Ladakh forms part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.Parts of Ladakh are under the illegal occupation of Pakistanand China, respectively. The border of Ladakh touches those ofAfghanistan, Pakistan, China, the Kashmir Valley (India) andHimachal Pradesh (India). This region is made up of twoadministrative districts -- Leh District, with its headquartersat Leh, and Kargil District, with its headquarters at Kargil --and covers a total area of about 59,000 square kilometers.
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Ladakh - The Land of High Passes
Across the Kashmir Valley and over the famous Zoji La pass(Zozi La pass) lies Ladakh -- the Land of High Passes. It is amagical land, so completely different from the green landscapeof some other parts of the Himalayas. It is nature at itsextreme. A land of freezing winds and burning hot sunlight,Ladakh is a cold desert lying in the rainshadow of the GreatHimalayas and other smaller ranges. Little rain and snowreaches this dry area, where the natural forces have created afantastic landscape.
Images of Ladakh.
Ladakh has an average elevation of 2,700 m to 4,200 m. Thearidity of this region is due to its location in the rainshadow area of the Great Himalayas, elevation and radiation of heatfrom the bare soil. The most striking physical feature ofLadakh, however, is the parallelism of its mountain ranges. Theregion is extremely dry, with rainfall as low as 10 cm eachyear.In Ladakh, large rivers and their tributaries have carved deepgorges far below their steep banks. However, their water is notof much use as the terraced fields lie high above the gorges.
Until the advent of the aircraft, Ladakh could only be reachedover dangerous, high passes. The Zoji La pass connecting Ladakhto Kashmir is at 14,000 ft and is the lowest approach from thewest. The southeast approach has to cross the 18,200 ft highTanglang La. And to the north lie the Saser La and Karakorampasses, gateways to Central Asia from where trading caravansused to come for many centuries.