culture of Ladakh

Life in Ladakh (Culture, Traditions, and Lifestyles)

1 month ago

We all know Ladakh as a land of adventure, mountain biking, sleds, green fields, and beautiful scenarios. But the place has much more to see and learn from and that are the people, the locals we called them. We as tourists look at Ladakh as a place of enjoyment and mesmerizing beauty but often overlook how hard life people live in Ladakh.

Ladakh is predominantly a Buddhist region. A lot of their tradition is derived from the Buddhist religion. Their roots can be traced back to the Central Asian regions like China, Mongolia, and Tibet. Although we might look at Ladakh as a disputed region, life in Ladakh except for some part is quite peaceful.

Let us look at what exactly is it like to live in Ladakh. But first, let us look at its history.

History of Ladakh

Rock carvings found at numerous places of Ladakh show that the zone was inhabited since the Neolithic Age. The earliest occupants comprised of an Indo-Aryan populace. During the first century, Ladakh was a part of the Kushana empire. Buddhism started spreading into western Ladakh in the second century.

In the eighth century, Ladakh was merged into the Tibetan Empire. Ladakh changed hands between the realms of China and Tibet. After the separation of the Tibetan realm, separate Ladakhi tradition was built up.

Confronted with the Islamic success of South Asia in the thirteenth century, Ladakh decided to look for and acknowledge direction in strict issues from Tibet. Finally, Dogra Kings built up their rule over Ladakh. The European influence began increasing in Ladakh during the 1850s and expanded. Soon, Ladakh Became the Princely State of the Dogra.

During the partition of India in 1947, the Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India. Pakistan raiders had reached Ladakh however were repelled. In 1949, China shut the old shipping routes and built roads interfacing Xinjiang and Tibet through their region in 1955. China likewise built the Karakoram highway together with Pakistan. India also built the Srinagar-Leh Highway during this period cutting the travel time among Srinagar and Leh. To read more about the history of Ladakh read links below :

https://leh.nic.in/about-district/history/#:~:text=The%20ancient%20inhabitants%20of%20Ladakh,leaving%20its%20imprint%20in%20Ladakh.

Life in Ladakh

The market space of Leh city is wide permitting a free passage of sightseers, local people, and shops set surrounding it; these little roads give genuine knowledge into the customary houses and how the individuals live. Build using mud and stones they seem like squares when seen from a good distance. The spaces between various homes are limited strips, permitting individuals to interact across galleries.

Modern looking homes are replacing the customary ones. Be that as it may, LOTI (Ladakh Old Town Initiative) has worked constantly in this area to urge local people to clutch and modify traditional houses. Most local people live in Leh city for work during the vacation season or for government occupations, while they have their homes in towns close and far. Women from the towns nearby along with their vegetables and other sellable products come to the Leh market to earn their bread butter.

Work life in Ladakh

A Ladakhi way of life makes you ‘Atmanirbhar’ or independent and free in the genuine sense. Most local people from Ladakh have more than 2 – 3 sources of income. During the vacation season, they make the majority of their salary by helping out visits, being guides, and cab drivers. They do their cultivation one next to the other. Regardless of whether they have little vegetation or an enormous field outside the city of Leh, all local people grow their own food. Grain, wheat, radish, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, potato, tomatoes, and so forth are a portion of the yields that are developed. Towns near-by witness a fantastic yield of apricots, pecans, and grapes among natural products that flourish in the climate here. You can find yaks or a whole group of Pashmina goats in the towns. Meat, milk, margarine, and woolens can be sourced locally inside each home.

Education in Ladakh

There appears to be an adequate number of government schools in the area alongside some privately-funded schools. They have just the most fundamental things expected to set up a school; wooden work areas, rugs, and a wooden roof to ward off the chill, with a board painted onto.

Culture of Ladakh

The Culture of Leh Laddakh is very much alike the Tibetan culture. In Ladakh, famous foods generally belong to Tibet like thukpa and tsampo. The design of Ladakh is impacted by the Tibetan style and has references to the presence of the winged serpent. The state religion is Buddhism. The vast majority of the chants are in Sanskrit or Tibetan language.

Ladakhi Dress

Ladakh is known to have been influenced by the Buddhist religion that also reflects in their clothing. Their traditional attire has got Perak a headgear usually worn by women on occasions, studded with precious stones, a Kuntop or a woolen robe, a Bok a shawl used by women to carry children. It also has a Goncha a traditional robe worn by men and Skerag waistband.

Traditional dress of Ladakh
Tradition of Ladakh: Ladakhi Dress

Art and Craft of Ladakh

The art and craft (Handicraft) of Ladakh originate mostly from middle-east Asia. Apart from some regions near Zanskar Valley, almost all the art is imported in Ladakh by other countries. Main artifacts include Woven cloth-like Pashmina, Stick and wood baskets, wood carving, and various paintings.

Handicrafts of Ladakh
Culture of Ladakh : Handicrafts of Ladakh

Monasteries of Ladakh

Monastery or Gompa is the religious praying place in Ladakh. Monasteries in Ladakh are inspired by the Tibetian culture. Along with being the praying place for the Ladakhi people it also serves as the home to many festivals that take place in Ladakh. Cham dance, the masked dance of Lamas, and other such rituals take place in the Monasteries.

Below is the list of all the Monasteries in Ladakh :

  1. Alchi Monastery
  2. Bardan Monastery
  3. Chemday Monastery
  4. Hemis Monastery
  5. Karsha Monastery
  6. Lamayuru Monastery
  7. Likir Monastery
  8. Lingshed Monastery
  9. Matho Monastery
  10. Phyang Monastery
  11. Rizong Monastery
  12. Shey Monastery
  13. Spituk Monastery
  14. Stakna Monastery
  15. Stok Monastery
  16. Stongday Monastery
  17. Thakthok Monastery
  18. Thiksey Monastery
  19. Tresthang Monastery
  20. Wanla Monastery
  21. Zongkyul Monastery

Thus apart from visiting the tourist places in Ladakh, you should communicate with locals and try to live them in their houses to know about their culture and history.

Also Read : Ultimate Ladakh Trip Guide

Dhanshree Gadhikar

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