About Ladakh
LADAKH, which means 'Land of High passes', is at the extreme northern end of India, in an area known as the Trans Himalayan region. Dominated by the Zanskar, Ladakh and Stok ranges, this marks the boundary between the Western Himalaya and the vast Tibetan plateau.

The Karakorum Range, which boasts the second highest mountain in the world (K2), forms the Northern border. The majestic snow capped Himalayas, including Nun (23,400ft/7125m) and Kun (23,250ft/7087m) are the highest peaks in the Kashmir Himalayas, form the Southern border. The Tibetan plateau stretches out to the East with the Kashmir valley lying on the Western border.

Even the 'low' lands in the valleys of the region are all at the around 10,000ft/3050m atltitude.

High altitude lakes such as Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso are over 14,000ft/4270m and are accessible by road. Driving to this region entails crossing passes that are above 16,000ft/4880m- literally a 'top of the world' feeling. Crossing the Nubra valley from the capital Leh (11,000ft/3350m), takes one across the Khardung La which, at 18,380ft/5600m, was till recently the highest motor able pass in the World.

What sets the region apart is that there is very little rainfall, under 100mm annually, which is close to what the Sahara desert receives. Infact Ladakh is classified as a 'mountain desert'. When not blanketed in snow, this land is a color palette of browns, beiges and golden yellows with minerals content lending accents of jade and pinkish maroon.

The mountains are rocky, barren granite of many hues, with interesting fortress-like formations and shapes that wind erosion creates. There are no trees for miles on end, and the serpentine lush green following the valley contours comes as a visual shock. Small habitations tend to lie along river valleys where crops are grown with the help of carefully laid irrigation channels.

Surrounded by perennial snow capped peaks, with topography akin to a moonscape, Ladakh makes for one of the most dramatic of setting in the world and has been dubbed by many as 'The Last Shangri-la'.

The river Shyok, Stok, Suru and Zanskar all originate from various glaciers.

The first inhabitants of Ladakh were the nomadic Tibetan Khampas, for whom the entire Tibetan plateau was a grazing ground for their yaks and other animals. Rock carvings testify to the fact that the region was visited for thousands of years before the establishment of regular settlements.


Double Humped Camp - Hunder

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