LADAKH is a mysterious land shrouded in myth and legend. Much of its ancient history is known only through the mythology of its people as its written history is of very recent origin. Known for centuries as the ‘land of passes’ (La-pass;Dakh-land), Ladakh was described by Fa-hian, who travelled across its inhospitable terrain in 399 A.D., as ‘The land where snow never melts and only corn ripens’.
Its landscapes are forbidding by any measure. Snow-swathed mountains rise to several thousand feet above one of the most elevated plateux on earth. A treeless wind-swept country, much of Ladakh can be termed as mountains, Arctic desert, where everything is parched bt the rarefied dryness of the atmosphere. Scattered here and there, a few narrow fertile valleys provide a stark contrast to an otherwise barren, beautiful country of intense sunlight and clear sparkling air.
The limpidity of the atmosphere, in fact gives the night sky a unique clarity, so full and bright with stars that one feels transported to some etheral setting far removed from earth. For endless years, mad had even discovered this remote land, several hardy animals and birds lived together here in an exquisite equilibrium. Circumstances have now changed as they have almost everywhere else on the subcontinent.Today, Ladakh’s flora and fauna are threatened and protection is vital if the ancient ecosystems are to survive the trauma of modern man.Through the fabric of this account runs a strong statement, that the armed forces possible contribution to conservation remains untapped. Harnessing this vital potential force may be the single most important conservation advance India could make in the battle to save what remains of its natural wealth.
Major Tourist Destinations LADAKH is situated between 30 degree to 36 degree east latitude and 76 degree to 79 degree north longitude. The region of Ladakh spread over to an area of 96,701 Sq. Kms and comprising a population of 2 Lakhs habitants and consists of two districts, Leh and Kargil. The region of Ladakh normally remains land locked between November to June every year as Srinagar-Ladakh and Ladakh- Monali highways,which connect Ladakh with the other parts of the country, remain closed during this period because of snow and rigorous winter.Ladakh is also the land of many lakes and springs. Among the springs, the famous are the sulphar springs of Panamic (Nobra), Chumathang and Puga of Changthang, which are famous for early curing of joints/rheumatic diseases. Many mineral springs are also found in some remote parts of Ladakh. People of region use the spring water as medicine to prevent and cure themselves from many diseases. The important lakes which fall within the jurisdiction of Ladakh are Pangong Lake (150 Kms. long, 4 Kms. wide situated at a height of 14,000 ft.).
Tsomoriri Lake, (Tsokar means salty lake). Since ancient times till the end of 1959 salt was being extricated from this particular salty lake for human consumption. Ladakh has two districts namely Leh and Kargil which stand in contrast with each other in terms of geography and climate. The great Himalaya Mountain, lying to the south, forms a barrier to monsoon in this area. Due to this region Ladakh is an isolated cold desert region. Altitude in Ladakh varies from place to place and is the main factor affecting local climate. The winter temp. Touches as low as minus 30 degree (Leh & Kargil) and minus 60 degree in (Drass) subzero temp. Prevails from December to February throughout Ladakh, whereas, zero degree temp. is experienced during rest of winter months. This result in freezing of all conceivable water resources. During summer the maximum temps. Increases from 20 degree C to 38 degree C in July and August. The relative humidity is low and ranges from 31 to 64 percent.
Wind velocity in the afternoon and nights is of high order resulting in heavy soil errosion with dust storm and snow blizzards which make life very difficult. Due to longer winters, the agriculture season is short and spread over from April to September depending upon the climate. The main river of Ladakh is Indus, which flows in a north-west direction between Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. It is joined by several major rivers like Zanskar, Suru and Shayok before it reaches Pakistan.