Open to travelers only since mid of 2nd half of 20th century, Ladakh is a plateau bounded by the massive Karakorum and Himalayas. The stream of the Indus river is the lifeline of the poor in Ladakh.
Ladakh covers an area of 97,000 square kilometers. It has a usual height of 3,500 meters. It is often mentioned to as “Little Tibet” because of its geographical and social resemblances with neighboring Tibet. Originally, Ladakh played a significant role due to its strategic position at the intersections of important trade routes to Central Asia. This is still the open for a glimpse of the past, with China blocking the boundary between Tibet and Central Asia.
In ancient times, Ladakh was known as the best trade route amid Punjab and Central Asia because it was politically more stable. Over the eras, caravans carrying fabrics, spices, raw silk, rugs, dyes, sedatives, etc. had crossed the Ladakh. Regardless of the rocky land and obvious remote areas, traders store goods in pony relay, which takes about two months to transport the goods from Amritsar to the cities of Yarkand and Khotan in Central Asia.
From the mid-10th CE, Ladakh was a sovereign territory, the rulers of which were descendants of the old Tibetan kings. The kingdom acquired its greatest geographical reach and glory in the early 17th century under the well-known king Sengge Namgyal. Its territory stretches from Mount Kailash and the Lake Mansarovar sanctuary to Spiti and western Tibet to Mayum-la.
In the 17th century, the collapse of relations with Tibet led to the Dalai Lama V’s attempts to attack. With the help of the Kashmiris, Ladakh later regained control of Ladakh, but they had to build a mosque in Leh and converted the king of Ladakh to Islam.
Kashmir then captured Ladakh, ended its freedom and became portion of British India in the long run. The former royal estate is now divided into the Aksai Chin, India, Pakistan.
The hidden land of Ladakh in far north India is perhaps the untainted example of old Tibetan society since China conquered Tibet in the 1950s. Over the centuries, Ladakh’s culture has been conserved by geographic remoteness. However, in 1960, the Government of India constructed a road in between the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh to guard the border between China and Pakistan. The influx of tourists has increased since 1974, when outsiders were allowed to initiate visits to this tactically complex area, and there are now around 15,000 per year.
Ethnically, The Ladakh people are the Dards. It is an olden Aryan race. But most of them are Buddhist. So, it is a well-known fact that the Ladakh people are inclined towards Buddhism and the Tibetan routine.
Like any other community of world, the Ladakh people are also trust in succession. Property and responsibility shift from elders to youth. This occurs when young people are ready to take charge.
An important feature of the Ladakh people is that they have a close relation with each other.
The most beautiful thing of Ladakh’s landscape is a Buddhist monastery on a remote hill near the village. This appealingly attractive and architecturally beautiful monastery focuses on the deeply religious beliefs of Buddhists. Monasteries are spaces of devotion, out-of-the-way meditation, and religious teaching for the monks. Many shrines rejoice their annual winter festival and dances with masks on the face as a ritualistic tradition.
The monasteries are rich in heritage, and the oldest religious centre in Ladakh. The Lamayuru is one of the oldest monasteries in the Ladakh region. It surpasses all other monasteries. With its exceptional wood carvings, sculptures and frescoes, Archi monastery offers the best rewards. While many holdings and yearly summer festivals make Hemis monastery the most famous. The Thiksay is praised for its architectural influence. The beauty of the commemoration performances at Likir and Phyang near Leh. The Shey, Spituk and Sankar Monasteries are appropriate for guests with valuable time.
During the crop harvest time, everybody in the area supports in each other’s fields. The Ladakh’s people are also love the earth. They cultivate the fields in an environmentally friendly way. They usually reprocess what we use. The local people use what they want from the cultivated crop and vend the remaining at the market.
The Festivals are celebrated annually in Leh and nearby village. The festival is the hub of a great occasion to discover beautiful crafts, arts, statues and portraits made by Ladakhi artists. Films featured in social line-ups are also a boundless way for anyone wishing to learn more about culture and past of Ladakh.
A spectacular 4-day function usually features a musical band, traditional performances, dance groups, art displays and numerous contests.
The culture of Ladakh is not just about old regional costumes and dance, but it is also consisting of social values, beliefs, and community affection, mind, innocence, honesty, etc. The non-material cultural aspect of Ladakh is must more beautiful than material culture.