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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Leh?

Mercy Jacob DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes


A:Think of Leh and the picture of weary travellers struggling along narrow paths with carrying heavy goods is what comes to mind. Add to this the backdrop of a small village lined with mud houses. There you are, this is the picture of ancient Leh - a flourishing trade route. The ‘Silk Route' for instance was a popular route that linked China to trade and commerce. But it wasn't just goods that were exchanged. With people meeting, exchange of thought, ideas and culture took place.

In the 10th century Buddhism started to pick pace. Nyima Gon, the grandson of anti- Buddhist Tibetan king, Langdarma took upon himself the construction of castles and sculptures to pump up the Buddhist morale in the state. As a result, several sculptures adorned Leh especially around Shey (15 km south of Leh) and it soon became the seat of the Ladakh royalty. Even today, Buddhist rituals and ceremonies are an integral part of the culture at Leh. And, the Tibetan influence (particularly the dragons) in the architecture here is definitely hard to miss.

While Leh has a strong Buddhist influence, with the Dalai Lama's visit to the state, it is perhaps one of those rare areas where Tibetans and Muslims co exist. The unrest if any in this area was caused by the lust of ambitious conqueror and invaders who saw Leh as a lucrative trade route.

Leh has also witnessed wars. Siachen for instance, one of the world's highest battlefields, is strategically placed around Leh. No wonder a whole floor has been dedicated to Siachen - pictures, weapons seized in war and other artefacts. After the partition the trade slowed down and it was only after the Kargil War in 1999 that the Srinagar-Leh highway lost popularity and Leh emerged as a tourist spot.

Amidst the silent mountains and barren stretch of land live a vibrant culture of cheerful people. There are historical places, religious monasteries, gorgeous mountains and a whole lot of happy people. Could there be better reasons to visit Leh?

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