Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir extends from the Karakorum Mountain rang in the north to the great Himalayas.
The area is now inhabited by Indo-Aryan and Tibetan people.
The Indus Valley is the region’s historic heartland and it is dotted with all the major sites connected with the former kingdom’s dynastic history, starting with Leh, the capital.
Stock, across the river from Leh, features a museum housing artefacts associated with the dynasty that ruled the region for centuries.
The centre of Ladakh has the concentration of major Buddhist monasteries (gampas).
The Indian army, government employees, and tourism, fuel Ladakh’s economy, which Indian economists call the three pillars of Ladakh’s economy.
The region’s high altitude of 3000 – 4000 metres above sea level restricts agriculture to vegetables, a few hardy grains, and a few fruits.
Tourism started in the region in mid 19th century by English officers looking for cool vacation spots. They travelled to Ladakh for fishing, hunting, and trekking, activities still exercised by young backpackers who like the tranquility, and relative absence of hordes of tourists.
Ladakh is the most sparsely inhabited region of India.
It was once a trade area at the crossroads between India and China. When China closed the border in 1960, trade route traffic stopped, forcing the Indian government to promote tourism for some welcome income activity.