Ladakh (“land of high passes”) is a region in northern India. It is located between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Himalayas to the south. Ladakh is well-known for its remote mountain scenery. It is inhabited by a mix of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan people. Their language is an archaic dialect of the Tibetan language. It is sometimes called “Little Tibet”, because it has been strongly influenced by Tibetan culture. Ladakh is one of the least populated regions in the area.
Historically, the region of Ladakh included neighbouring Baltistan, the Indus and Zanskar Valleys, Lahaul and Spiti, Aksai Chin and the Nubra Valley. The modern region borders Tibet to the east, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, and Kashmir, Jammu and Baltistan to the west.
In the past, Ladakh was important for trade. It was where several important trade routes met. However, China closed the border with Tibet in the 1960s, and since then, international trade has suffered. Tourism is an exception, and it has been very important for Ladakh’s economy since about 1974. Because the wider region is a part of the Kashmir conflict, the Indian military has a strong presence in Ladakh.
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