A mystical land with rugged terrains, snow capped peaks, chanting monks, chiming monastery bells and colourful costumes. In Tibet, Ladakh is commonly called La- Tag and Maryul "Red Land". It was called Kho-Chan-Pa "Snow land" by the old Chinese traveler Fa-Hien. Ladakh has been the dream of adventure lovers and those in search af peace and solitude. For this reason, travelers call it 'Little Tibet'. Situated between 30 degree to 36 degree east latitude and 76 degree to 79 degree north longitude, with altitudes ranging from 2750 m at Kargil to 7672 m at Sasar Kangri in the Karakoram, Ladakh is spread over an area of 96,701 Sq.Kms bounded by the great Himalayas and Karokoram Range. Ladakh remains closed between November and June every year as Srinagar-Ladakh and Ladakh-Manali highways receive heavy snowfall.
Earlier, Ladakh was one of the provinces of Tibetan kingdom, governed by an independent prince and its spiritual head was the Kum Lama or chief pontiff of Lhasa, where Emperor Asoka about 250 BC established Buddhism. Earliest authentic historical observations of Ladakh reach as far back as the beginning of Christian era in AD 399-400 when Fa-Hian traveled to Ladakh. In 10th century, the empire of Great Tibet broke up into several districts headed by chiefs, which were formed as independent kingdoms. Purang was occupied by Tashi-Degon and Ladakh by Palgyi-Gon. Thus Ladakh was an independent kingdom ruled by a Gyalpo (King). From AD 1080 till AD 1110 was the reign of Lhachon Utpalo, during which the Alchi monastery was built. King Trashigon of Gu-ge ruled between AD 1200 and 1230. Lotroichagden ruled Ladakh from AD 1440 till 1470. During this period, rulers of Kashmir sent their army many times to invade the region. This continued during the reign of Bhagen Namgyal AD 1470- 1500. This was followed by Mongolian raids from the north, Tashi Namgyal gained victory over Mongolians in AD 1517. In AD 1532,Abu Sayed Mirza Khan of Kashghar gained power with support of Emperor Sikander of Kashmir.
From AD 1555 to AD 1580, Chevang Namgyal, a descendent of the first king of Tibet, Khri-Tsampa, reconsolidated power in Ladakh. He was succeeded by his brother Jamyang Namgyal AD 1595. While marching to Puril district, King Jamyang's troops dispersed due to violent storm, they were attacked by rebels and sent to Skardo as prisoners along with the king. Ali Mir, a Muslim ruler of Skardu took advantage, marched upon Ladakh with large forces and took possession of the whole land in 17th century. During this period, many historical monuments and records were destroyed. Ali Mir marched back to Skardu completing arrangements for forming his government of Ladakh. On reaching back he released Jamyang from the prison and got one of his daughters married to him. People asked Jamyang to restore temple & images of Buddha and secure new copies of sacred books from Lhasa. Singge Namgyal succeeded Jamyang in AD 1610 and heroically conquered Purang, Guge, Zanskar, Spiti, Puril, Mayal, Sidee. During his reign, he ordered the building of Hemis, Chemre, Temisgan, and other monastaries.
Succeeded by his son Deldan Namgyal in AD 1670, who emulated his father and installed huge statues of Buddha, plated with copper and gold, in Shey. During his reign, Tartars from Baltistan invaded Ladakh, Deldan escaped to Kashmir and sought military aid from Ibrahim Khan, governor of Emperor Aurangzeb. Mughal forces pushed out Tat-tars from Ladakh. Deldan embraced Islam and built mosque in Leh.
Islam got a foothold during Deldan's rule though he himself reverted to Buddhism. His son Delek Namgyal ruled Ladakh from AD 1705 to 1740, conquered Spiti, Murad and other areas. Mir of Balti invaded Ladakh and conqured in AD 1750. From this date to AD 834, Ladakh faced a repetition of wars.
Dogra Maharaja Gulab Singh after conquering Kishtawar sent troops leadership of the great General Zorawar Singh to Ladakh through Suru Valleyon 16 August 1834. Opposed by the Balti leaders many times, Dogra troops under the command of Basti Ram finaliy with the usage of artilleries captured the fort. Gyalpo in this stalemate collected farces from other chiefs and pushed out the General. Zarawar Singh managed to stay in the areas nearby for few month and finally conquered Ladakh and then later on invaded Baltistan too.
Having consolidated huge force, Zorawar Singh invaded Yarkand far its Pashmina wool trade and rich monastries.Entire area came under Ladakhis and Dogras. The government of Lhasa took this invasion seriously and at the same time Chinese forces on 7th November 1841 moved towards Zorawar. Singh and occupied Leh and other areas. Shot during the battle after fighting fearlessly, General Zorawar Singh breathed his last.
Maharaja Gulab Singh overcame generals death after a long time and Sent his forces. Chinese rule was just 6 weeks old when Dogra forces captured Ladakh and Baltistan once again. In 1846, Basti Ram was in control of the region. Dogras after systematic wars annexed Ladakh Baltistan with their kingdom of Jammu a Kashmir and ruled for more than 1000 years.
The history of Ladakh and Baltistan up to 1947 remained the same till Maharaja Hari Singh chose join with Indian Dominion. The partition af India resulted in the invasion of some parts af Ladakh and Baltistan by China. For their original lineage from Dards – an lndo-Aryan race fram Indus, people Ladakh have features and attire similar that of Tibetans and Central Asian peopler a Known for their soft attitude, Ladakhis are very gentle in nature,just opposite to their geographical conditions.
just apposite Ladakh is divided into two districts,Leh and Kargil.
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