Ladakh is a mountainous country located between Kunlun and the Himalayas. This area, which belongs to India, is often called Little Tibet because of the similarity of its cultures and nature.
Ladakh is the least populated part of Central Asia. It was he who became the second homeland of Tibetan Buddhism after Tibet fell under China’s expansion and was deprived of many unique cultural monuments.
Most of the local population is Buddhist and there are also Christians and Muslims. The main language is Ladakh, one of the branches of the Tibetan language.
The capital city of Ladakh is Leh. It is located in the mountains at an altitude of about 3524 m above sea level, and above it rises the Lech Palace – the former residence of the local kings.
Women in Ladakh play an important social role. Before 1940, there was a lot of manhood here, and in some villages it still exists today. Weaving is an integral part of local culture, both men and women do it.
The Ladakh economy has been based on the production of peas, barley, wheat and the breeding of yaks, cows, sheep and goats for many centuries. Now one of the main items of income is tourism. The local cuisine is similar to that of Central Tibet. The main dishes are: sue – pasta with root vegetables, thukpa – soup with noodles, tsampa – flour from fried barley. Tea is drunk here with butter and salt, and on holidays they make changa, an alcoholic drink made of barley.
In local architecture, the influence of Tibet and India is noticeable. Buddhist wheels are often decorated with images of dragons. Ladakh monasteries – gompses – are located in the most unimaginable places, at the edges of gorges, on the ledges of steep rocks.
The festivals feature religious chants in Tibetan and Sanskrit, as well as ritual masked dances. Yang is a special way of singing when the lyrics are performed with a low voice to the accompaniment of drums. Headdresses decorated with gold, silver and turquoise are often worn at celebrations.
For many years this place has been attracting tracking lovers from all over the world and there are routes of different difficulty levels. The most popular places for hiking are around Lehan, Rupsha Carmack, Zanskar, Nubra Valley and Kargil.