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Know Your State & UTs – Ladakh

Know Your State & UTs - Ladakh

Key Facts

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.

Geographical Extent

  • It extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range in the north to the Great Himalayas in the south.

Territorial Dispute

  • 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.

Geographical Features

  • 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.

Notable Sites

  • 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.
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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.

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