Ladakh General Information

Ladakh General Information

Area: 97,000 sq kms.

Population: Approx. 2.40 lakh in the 2 districts of Leh & Kargil.

Languages: Ladakhi including Balti / Purig, Shina or Dardic, Urdu / Hindi.

Ethnic composition: Mongoloid/Tibetan, Dardic and assorted Indo-Aryan elements.

Altitude: Leh 3505 m, Kargil 2750 m

Temperature:

Summer: Maximum 25oC , Minimum 8oC

Winter: Maximum (-) 5oC , Minimum (-) 20oC

Rain-fall: 15cm, 6" (annual average)

Clothing: Cotton & light woollens in summer and heavy woollens including down-filled wind proof upper garments in winter.

 

Geographical Introduction:

Ladakh is a land abounding in awesome physical features, set in an enormous and spectacular environment. Bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Karakoram in the north and the Great Himalaya in the south, it is traversed by two other parallel chains, the Ladakh Range and the Zanskar Range.

In geological terms, this is a young land, formed a few million years ago. Its basic contours, uplifted by tectonic movements, have been modified over the millennia by the process of erosion due to wind and water, sculpted into the form that we see today.

Today a high-altitude desert, sheltered from the rain-bearing clouds of the Indian monsoon by the barrier of the Great Himalaya, Ladakh was once covered by an extensive lake system, the vestiges of which still exist on its south-east plateaux of Rupshu and Chushul, in the drainage basins or lakes of Tso-moriri, Tso-kar and Pangong-tso. But the main source of water is winter snowfall.

Dras, Zanskar and the Suru Valley on the Himalaya's northern flanks receive heavy snow in winter, this feeds the glaciers from which melt water, carried down by streams, irrigates the fields in summer. For the rest of the region, the snow on the peaks is virtually the only source of water. As the crops grow, the villagers pray not for rain, but for sun to melt the glaciers and liberate their water.

Ladakh lies at altitudes ranging from about 9,000 ft (2,750 m) at Kargil to 25,170 ft (7,672m) at Saser Kangri, in the Karakoram Range. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 27C in the shade, while in winter they may at times plummet to minus 20C even in Leh. Surprisingly though, the thin air makes the heat of the sun even more intense than at lower altitudes. It is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time!

Weather Condition:

Most of Ladakh falls above 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) and the capital Leh is at 3,500 meters (11,500 feet). The summers are hot and the winters cold, with temperatures sometimes reach about 30oC in summer and dropping as low as -25oC in winter. So, you need to bring appropriate clothing for a range of conditions, because with global climate change, one can experience the occasional cool day even in summer. Please free to contact us if you need advice on what to bring. And remember, you can also buy extra clothing in Leh if needed.