Ladakh is one of the hig­hest and driest inh­a­bi­ted are­as of the earth. It is the lar­gest pro­vin­ce in the nort­hern­most Indi­an sta­te Jam­mu & Kash­mir and bor­ders on Tibet and Paki­stan. The popu­la­ted val­leys of Ladakh lie at an average alti­tu­de of 3,500 m, the capi­tal Leh (15,000 inh­a­bi­tants) is loca­ted in a side val­ley of the Indus. The area is very spar­se­ly popu­la­ted; only 230,000 peop­le live on an area of almost 100,000 km2.


Cultu­re and religion
More than 90% of the peop­le living in cen­tral Ladakh are Bud­dhists. This reli­gi­on was alre­ady brought to the Hima­la­yas by India more than 2,000 years ago and has sin­ce beco­me deeply roo­ted. Ladakh is cha­rac­te­ri­sed by its Tibe­tan-Bud­dhist cul­tu­re but also con­ta­ins a Mos­lem minority.

The Thik­se Cloister

The ori­gi­nal inh­a­bi­tants of Ladakh were pre­s­um­a­b­ly nomad tri­bes from the Tibe­tan high­lands and Bud­dhist fugi­ti­ves from nort­hern India. Later, the­se two groups were united.

The first inde­pen­dent king­dom was foun­ded In the 9th cen­tu­ry. At this point in time, Bud­dhism had also found its way from India over the Himalayas.

In the 15th cen­tu­ry, Ladakh lived through dark ages and was the sce­ne of reli­gious revo­lu­ti­on. During this time it was occu­pied by various for­eign nati­ons (13th to 16th century).

Around 1470, the king in Ladakh was depri­ved of his power and the inde­pen­dence of the Bud­dhist land was restored.

From 1550 on, Ladakh reco­ve­r­ed rapidly and bloo­med once more; This only ended when it was con­que­red at the begin­ning of the 18th cen­tu­ry by the Dogra-Rajas, a hin­du­is­tic dynasty.

1947, India beca­me inde­pen­dent once more.

In 1948, after the first Indi­an-Paki­sta­ni war in the regi­on, Ladakh beca­me part of the inde­pen­dent Sta­te of India. Even today, neit­her the inter­na­tio­nal bounda­ry nor the so-cal­led armisti­ce line has been reco­gni­zed and, the­re­fo­re, this fact has beco­me a con­ti­nuous source of ten­si­on bet­ween Delhi and Islamabad.