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Trekking Itineraries

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 Places of Interest Ladakh
{
Drass Kargil Suru Valley Sankoo Rangdum Zanskar  Padum Phugthal 
Sani  Stongdey Zangla  Zongkhul }
Treks of Ladakh
{
Shang La-Matho La-Stok Kangri Padum to Martselang  Padum-Lamayuru 
Darcha-Padum }
Adventure in Ladakh
{
Trekking in Ladakh  Jeep Safari  Motorbike Safari 
Mountain Biking Mountaineering  River Rafting
Discover Ladakh 
{
Pilgrimage Travel Wildlife Travel  Adventure Travel  Important Travel  Tips  Fairs & Festivals 
Arts & Crafts  Tourist Information   Modern Routes  New Areas   Culture Travel}
 

<< Indian Himalayas << Travel in Ladakh >> << Discover Ladakh >> << Culture Travel Ladakh >>

Culture Travel Ladakh -

Culture on the crossroads in Ladakh:

The faces and physique of the Ladakhis, and the clothes they wear, are more akin to those of Tibet and Central Asia than of India. The original population may have been Dards, an Indo-Aryan race from down the Indus. But immigration from Tibet, perhaps a millennium or so ago, largely overwhelmed the culture of the Dards and obliterated their racial characteristics. In eastern and central Ladakh, today's population seems to be mostly of Tibetan origin. Further west, in and around Kargil, there is much in the people's appearance that suggests a mixed origin. In eastern and central Ladakh, today’s population seems to be mostly of Tibetan origin. The exception to this generalization is the Arghons, a community of Muslims in Leh, the descendants of marriages between local women and Kashmiri or Central Asian merchants. Buddhism reached Tibet from India via Ladakh, and there are ancient Buddhist rock engravings all over the region, even in areas like Dras and the lower Suru Valley which today are inhabited by and exclusively Muslim population.

The divide between the villages of Parkachik and Rangdum in the Suru Valley, though there are pockets of Muslim population further east, in Padum (Zanskar), in Nubra Valley and in and around Leh. The approach to a Buddhist village is invariably marked by mani walls which are long chest-high structures faced with engraved stones bearing the mantra om mane padme hum and by chorten, commemorative cairns, like stone pepper-pots. Many villages are crowned with a gompa or monastery which may be anything from an imposing complex of temples, prayer halls and monks’ dwellings, to a tiny hermitage housing a single image and home to a solitary lama. Islam too came from the west. A peaceful penetration of the Shia sect spearheaded by missionaries, its success was guaranteed by the early conversion of the sub-rulers of Dras, Kargil and the Suru Valley. The exception to this generalizations the Arghons, a community of Muslims in Leh, the descendants of marriages between local women and Kashmiri or Central Asian merchants.

The Emergence of Islamic Architecture in Ladakh: 

Today  the influence of Turko-Iranian architecture with its imposing minarates and large onion shaped dom,es is conspicuous in the mosques and imambararas of Ladakh, bnut this was not always the case. Until the mid –29th century, Muslim buildings in Lakakh generally followed the same construction principles of any other in the reagiion, consisting of a simple one room structure of mud and stone, distinguished only nby a small wooden dome in the center.  An exception to this principle was the mosque of Karcha Khar in Purig which was built by the m,other of the Purig chief This Sultan (1700-46) in Kashmiri style.  It was partly damaged during the Dogra War in the 19th century. 

The first mosque in Ladakh: 

It is not known when exactly Islam first came to the region, bnut it is thought that perhaps the first mosque built in Ladkh was at Shey. This is the Shah Hamadan Mosque, whose constructioin is attributed to Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, the great Kashmiri Saint-scholar who visited Ladakh in 1381 or 1382 CE.  Legend has it hat Hamdani was invited to Shey by the queen of Ladakh, who at that time had borne no children, and she requested the saint to fulfil her wish.  After she gave birth to ther first child the queen gave Hamdani a piece  of land below the palace at Shey, near the banks of the river. Another version of the story is that the land belo0w the palace was flooded with water. Shah Hamadni touched the water with his stick and it receded.  Thus, the queen gifted him the land.

The mosque at Shey is a one –storey mud and stone structure, built in the traditioin of local architecture in Ladakh, surrounded by a garden. It consists of a large prayer room with a small storeroom on the right side.  Sixwooden pillars, with simple Ladakhi style carved capitals, Support the ceiling from the inside. There is no separate prayer hall for women a curtain on the right side of the room demarcates the area meant for them. The original building had no dome, but in the early 1970s the wooden dome from the Tshas Soma Mosque, now an abandoned mosque in Leh was added in the center of the roof.  The mosque has no minerates but a small one was placed on the gate in 2001. The floor is covered with carpets, now mostly new but a few felt coverings from Yarkand still survive.  Nowadays small prayer mats, offering form dovettes, have been placed over the numadahs. 

The first mosque in Leh

In the mid 16th century King Jamyang namgyal went to war against the Balti ruler of Skardu, Ali Sher Khan. Unfortunately he lost the war and was captu4red- he was released later byt only after he agreed to marry the king of Khaplu’s daughter, Gyhal Khatun, disnherit the sons of his previous marriage in favour of any children from this one, and spread Islam in the regioin.  As the new bride Gyal Khatun made her way to Ladakh she was accompanied by a large  retinue of servants as well as artisan, traders, and tailors amongst others. Most noteworthy among them,”  …… a band of musicians with their instruments came from Baltistan as part of the dowry of Gyal Khatun,…… They were settled at Phiyang; and tey and their descendants enjoyed the title of Kharmon.  All these people lived around the royal residential quarters in  Leh and continued with their trade there. No sooner had Gyal Khatun come to Ladakh than the Aladakhis – in an effort to assimilate her into the Buyddhist \faith – recognized her as an incarnationa of a Buddhist goddesss, the white Tara.  However, Gyal Khatun played no major role in spreading Islam in Ladakh.

Discover Ladakh 
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Pilgrimage Travel Wildlife Travel  Adventure Travel  Important Travel  Tips  Fairs & Festivals 
Arts & Crafts  Tourist Information   Modern Routes  New Areas   Culture Travel}

Tours To Kashmir/Leh Ladakh Himalayas India :-

Srinagar Tour (Soul of Kashmir)
   
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Kashmir - Paradise on Earth
   
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The Amarnath Cave- Holy Heart of India
   
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Best of Himachal, Kashmir, Ladakh
   
Duration : 17 Days
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Leh Ladakh Tours| Ladakh the Last Leg Day to Day
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  Hotels in Kashmir                              Hotels in Leh-Ladakh

Trekking in Kashmir Valley -|- Trekking in Ladakh Valley, Jammu & Kashmir -|- Trekking in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Lahaul Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Shimla Valley -|- Trekking in Garhwal, Uttaranchal -|- Trekking in Kumaon, Uttaranchal -|- Trekking in Darjeeling, East India Himalaya
-|- Trekking in Sikkim, East India Himalaya -|- Trekking in Arunachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Bhutan
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