State : Jammu & Kashmir
District : Leh
Languages : Ladakhi, Tibetan Blati, Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, English
Best time to visit : June to October
Ladakh a word which means “land of high passes”, is a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir of Northern India sandwiched between the Karakoram mountain range to the north and the Himalayas to the south. The Indian portion of Ladakh is composed of the Leh and Kargil districts. The Leh district is the largest district of India, covering more than half the area of Jammu and Kashmir, of which it is the eastern part.
Ladakh is bound by mountains and made up of mountains. Sheer walks of rock and the divide the Indus Valley from Tibet Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, and human habitation is restricted to narrow strips of greenery clinging to the rivers that drain down from mountain glaciers. This rugged region is home to one of the last undisturbed Tantric Buddhist population on earth, protected from colonial interference, rampaging Mughals and the ravages of the Cultural Revolution by sheer force of geography.
From November to May, Ladakh is almost completely cut off from the outside world. Even in summer, getting here involves crossing the highest mountain passes in the world, or a hair-raising flight that weaves between the peaks. Isolation has preserved an almost medieval way of life, dictated by the changing seasons. Unlike the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh has seen the little violence since Independence. Most Ladakhis are Buddhist with smaller communities of Shia and Sunni Muslims in Leh and the valleys surrounding Zanskar and Kargil.
Among the popular places of tourist interest include Leh, Drass valley, Razi khar (Chiktan Khar), Suru valley, Kargil, Zanskar, Zangla, Rangdum, Padum, Phukthal, Sani Monastery, Stongdey, Shayok Valley, Sankoo, Salt Valley. Popular treks are Manali to Ladakh, the Nubra valley, Pangong tso, Tso moriri, the Indus valley, Markha Valley, Ladakh monastery trek, South Zangskar, Trans-Zangskar Expedition, Spiti to Ladakh, Spiti to Pitok to Hemis, Rupshu, the Great Salt lakes, Chadar Ice trek, Padum-Phuktal, Padam to Darcha, Panikhar to Heniskot, Padum to Manali, Lamayuru-Martselang, Lamayuru – Alchi, Kala Pattar trek etc.