Leh-Ladakh - The Land Of Many Mountain Passes

Leh is the capital of Leh district of Laddakh region situated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, amidst the lofty mountain ranges of the Great Himalayas. Leh-Ladakh is flanked by two of the greatest mountain ranges on either side, the Himalayas and the Karakoram mountains.

Leh-Ladakh is an ethereal desert area caressed by freezing winds and sharp sun rays. The thin air makes the heat in the summers more sharp and intense. In fact it is not surprising that if a person would be sitting out in the summer with his feet in the shade, he could suffer from a sunstroke and frost bite at the same time.

The mean altitude is three thousand five hundred metres above sea level and the temperatures range between twenty seven Celsius in summers to a sharp dip down to twenty below zero Celsius in winter.  ‘Laddakh’ is a Persian word that means ` the land of many mountain passes’. The native population of Laddakh is believed to be of an Indo-Aryan origin from the Indus Valley, but over the years, a mix of cultures between India and Tibet have seen the facial features change to rounder faces, shorter noses and thin slit eyes. The people of Leh-Ladakh are very simple and good at heart. 

The main religions dominating this region are Buddhism and Islam. This used to be a bustling trade route in the past between Punjab and Central India but since China has closed all borders, tourism has become the core industry of Leh-Ladakh.  Owing to its specific ecological balance and climate, his place has a fascinating mix of wild life. Some species natives to this area are the Yak or wild ox, Ibex, Tibetan Shapu and the wonderful blue sheep.

There are many beautiful places to be seen here, mainly the Leh Palace and the Buddhist Monasteries. The Leh Palace has always been a big attraction for tourists in the city. It exudes a certain sense of mystery and the landscape around it is extremely beautiful and scenic. Some of the famous monasteries are Alchi, Gompa, Sankar Gompa, Hemis Gompa and the Likir Monastery.

The Laddakh festival is attended by many people as it showcases the cultural richness of the region. It is held during the winters, when the majority of the population is not busy at work due to the severe climatic conditions. These festivals are attended for their atmosphere of great festivity and gaiety. One of the main attractions of tourists visiting Leh-Ladakh is the beautiful winter trek organized by the tourism authorities. The Zansker winter trek is one such unforgettable experience as it is made over a strange route when the hikers traverse over the frozen Zansker River. All these treks pass through breath taking mountain regions and locales. Adventure sports like parasailing, river rafting and skiing are also very popular in Leh-Ladakh. Many tourists voice the sentiment that was coined by the Moghul Emperor Jahangir when he said that places in Kashmir like Pahalgam and Leh are the closest that we can get to heaven on earth.

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Keywords :
Leh , Ladakh , Kashmir , Leh-Ladakh


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