top of page

Why Ladakh

Our Land_edited_edited.jpg

Our Land

Tucked in the high reaches of the Himalayas, Ladakh is the northernmost province of India bordered by China on the east and Pakistan on the west. It has a geographical area of 59,146 sq km, about a fourth of the size of the UK. The word Ladakh comes from "La Dags,'' meaning the Land of the High Passes. It is a high-altitude cold desert region and one of the highest inhabited places in the world. 

The average elevation in the region is 3500m above sea level and some of the tallest peaks in the surrounding mountains are over 7000m. Ladakh lies in the heavily glaciated region of the Himalayas, known as the Third Pole. Outside the polar ice caps, these mountain glaciers contain the largest reserves of freshwater on earth. Ten major rivers of Asia originate from these glaciers and sustain the lives and livelihoods of  1.9 billion people.

Our People

For centuries, Ladakh was strategically located on the Silk Route acting as a corridor between the Far East and Central Asia. The  present-day Ladakhis are a mix of descendents from nomads of Tibet, Mons of North India, and Dards of Central Asia.


They are a hardy mountain community, rich with traditional knowledge and they rely on nomadic pastoralism and agriculture. In the eastern plateau at elevations of 4500m, animals like sheep, goats and yak are grazed for Cashmere and Pashmina wool. In the rest of the habitable pockets, people grow crops like barley and buckwheat in some of the world’s highest fields. Traditional handicrafts include carpet weaving, silver filigree, stone carving, and fresco painting.


Over the past few decades, Ladakh has experienced rapid development due to its strategic location along the international borders. After independence, the Indian Army established a base in Ladakh increasing human activity in the region at an alarming rate. Further, the boom of tourism has diverted our scarce resources towards the hospitality industry and made traditional ways of life unsustainable.

Our people.jpg
Our Animals.jpg

Our Flora & Fauna

Ladakh is a semi-desert region with warm summers and extremely cold winters. The average annual precipitation is a meagre 100mm. Despite the harsh conditions, it is home to a variety of endemic plants used by locals for their herbal and aromatic properties. The best known native plant is seabuckthorn used extensively by locals for its variety of benefits.


This cold desert is also home to more than 30 different species of mammals and over 200 species of birds. Herds of wild yak, gazelle and antelope roam the vast plateaus in the east. The high-altitude lakes and wetlands provide rich breeding grounds for native varieties of cranes, ducks and eagles. 


The snow leopard, one of the most elusive animals, is found in Ladakh. Once thriving in the mountains, only 500 of them are supposedly left now. The black-necked crane, which is the only alpine variety among the 15 species of cranes in the world, is found in the wetlands of Ladakh. Many of the animals have spiritual significance in the local culture. They are legally protected however, habitat modification and intensive human activities threaten their populations.

Our Challenges

Today, Ladakh is on the frontline of climate change. Despite having contributed least to the problem, it is experiencing some of the most severe consequences. The fragile ecology and rich biodiversity of the region is under threat. The rapid melting of glaciers is a cause for looming water shortage and jeopardises the traditional livelihoods of the local communities.


Human activities, like road construction, expansion of settlements, and tourism have caused extensive habitat loss for animals, birds and plants. The wetlands have severely degraded and natural springs, which were a lifeline of local communities, are also disappearing. Waste and pollution are added threats in the region which contaminate land, water bodies and the air.


Addressing these crises in the region is challenging due to its remoteness and the harsh conditions. Local communities who have lived in harmony with nature for centuries, now find themselves at the crossroads, having to choose between economic prosperity and protecting the environment. However, we believe a sustainable future is still possible if we take action now.

Our challenges.jpg
bottom of page