Explore Ladakh as an endlessly fascinating land of high mountains and grand gompas in a defining experience under the rain shadow of the Himalayas. A land where small villages cling to the holy Indus River and grow precious barley, wheat, vegetables and fruit.The region of Ladakh has been a part of the silk route where traders, missionaries, colonial intrigue mongers and nomads converged in its capital city of Leh — the convenient entrepot for trade between Kashmir, Punjab, Tibet, Baltistan, and over the Karakoram on to the Silk Route.
Since the closure of the route and the demographical changes in the region modern Ladakh has seen a swarm of backpackers, mountain worshippers, trekkers, photographers, ecologists, adventure seekers and holiday makers who descend in hordes to taste Ladakh’s undoubtedly unique charms.Of these charms, heritage takes pride of place, right next to beautiful landscapes. Ladakhi built heritage is inextricable from its locales; its monasteries could not be located anywhere but on those dramatic craggy hill tops. Its flat roofed, whitewashed homes anywhere but among those bright green fields that stand out like oases in this cold desert.
What Ladakh has created has to do with the mountain desert clime, its position cradled between India and Tibet, and it having hosted monks, merchants and mountain people over centuries. Vajrayana Buddhism, and the spectacular monasteries it has gifted Ladakh, are certainly the most visible of this heritage, but no less are the timeless rivers—Indus, Zanskar, Nubra, Shyok—running across and shaping these old oasis-villages; or the high mountain passes over which trans-Himalayan caravans have defied the elements for centuries; or the palaces and politics of royal lineages; or the gathering together of Ladakhis for celebrations in long cold winters; or the salty butter tea and the Chang. When exploring, Ladakh has given a wandering traveler its greatest sites in the form of ancient monasteries, pinnacled mountain peaks, green hamlets, hair raising passes, shimmering lakes, isolated villages and amazing people who are different from village to village.