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 History

 In the ancient times the present Leh district was a part of Greater Ladakh spread over from Kailash Mansarover to Swaat (Dardistan). The Greater ladakh was neither under the Domain of Tibet or its influence. Not much information is available about the ancient History of Ladakh. However, reference about the place and its neighbourhood in Arab, Chinese and Mongolian histories gives an idea that in the 7th Century A.D fierce wars were fought by Tibet and China in Baltistan area of the Greater Ladakh in which deserts and barren mountains of Ladakh was turned into battle fields for the warring armies.

Leh Palace in Leh

In the 8th century A.D Arabs also jumped into these wars and changed their sides between China and Tibet. Around this period, the ruler of Kashmir, Laltadita conquered Ladakh. In the 8th Century A.D itself, The Arabs conquered Kashghar and established their control over Central asia which embraced Islam in the 9th century A.d and thus a buffer state came into being between Tibet and China, terminating the hostilities between the two warring countries. The greater Ladakh also fell into peices.

The ancient inhabitants of Ladakh were Dards, and Indo-Aryan race from down the Indus. But immigration from Tibetmore than a thousand years ago largly overwhelmedthe culture of the Dards and moped up their racial characters. IN eastern and central Ladakh, todays population seems to be mostly of Tibet origin. Budhism reached Tibet from India via Ladakh. The area was the stronghold of Budhism before Islam reached Ladakh.
A thousand years ago before the contol of Tibets rule, Raja Skitde Nemagon, ruled over Ladakh which was known as Muryul (Red Country), as most of the mountains and the soil in Ladakh wears a red tinge. In the 10th Century A.D Skitday Nemagon, along with a couple of hundred men, invaded Ladakh where there was no central authority. The Land was divided in small principalities, which were at war with each other. Nemagon defeated all of them and established a strong central authority. Those days Shey, was the capital of Ladakh became to be known as Nariskorsoom, a country of three provinces. The present Ladakh was divided into two provinces while the third comprised western Tibet. The area of western Tibet slipped away from the kingdom but was reunited in 16th Century A.D. by the famous Ladakhi ruler Sengge Namgyal. Ladakh was an independent country since the middle of 10th century.

In the post-partition senario, Pakistan and China illegally occupied 78,114 sq. km and 37,555 sq.km of the state, respectively while the remaining part of the state acceeded to India. Pakistan also illegally gifted 5180 sq.kms of this area to China. Ladakh, comprising the areas of present Leh and Kargil districts, became one of the seven districts of the State. In 1979 when the reorganisation of the districts was carries out, the Ladakh district was divided into two full fledged of Leh and Kargil.


 People

The land of Ladakh, apart from being one of the remotest corners of India, is also quite different from the other regions of India. Just like the geographical features of the area, the people of Leh Ladakh are also quite dissimilar from the rest of the country. Not only their culture, but also their physical appearance comes as very distinct. Despite being an integral part of India, they look more like the people of Tibet and Central Asia.

People in Leh Originally, Ladakh people consisted of the Dards, an Indo-Aryan race from the Indus and the Gilgit area. However, because of the large-scale immigration of the Tibet people to the Leh Ladakh area, the Dards got overshadowed. Slowly and gradually, Ladakhi people started acquiring the racial characteristics of the Tibetans only. Thus, in eastern and central Ladakh, you will find people with mostly a Tibetan origin.

As you move left, in and around Kargil, the Tibetan influence will lead to a mixed origin. One community in Ladakh stands out from the majority of the people, that of Arghons. It is a Muslim community of Leh that took birth from the marriages between local women and Kashmiri or Central Asian merchants. The people of this community look more like the Indo-Aryans, but, their cultural traits are similar to that of the other Ladakhis.


 Culture

The Buddhist influence on Ladakh culture started as early as the 7th century. And now, this faith has gained dominance in this entire region. All over Ladakh, you will find ancient Buddhist rock engravings, even in the few areas dominated by Muslims. You will identify Buddhist villages by a distance, as Mani walls customarily mark the approach to these villages. These walls are long chest-high structures with engraved stones opposite them. The stones are inscribed with the mantra in mane paddle hum and by shorten, commemorative cairns, like stone pepper pots.

