A high altitude desert in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is bound by the Karakoram in the north and the great Himalayas in the south. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in India with a blend of many different races, predominantly the Tibetans, Mons and the Dards. Renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture, Ladakh is sometimes called “Little Tibet” as it has been strongly influenced by the Tibetan culture.
Known for its wide variety of fauna, the region has a great diversity of birds like Black Redstart, Hoopoe, Brown Headed Gull, Brahminy Duck, etc. The Lammergeier and the Golden Eagle are commonly found. The endangered Ibex, found in high craggy terrain, numbers several thousand in Ladakh. The other wild animals found in Ladakh are Bharal, Shapu a rare variety of goat, Argali, Chiru or Tibetan Antelope and Snow Leopards.
Ladakh is a land of endless discoveries. There are many magnificent sites in and around Leh, the capital city of Ladakh. Important amoung them are the 17th century, nine storey Leh Palace built by Singey Namgyal, 1825 built Stok Palace which houses a museum which has a unique display of rare royal ornaments, Thangkas and traditional clothing and jewellery and Shey Palace where 12mts. Shakyamuni Buddha statue made of gold plated copper can be seen.
You can also visit Namgyal Tsemo Gompa which contains a fine three storey high Buddha image and ancient manuscripts and fresco, 11th century Alchi Gompa in village Alchi, Thiksey Gompa (it houses the two storey Maitreya Buddha), 17th century Hemis Gompa, 10th century Lamayuru Gompa (the oldest Gompa in Ladakh), Pangong Tso (One of the highest brackish lake in the world), Tsomoriri (28 km long and 8 km wide lake) and the highest motorable road in the world (18,380 ft.) Khardong La (Pass).