Ladakh is a cold desert with the contrasts of freezing winds and burning hot sunlight. Formed only a few million years ago, this relatively young land is surrounded by the Great Himalayas on one side and the Karokaram on the other. A dry area, Ladakh region receives little rain and is totally opposite from the green landscape of the major parts of the Himalayas. Once covered by an extensive lake system, Ladakh has the winter snowfall as its main source of water. Ladakh, covering an area of 59,000 sq km, is made up of two administrative districts, Leh and Kargil. Leh is the chief town. The population of Ladakh is dominated by the Lamaist Buddhists. It is one of the most picturesque and beautiful places in India.
Ladakh, now a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, was once a part of the former Kingdom of Ladakh. For almost 900 years, starting from the middle of the 10th century, Ladakh existed as an independent kingdom. The year 1531 saw continuous attacks by the Muslims from Kashmir that continued till the mid 19th century, when it was finally seized. The Indo-Aryan Mons from across the Himalayan range, the Darads from the extreme western Himalayas, and the itinerant nomads from the Tibetan highlands also form the early colonizers of Ladakh. Today, Ladakh has some of its areas under the illegal occupation of Pakistan and China.
Because of association with Kashmir, Kishtwar and Kulu, Ladakh valley adopted various ethnic and cultural traditions radiating from across the Great Himalayan range. Tourism in Ladakh is not just about picturesque views of the valley with the snow-capped peaks forming the backdrop. Rather, it is also about culture of Ladakhi people and their will to live cheerfully even in one of the most inhospitable terrains in the world. The fascinating Buddhist monasteries of the region revive the centuries old legacy of Ladakh. Then, there are numerous fairs and festivals in the valley that take you close to the people of Ladakh and their heritage. For those loving adventure, there are a number of sports in the valley that will excite you and also bring you closer to the nature. All in all, Ladakh has some thing to offer to everyone, be it wildlife lover or adventure enthusiast or culturally inclined or an admirer of natural beauty. Come and explore the exotic land of Ladakh!