AGRA AND THE
TAJ MAHAL HIGHLIGHTS:
LITTLE TIBET HIGHLIGHTS:
Situated on the western end of the Tibetan plateau, Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty, awe-inspiring monasteries and culture. Historically the region has strong connections with Tibet, and it is sometimes called “Little Tibet” due to the strong influence of Tibetan culture. A majority of Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhist and a small minority are Muslim.
Ladakh is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south. It also lies transversely from two others, the Ladakh and the Zangskar ranges.
From the middle of the 10th Century, Ladakh was an independent kingdom, its dynasties descending from the Kings of Old Tibet. Its political fortunes ebbed and flowed over the centuries, and the kingdom, was at its greatest in the early 17th century under the famous king Sengge Namgyal, whose rule extended across Spiti and Western Tibet up to the Mayumla Beyond the sacred sites of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar. It recognized as the best trade route between the Punjab and Central Asia, for centuries caravans carrying textiles and spices, raw silk and carpets, dyestuffs and narcotics traversed it.
Heedless of the land’s rugged terrain and apparent remoteness, merchants entrusted their goods to relays of pony transporters who took about two months to carry them from Amritsar to the Central Asian towns of Yarkand and Khotan. On this long route, Leh was the halfway house, its bazaars thronged with merchants from far countries. Today travelers can still see and experience the exotic influences on this remote region of northern India.