Located in the shadow of the Himalayas, Ladakh is intensely mountainous, divided by rock and ice from Tibet, Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. At over 3000m above sea level, human settlement is confined to narrow strips along glacial rivers and the sky is deep dark blue because of the altitude.
From November to May, the area is almost completely cut off from the outside world by the elements and, even in summer, access involves crossing some of the highest mountain passes in the world.
Its relative isolation has preserved an ancient lifestyle, dictated by the seasons. Backing onto ruined palaces, the modern town melts into a crumbling old city of timber and mud bricks.
The surrounding landscape is intimidatingly awesome. From Leh, a road runs North over the highest motor able pass in the world, beyond which is the Nubra Valley. While the valley appears parched and dry, farms along its two rivers produce apples, apricots and barley and the valley floor is dotted with ancient Buddhist gompas and palaces.
Ladakh’s remote location has kept it peaceful and protected from outside interference for centuries. Its unforgiving geography makes this rugged region one of the most pristine territories on earth.
Tulips during Spring in the valley| Driving over Khardung La, the highest pass for vehicular passage in the world | Woolen weaving
− Pangong Tso lake freezes completely during winter, despite being saline water
− Ladakh is home to one of the last undisturbed Tantric Buddhist populations on earth