Ladakh The Last Shangri La
 LADAKH, (India)
Total area : 97,000 sq km | Altitude : 3,505 meter (Leh)

Marked by the boundary of the western Himalayan peaks and the vast Tibetan plateau, Ladakh is one of the most remote regions of India and has been variously described as “The Moonland”, “Little Tibet” and even as “The Last Shangri La”. Whatsoever are the descriptions the rugged and arid landscape of Ladakh has been favorite destination for holiday seekers, trekkers and even an important subject to many photographers. With its many whitewashed monasteries and forts perched on the top of sugarloaf mountains and cultural richness mostly Buddhism, Ladakh is a land like on other.

 Temprature, Climate and Rainfall

Most of Ladakh falls above 2,500 meters. The winters are very cold and the summers are very hot. In peak winters the temperature in Ladakh goes down to -30 Degree Celsius in Leh and Kargil, and -50 Degree Celsius in Dras. Temperatures remain in minus for almost three months from December to the month of February. But on clear sunny days it can become very hot and one can get sun burnt since the temperature can rise up to 30 Degree Celsius. Rainfall is very less due to the geographical location of Ladakh. The rainfall is around 50 mm annually. It is the melting snow which makes the survival of human and animals possible.

 Clothing when travelling in Ladakh

Leh is situated at an elevation where the effects of altitude can be felt. Although, there is huge dissimilarity in temperature during winter and summer it is always wise to carry lighten woolen and cotton cloths for summer and heavy woolen and similar outfits for winter. In addition to this, windcheater would also be hand at times.

 People and Language

The people of Ladakh are predominantly Buddhist and practice Mahayana Buddhism influenced with the old Bon animistic faith and Tantric Hinduism. However, the four main groups of people inhabiting Ladakh are the Mons of Aryan background, Dards many converted to Islam, Baltis believed to have migrated from Central Asia and Tibetan. Ladakhi is the most common language spoken by the people. Likewise, Purik and Tibetan are also spoken by the communities.  Apart from these languages english and hindi are also spoken by many.

 Festivals of Ladakh

The culture of the people is greatly influenced by religion. With the tourism flourishing in Ladakh throughout the year, Ladakhis are involved in monastic festivals.  Monastic festivals are accompanied by the Chams (Mask dances), highly choreographed dances performed by Lamas (monks), to the music of the monastic orchestra. Hemis Festival, Yuru Kabgyat, Losar, Ladakh Harvest Festival, Phyang Tsedup are some of the popular festivals of the region.

 Transport and Communication

The main corridors for accessing Ladakh are the Zoji-La Pass and Kargil route from Srinagar Kashmir Valley, and the high altitude Manali-Leh Highway. The Manali-Leh road is open only from May to October or November, when snow is cleared from the several passes. The Srinagar-Leh road is open from April or May to November or December, and is generally only blocked by snow through the winter at Zoji-La Pass. There is one airport, situated at Leh, from which there are multiple daily flights to Delhi and weekly flights to Srinagar.

 Permits and Entry

No special permit is required to visit most of Ladakh, including Leh and Kargil towns. Permits are required for both domestic and foreign tourists to visit the "Inner Line" areas, i.e. Nubra Valley; Pangong Lake and the Durbuk Block that lies in Tso Moriri and Tsokar Lakes and the area along the Indus River east of Upshi; and Dha-hanu and the area along the Indus River northwest of Khalatse. These permits are easily available in Leh town from the local authorities and do not need to be acquired while applying for an Indian visa.

Permits are not available, and foreigners are not allowed, in the far reaches of each of the above-named areas close to the borders (or Line of Control, etc) with Pakistan and China. For example, foreigners can go to the edge of Panggong Lake, Maan and Merak villages, but not along the edge of it to Phobrang or Chushul villages; they cannot proceed east up the Indus from the Mahe Bridge; and in Nubra, they can only go as far as Panamik to the north and Turtuk to the west.

   ©Noble House | Leh | Ladakh
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