History of Ladakh

Peeping into the Ancient Times of Ladakh.

The Indo-Aryan Mons from across the Himalayan range, the Dards from the extreme western Himalayas, and the Nomads from the Tibetan highlands were the earliest inhabitants of Ladakh. Farming was introduced to Ladakh by the Dards and Baltis of the lower Indus Valley. From the middle of the 10th century, the region of Ladakh was an independent kingdom. Its dynasties were descended from the king of ancient Tibet. It was attacked periodically after 1531 by the Muslims with a motive to take over Kashmir. The kingdom expanded most in the 17th century under king Sengge Namgyal.

Lamayuru Monastery

Being a politically stable region, Ladakh became a major trade route between Punjab and Central Asia. Caravans used to pass through this route carrying textiles, spices, raw silk, carpets, dyestuffs, narcotics etc. This attracted the ruler of Jammu, Gulab Singh, who sent his general Zorawar Singh to invade Ladakh in 1834. But later, with the emergence of the East India Company, the whole region was taken over by the British.

During British rule, Ladakh and the neighbouring province of Baltistan were incorporated into the newly created State of Jammu & Kashmir. After the partition of India, Baltistan became a part of Pakistan, while Ladakh remained in India as part of Jammu & Kashmir. The Tibetan cultural waves were first greeted by Kashmir, Kishtwar and Kulu. The villages in the remote areas of Ladakh are still very important, historically and culturally.

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