About Ladakh, India – Trade Routes & Peaks
Often called “Little Tibet” or “Land of the Broken Moon”, Ladakh is one of the last spot in the world where the Buddhist way of life is unrepressed. Once an independent Buddhist kingdom at the crossroads of vital trade routes between China and the Middle East, Ladakh is now part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in one of the northernmost regions in India. With the closure of the Chinese border in the 1960s, international trade has all but disappeared in Ladakh and today the small communities within the area rely on international tourism for their economic survival.
Three great mountain ranges rise from within Ladakh: the Karakoram, Zanskar and Ladakh. Massive glaciers and numerous peaks with summits above 20,000 feet in elevation are found throughout the ranges, and nowhere in Ladakh does the elevation dip below 8,000 feet. Leh, the capital, sits at 11,500 feet. The best road access into and throughout Ladakh is limited to the warm months of May, June, July and August.
Annual rainfall is minimal throughout Ladakh and the region is dependant on the summer snowmelt to supply its centuries-old communal irrigation system. In the summer months, the temperatures in Leh span an average of 36F – 92F (nights and daytime).
Ladakh covers an area of roughly 38,000 square miles and their sparse population of 270,000 people is most heavily congregated in the valleys of the Indus River and its tributaries. Buddhism is the prevalent religion throughout Ladakh, and makes up more than 80 percent of Leh’s population. However, vibrant Muslim, Hindu and Christian communities are a traditional part of Ladakh’s historically peaceful and diverse societies. Infact, the relative lack of violence among the different religious groups in Ladakh has led some to refer to it as a unique model of peace. Living together in one of the world’s harshest landscapes, the Ladakhi people have maintained a sustainable, harmonious balance with each other and the environment.
The failure of the ineffective Indian government school system in its rural and poor villages threatens the traditions and culture of Ladakh and its people. Nearly three-quarters of the students in the region are not proficient enough to pass the government-mandated test in order to continue school after the 10th grade. As such, the children of Ladakh are not equipped to meet the fast-changing globalized world and risk losing their heritage as they try to adapt to a market economy without an education respect and understanding of their vital culture.
Want to see and do more?
Global Family Travels can help you extend your family’s trip to India by booking additional excursions and activities both before or after your time with us.
- Trekking: Nearby trekking routes in Ladakh extend into the Great Himalaya, Pir Panjal, Karakoram, Zanskar and Ladakh Ranges.
- White-water Rafting: Various class rafting and kayak tours run on sections of both the Indus and Zanskar Rivers, ranging from gentle sightseeing tours for beginners to more challenging rapids for the highly experienced.
- Fly-Fishing: The British were the first to introduce trout to the rivers and streams of Northern India, and since the sport hasn’t caught on with the local population, there are lots fish still waiting to rise.
- Mountain Biking: With downhill sections that can last more than 20 miles, the mountain bike trails outside of Leh are among the biggest in the world.
- Train Tours: Seeing India by train has long been one of the country’s best attractions. Tours out of New Delhi, like the Mahaparinirvan Express, provide an opportunity to explore more of the country while you’re there.