Ladakh

The Persian term ‘Ladakh’ is transliterated from Tibetan word ‘La-dvags’ which means Land of high passes. It has been called by different names indifferent periods for its beautiful landscape andexquisite culture such as ‘The Mysterious Land of the Mystic Lamas’, ‘The Broken Moonland’ or ‘The Last Shangri-La’. It is stretched from the Kunlun mountain range to the Himalayas in the south. Ladakh is comprised of Baltistan valley, upper Indus valley, Zanskar, Lahaul, Spiti, Ngari, Rudok, Guge, Aksai Chin and Nubra Valley.

A Neolithic rock carving depicted that Ladakh has been inhabited from ancient times. According to Herodotus, Nearchus, Megasthenes, Pliny, Ptolemy and Puranas, Ladakh was inhabited by Indo-Aryans of Mons and Dards. During the 1st century AD, Ladakh was under Kushan rule. In the 2nd century, Buddhism was widespread in the eastern part of Ladakh while the western part was dominated by Bon religion.

Due to its topographical extent, it came under the influence of Tibet from the east and the Chinese from Central Asia in the 8th century. Control over Ladakh changed regularly from China to Tibet and vice versa. King Nyima-Gon was feudatory of Tibetan empire who broke out from his original Tibet Empire and established the kingdom at Ladakh. This led to the migration of Tibetan population to Ladakh and Buddhism philosophy flourished for the second time from the north-west side. He established his kingdom in the eastern side of present day Ladakh.

King Lde-dpal-hkhor-btsan wanted to spread Bon religion in Ladakh and so he promoted Bon by constructing eight monasteries. Upper Manahris monastery was one such example of Bon religion. In order to propagate religion, he encouraged mass production of Hbum scriptures. Another important king, Lhachen Utpala captured Kulu, Mustang and some parts of Baltistan.

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