of Lower Ladakh, greener, warmer and the cusp of Ladakhi culture. some of the main regions of Ladakh
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