Delving into Ladakh’s Past
One of the most picturesque parts of India, Ladakh is a destination that is a beautiful blend of nature and culture. A breath taking view, a long drawn history, fascinating festivals, an intriguing past, colorful monasteries – together make up the land of alluring Ladakh! Delving into the past of this land will bring us closer to understanding its people and culture. Buffyfish takes you down into the past of this region, allowing you to inhale every moment of the trip.
History of Ladakh dates back to the Neolithic times with many rock carvings found in the area. During the 1st century, it was a part of one of the most prominent ancient Indian kingdoms- the Kushana Empire, post which the 2nd century saw an influx of Buddhism from Kashmir into western Ladakh.
Permanent settlements were established along the Indus where the first settlement was by the Mons from Kullu, and the Brokpas toward the west of Ladakh. Buddhism soon became the dominant religion though the Brokpa tribe still follows Bonism (preceding religion in Tibet). With Gya becoming the first seat of government, he came to be known as Gyapacho. After being annexed by the Tibetan empire in the 8th century, Ladakh was subjected to frequent changes of monarchy between kingdoms of China and Tibet. Nomads from Khotan launched a series of invasion around the 10th century and Gyapacho was successful in fending of fthe Khotans with Skilde Nimagon at this aid. In return, the former ceded the villages of Shey and Thiksey, wherein Nimagon became the first king of Ladakh who chose Shey as his headquarter. He eventually ruled over the entire Ladakh from 900- 1000 CE.
Gradually the Buddhist kings extended their kingdom- stretching from Kashmir to Tibet. The place was dotted with huge Buddhist monasteries and palaces that became a striking feature of Ladakh. The kings who ruled Ladakh were great patrons of art and promoted religious activities. The province fell into the hands of Ali Mir of Balistan in the 16th century but was back on its own feet under Singge Namgyal who founded a new capital at Leh. Finally in 1846, Ladakh became a part of the kingdom of Dogras of Jammu and has since then been a sub-district of Jammu and Kashmir.
During the partition, Ladakh was integrated into the state of Jammu and Kashmir, however in 1948, invaders from Pakistan occupied Zanskar and Kargil. Kargil was always seen as a point of hostility with bloody wars been fought in 1965, 1971 and 1999. The new political set-up continues to distress the Ladhakis where they have in the past launched an unprecedented protest demanding the status of a Union Territory, separating it from the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Irrespective of the unstable past, the mystifying beauty of Ladakh continues to captivate tourists from all over the world. The sheer grandeur of the palaces and monasteries accompanied by the serenity of hills and lakes makes you want to visit this place time and again!