Location and Borders
- This region is administered by India as a union territory.
- It shares its borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region to the east, Himachal Pradesh to the south, Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to the west, and Xinjiang to the far north across the Karakoram Pass.
- It extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range in the north to the Great Himalayas in the south.
- The eastern part, known as Aksai Chin, is claimed by India but has been under Chinese control since 1962.
Districts and Rivers
- The Leh district contains the Indus, Shyok, and Nubra river valleys.
- The Kargil district contains the Suru, Dras, and Zanskar river valleys.
People and Culture
- The predominant mother-tongue in Leh district is Bauti, a Tibetan language.
- The Purkhi is the predominant mother-tongue of Kargil district.
- It encompasses mountain slopes that support the pastoral Changpa community.
- The Ladakh Range has peaks of varying altitudes, with the highest being the Nun-Kun twin summits.
- The Pangong range runs parallel to the Ladakh Range along the southern shore of Pangong Lake.
- Hemis Monastery is a leading center of the Drukpa tradition of Buddhism and hosts an annual masked dance festival, as do other major Ladakhi monasteries.
- Tso Moriri, also known as Lake Moriri, is a protected area in the Changthang Plateau and is recognized as a Ramsar site.
- Tso Kar, a fluctuating salt lake in the Rupshu Plateau, is also recognized as India’s 42nd Ramsar site.
Rich Flora and Fauna:
Blue Sheep (Bharal): Abundant mountain ungulate.
Asiatic Ibex: An elegant mountain goat found in western Ladakh.
Ladakhi Urial: Another unique mountain sheep species.
Tibetan Argali (Nyan): The largest wild sheep globally.
Tibetan Antelope (Chiru): Endangered species traditionally hunted for its shahtoosh wool.
Tibetan Gazelle: Inhabits the rangelands in eastern Ladakh, bordering Tibet.
Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass): Common in the grasslands of Changthang.
Hemis High Altitude National Park: A habitat for various predators.
Eurasian Lynx: A rare cat species preying on smaller herbivores in Ladakh.
Tibetan Wolf: Often preys on the livestock of Ladakhis and is persecuted.
Brown Bears: Found in the Suru Valley.
Tibetan Sand Fox: Discovered in this region.
Natural Vegetation: Along watercourses, vegetation includes seabuckthorn, wild roses, tamarisk, caraway, stinging nettles, mint, and various grasses.