Culture in Leh One of the major highlights of the culture of Leh Ladakh are the monasteries that you will find in almost every village. They may range from huge complexes consisting of a number of shrines, prayer halls, etc to a tiny hermitage housing a single image. The other dominant faith, that of Islam, finds a presence mainly in the western areas of Ladakh. The early conversion of the sub-rulers of Drass, Kargil and the Suru Valley led to the penetration of the Shia sect in Ladakh. In the areas dominated by the Muslims, you will mainly find mosques, ranging from the small unpretentious buildings to the huge Imambaras.

Rather than rest of the Indians, the Ladakhis look more like Culture in Lehthe residents of Tibet and Central Asia, be it their physique or their facial features. Even though the original population of Ladakh consisted of Dards, an Indo-Aryan race, but large-scale immigration from Tibet changed the cultural heritage of Ladakh. The only people that resemble the mainland Indians are the Muslims, residing mainly in the Leh area. Songs and poems for every occasion, as well as local versions of the Kesar Saga (the Tibetan national epic) also form a part of Ladakh culture.


 Festival

The fairs and festivals of Ladakh present an opportunity to the people to celebrate and enjoy themselves. They interact with each other, form new bonds and renew the old ones. It is interesting to note that most of the fairs and festivals of Ladakh take place during winters, which is the idle time for people. Before you plan your trip to Leh and Ladakh, have a look at major fairs & festivals of the region.

Hemis Festival
Hemis Festival in Leh The biggest and the most popular festival of Ladakh is Hemis. The festival is celebrated in later half of June or the first half of July. Hemis festival is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava. The legend has it that he fought with demons to protect the people of Ladakh. On this day, after every 12 years, a huge thangka, a religious icon painted or embroidered on cloth, is displayed.

Dosmoche Festival
Dosmoche, the festival of the scapegoat, is celebrated in the second half of February to welcome the New Year. A wooden mast is adorned with streamers and religious emblems and storma, ritual figures moulded out of dough, are brought out to be cast away into the desert, or burnt. It is believed that these scapegoats carry away the evil spirits of the old year and the town gets cleansed for the new year.

Losar Festival
Losar festival is celebrated to welcome the Ladakhi/Tibetan New Year.Festival in LehThere is no specific date or location for the festival. It is celebrated for 2 weeks in December or January, depending on the lunar calendar. During Losar, offerings are made to the gods by the Ladakhis. Numerous ancient rituals are carried out as a part of the celebrations like the stage fights between good & evil, dance of the Ibex deer, dramatic battles between the King & his ministers etc.

Sindhu Darshan Festival
Sindhu Darshan is a festival focuses on river Sindhu, also known as the Indus. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir organizes the Sindhu Darshan festival at Leh in the month of May-June. In this festival, people come for a Darshan and Puja (worship) of the River Sindhu (Indus). The Sindhu River is regarded as a symbol of the rich culture, communal harmony and peaceful co-existence in India. It also acts as a tribute to the brave soldiers of India who have bravely fought for their country.

Ladakh Festival
The celebrations of the Ladakh festival last for 15 days, usually from 1st September to 15th September. Music, theatre, polo, archery, mask and folk dances, showcasing of the local arts and crafts, etc are the highlights of this festival. The main objective behind the festival is to revive and promote the rich culture, traditions and folk heritage of Ladakh.

Tak-Tok Festival
The Tak-Tok festival is celebrated in summers at cave Gompa of Tak- Tok. One of the major festivals of Ladakh, it adds to the tourist attraction of the region.


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Discover Ladakh 03 Nights & 04 Days Leh-Hemis-Khardungla pass-Leh
Discover Ladakh

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  • Ending Point:
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Ladakh Exotica 05 Nights & 06 Days Leh–Alchi–Lamayuru–
Pangong–Leh
Ladakh Exotica

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  • Starting Point:
  • Leh

  • Ending Point:
  • Leh

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Discover the Silk route 04 Nights & 05 Days Leh - Khardungla-Nubra Valley-Hemis-Leh
Discover the Silk Route

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  • Leh

  • Ending Point:
  • Leh

  • Duration:
  • 04 Nights / 05 Days


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