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- Visiting Season: Summer, Spring
Ladakh ("land of high passes") is a region in Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Kunlun mountain rangeto the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryanand Tibetan descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. Ladakh is a region in Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Kuen Lun mountain range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys, the entire upper Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, much of Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge in the east, Aksai Chin in the northeast (extending to the Kun Lun Mountains), and the Nubra Valley to the north over Khardong La in the Ladakh Range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti regions to the south, the Vale of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture.
Ladakh is a high altitude cold desert with a low level of atmospheric oxygen. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that visitors reaching Leh from the plains by air, give themselves sufficient time for acclimatization before engaging in any physical activity. The rarefied atmosphere may cause high altitude ailments like Acute Mountain Sickness, necessitating instant evacuation of visitors who are unable to get acclimatized. Anyone travelling to altitudes above 10,000 ft (2,700 m) is liable to suffer from acute mountain sickness (AMS) unless properly acclimatized. The most common symptoms of acute mountain sickness are headache, disturbed sleep and loss of appetite, nausea, coughing, irregular breathing, breathlessness, lassitude and lack of concentration. If you are reaching Leh by air, it is important to take complete rest for the first 24 hours after arrival. Any kind of physical exertion is to be avoided. Smoking and drinking should also be avoided till you are fully acclimatized. The symptoms of acute mountain sickness generally develop during the first 36 hours, and not immediately upon arrival. Your body should get used to the lower oxygen level of Ladakh after 2 or 3 days if you have taken complete rest for the first 24 hours and as much rest as possible during the next 12 hours.
Sightseeing of the historic monuments and major Buddhist gompas (monasteries) are the main attractions of Ladakh. The Indus Valley, particularly from Upshi down to Khalatse, which is the region's historic heartland, is dotted with all the major sites connected. The important sites of Leh include: Stock Palace, Shey Palace- Monastery. Other famous monasteries include: Thiksey, Hemis, Chemday, Takthok, Spituk, Phyang, Likhir, Alchi, Rizong, Lamayuru. Leh Palace known as “Lechen Palkhar" was build by Dharmaraja Singey Namgyal in 1600 AD. It has 9 storeys and history says that its completion took three years. In the Leh valley, there is Samkar Monastery which was founded by Skyabrje Bakula Rinpoche. In the center of Leh City is the new monastery called “Chowkhang”. The Ladakh Buddhist Association found it in 1957 AD. Inside there is a sacred image of the Buddha Shakya Muni that was brought from Tibet.