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Paramount Himalayas Tours

About Ladakh

Geographical Background Ladakh, the land of many passes, lies in the eastern half of Jammu and Kashmir State in the far north of India. It shares its much disputed north-western border with Pakistan, while to the north lies the Chinese province of Sinkiang, and to the east, Chinese-occupied Tibet. It is sandwiched between two vast mountain systems: the Himalaya to the south and the Karakoram to the north. Between the two ranges are the Ladakh and Zanskar mountains, north and south of the Indus Valley respectively. It is the largest and highest district in India. Ladakh lies at altitudes ranging from about 2,750 meters at Kargil to 7,672 meters at Saser Kangri, the highest peak (25,165 ft), in the Karakoram Range. Ladakh has been famously known as âMagic Landâ, âMoon Landâ and âMysterious Landâ for its spectacular landscape and incredible culture. The mountain peaks soaring up to 5 to 6 km leaves no space to see the horizon here. In the past, Ladakh formed a great lake, resulting in the existence of the largest and most well-known beautiful lakes- Pangong and Tsomoriri at present. Climate There is a well-known saying in Ladakh âanyone whose head is in the sun and feet in the shade in Ladakh, will endure both heat stroke and frostbite at the same timeâ. While this is quite an exaggeration, in summer the sun is incredibly powerful but step into the shade and you may need to put on an extra layer of clothing. Night temperatures are comfortably cool. Altitude plays a huge role in controlling the temperature. One day you can be trekking at 3000m in the throttling heat, the next you can be struggling over a 5000m pass in a blizzard. In general, summer days are a warm 20-25 degree Celsius. Winter is entirely a different story. The temperature has been known to drop as low as -35 degree Celsius. The People and Language The 200,000 strong population of Ladakh represents a blend of at least three distinct groups (two of them are Aryans and third was of Mongol stock). Besides the exquisite culture, one will find Ladakhis extremely friendly and generous. Ladakhi is the local language spoken in Ladakh. It is very common to see people who are strangers, be it Ladakhis (the local people) or tourists, greeting each other âJULLAYâ (Hello!). This friendly behavior is one of the reasons tourists feel at home and are drawn to visit Ladakh again and again. Besides the local language, Ladakhis usually speak Hindi and often English, but neither can be expected in faraway villages without roads. There are many guide books and magazines available in the main market if one is interested in learning Ladakhi. Flora Fauna The flora and fauna of Ladakh are more similar to those of Tibet than to the main Himalaya and are a result of the cold winters, dry climate and short agricultural season. The fauna of Ladakh have much in common with the animals of Central Asia, especially those of the Tibetan Plateau. Ladakhi Food If one visits Ladakh, he/she should definitely try the local cuisine. The most prominent food are- skyu (ladakhi style pasta), thukpa (noodle soup), momo (dumplings) and many more. One could easily get a bite of these dishes at local restaurants.