Lunar Landscape of Ladakh

Asia - Editor - 07 December 2006

Lunar Landscape of Ladakh

Do not fret if efforts to put people on the moon seem to need longer than the rest of your life time, because you can always take a holiday in Ladakh instead! The landscape of this dream land in the lap of craggy mountains bears stark resemblance to common impressions of some part of the universe other than earth. It is however, no more than a short flight from the Indian capital city of New Delhi.

Ladakh is so different from its neighbors, and indeed the rest of the country to which it has been tagged, that a visitor may well wonder why it is not a sovereign nation in its own right! However, such secessionist thoughts are not appropriate for the ultra-sensitive bureaucrats and politicians of India, so just relax and enjoy your vacation. Ladakh will take some time for your adjustment, because the altitude change from New Delhi and the pressurized cabin of your aircraft hits your lungs as hard, as the most striking scenes which greet your eye.

The Buddhist and Tibetan influences on Ladakh are unmistakable. The Spartan monasteries, cuisine, handicrafts, street markets, and above all, the features and mannerisms of the people will make you wonder why His Holiness the Dalai Lama has not settled here. We must be grateful as well that the military regime of Beijing has not annexed the territory! Ladakh certainly deserves benign governance, because the ancient ways of the local community are musts for preservation. The Indian Government does allow relatively high autonomy in many cultural and social respects.

The flora and fauna, though not as bounteous as at lower altitudes and latitudes, is still a naturalist's delight. Civilian industry is thankfully absent, though the Indian military does make its presence felt a bit too much for a neutral person on vacation. The local community is as welcoming and warm-hearted as only people in mountainous tracts can be, and the wide smiles are more warming than any wind cheater or woolens!

Should you be tired of beaches, resorts, casinos, and luxury hotels, and if you long for an adventure travel experience with a difference, then fly in to Leh, Ladakh's principal urban center, which is connected with New Delhi through daily flights.


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