Ladakh

Geography

Ladakh, which in  earlier days was called small Tibet, lies in the western Himalayas. It is one of the highest and driest regions of the world, on which people actually live. Ladakh is the largest province in the northern Indian state Jammu & Kashmir. Its country‘s frontiers  are towards Tibet and Pakistan. Ladakhs population is around 160 000 and the capitol city Leh lies on 3500 meters above altitude. It is one of the poorest regions in India.

History

Three important episodes can be made out in the history of Ladakh:

Firstly, it was the nomadic tribe of the tibetean-mongolan race that lived in the Himalaya region. The Initial immigrants where from the folks of the Mon, Darden and Baltis. They lived during several hundreds of years before Christ as hunters and gatherers. As time passed by they settled and the first princedoms originated.�

Then came a time, where Ladakh was an independent kingdom, starting around 920 A.C and lasted for 1000 years.

In 1834 Ladakh was overtaken by the Indian reign. When India turned into a English colony, Ladakh did not interest anybody very much. Never the less in 1842 the Ladakhi aristocracy was empowered. In 1913/1914 a treaty was signed between Great Britian and Tibet to create a bandary between China and India. The Northern Frontier from Ladakh to Nepal was defined. It is known as the McMahon-Line.

Since 1947 India has been independent. But Ladakh lies in a very ungrateful position, with China and Pakistan as its neighbors. China does not accept the Mc Mahon- Line, and so they built in the 50ies a highway on Indian territory. This disregard for the line hat not since been clarified and the Ladakhi-Tibetean border has been closed. Both sides  guard the frontiers very carefully, but for the moment the relationship between India and China is relaxed. On the other side,  India is in fear that militant Muslims might enter the country. Therefore  most of the Armey posted in Ladakh is concentrated on guarding the Pakistani boarder. In the valley of the Indus and in the icy mountain region there are meant to be approximately  30 000 Indian soldiers.

People

 Ladakh has around 160 000 inhabitants, that means that about 1,35 inhabitant per square kilometer. But considering the habitable land area (only 4 %) it is  a deceiving number.

A Ladakhi ethnic group does not actually exist. They are much more a mixture of two races, the Darden / Gilgits (mostly from Pakistan) and the Tibetan.

Culture/Religion

Over 90 % of all the Ladakhis are Buddhists. The Buddhist philosophy was brought to Ladakh 2000 years ago from the former Buddhist India. These roots have run deep. They Ladakhi people are coined by the tibetan-buddist culture. But, especially in and around Leh, their is a minor Moslem group, which is very well excepted and respected.