Snowbird Himalaya Adventures

About Ladakh

Ladakh ("land of high passes") is a region in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Kunlun mountain range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent.

It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes



Ladakh is often referred as "Little Tibet" due to its geographical proximity and strong links to Tibetan culture.

Capital: Leh

Area: 98 000 square km

Altitude: altitude ranges from 2750m at Kargil to 7672m at Saser Kangri in the Karakoram

Languages: Ladakhi, Zanskari, Tibetan, English and Hindi
The predominant language is Ladakhi, it is closely related to Tibetan though is not mutually intelligible with it. A Ladakhi phrasebook "Getting Started in Ladakhi" by Melong publication is available in bookstores.

Population: 250 000 out of which 23 000 live in Leh

Religion: Buddhist (77.3%), Muslim (13.8%), Hindu (8.6%)

Climate: Ladakh is a rain shadow region of the Himalayas, the annual average rainfall in Leh is 100 mm. In summer, temperature reaches 25°C and it drops down to -15°C in winter.
The high passes are closed during winter due to heavy snowfall.

Flora and fauna

Vegetation is extremely sparse in Ladakh except along streambeds and wetlands, on high slopes, and in irrigated places The fauna of Ladakh has much in common with that of Central Asia in general and that of the Tibetan Plateau in particular. Exceptions to this are the birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds - a total of 225 species have been recorded. Many species of finches, robins, redstarts (like the black redstart), and the hoopoe are common in summer.


Archery is a traditional sport in Ladakh, and many villages hold archery festivals, which are as much about traditional dancing, drinking and gambling as about the sport. Polo, popular among the Baltiâs with some support from financial heavyweights, is an annual affair in Drass region of District Kargil.The most popular sport in Ladakh is ice hockey, which is played only on natural ice generally mid-December through mid-February. Cricket is also famouse in Ladakh.


The main religion in Ladakh is Buddhism. Buddhism culture is divided into the four main sects in the Ladakh. The oldest sect is Nyingmapa (red hat sect) followed by the Sakyapa sect. But the latest sect in the religion is Gelugpa, yellow hat sect. All the sects are well known by everyone in the Ladakh but the most known two sects are of Kagyupa (red hat sect) and Gelugpa (yellow hat sect).

The other religions which are known in Ladakh are Christianity and Islam. Leh, in Ladakh inhabit some Muslim population, whereas Kargil area, inhabit 85% of population. The Muslims in Leh are from the Sunni religion that is migrated from the Kashmir and central Asia. Even the Christians in Leh are also in small amount. These people are from the higher society which converts themselves into the Christianity. There are two churches for them, one in Leh and the other one in Leh.

Culture of Ladakh

The culture of Ladakh is rich with the Buddhism culture. The main culture of Ladakh is Buddhism with other bit part of religion of Hindu, Muslims and Christians. The land has many rocks engraving of Buddhist speaking even in areas like Drass and lower Suru valley. Most of the Muslim residents will be found at the Padum, Nubra valley and nearby places of Leh. The monasteries in Leh Ladakh display the culture of Buddhism.

Even the women in Ladakh are fully affected by the religion of the place. Here, women of Buddhist and Muslim culture, works not only at home but also works outside the home. Some families also run their business in which women take the full participation. They are totally free to interact with the men outside their home.

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