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CULTURAL TOURS >> LADAKH

Ladakh is a land like no other. Bounded by two of the world's hightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, it lays diagonally two other, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range. Ladakh is the highest highland of the Indian state of Kashmir with much of it being over 3,000m. It lies between 32 to 36 degree north latitude and 75 to 80 degree east longitude. The total area of 45110sq km makes Ladakh the largest district in India. Ladakh region is bifurcated in Kargil and Leh districts. Kargil lies at an altitude of 2750m and Leh at 3505m. The largest town in Ladakh is Leh.

The History of Ladakh: Around the first century, Ladakh was a part of the Kushana Empire. Buddhism came to western Ladakh via Kashmir in the 2nd century. Buddhism is the religion of the majority of Leh Districtís population. The most attractive features of the Landscape of Leh are the Buddhists Gompas (Monastries). The Gompas are situated on the highest points of the mountain spurs or sprawl over cliff sides, located in surrounding area of villages and provide focus for the faith of Buddhists. Gompas have a wreath of artifacts.

Climate of Ladakh: Ladakh is a high altitude desert as the Himalayas create a rain shadow thus barring the entry of monsoon clouds. Surprisingly though, the thin air makes the heat of the sun even more powerful than at lower height. Only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time.

About Religion of Ladakh: Ladkah is dominated by Buddhists with a minor percentage of Hindu, Muslims, and Christians. Ladakh is sprinkled with ancient Buddhist rock engravings all over the region. Many villagers in Ladakh are crowned with a gompa or monastery which may be anything from an attractive complex of temples, prayer halls and monks dwellings, to a tiny hermitage housing a single image and home to lonely lama.

Fairs & Festivals: Monastic and other religious festivals, many of which fall in winter, provide the excuse for cheerful gatherings. Summer pastimes all around the region are archery and polo. Among the Buddhists, these often develop into open-air festal parties accompanied by dance and song.

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