05 November 2010




The author had been to Ladakhi capital of Leh. He has observed around snowfields, with ragged prayer flags and Indian soldiers shivering in their camps. They moved along Nubra Valley. They have seen Buddhist Diskit gompa or temple. The high, dry region Ladakh in northern India that borders Tibet and is called ‘the world’s last Shangri-La’ and also described as the “land of high passes”. Ladakh also borders Pakistan. In official terms, Ladakh takes in the Muslim region of Kargil, so almost half its population is Islamic.

The author’s first day in Leh, he has observed the faces that spoke Lhasa, Herat even Samarkand. He has observed a scramble of dusty, mud-coloured buildings a few blocks along, an abandoned palace and temples. According to author street lighting did not arrive in Leh until the third year of Clinton administration. Internet cafes on every corner were also existed. The author also witnessed the great events of Ladakhi calendar, the Tse-Chu festival at Hemis. 90 percent of the audience members were foreigners at Tse-Chu and it was told that the party for the tourists only. Indeed, many of Ladakhi’s festivals, traditaionally held in the winter when they don’t have to work in the fields.

One of the first Europeans to settle in Leh, Helena Norberg-Hodge, arrived in 1975 and set up an ecology center. The lampposts of Leh saying “Say No to Polythene”. Ladakh is a way to retrieve something lost, sustaining within us that, which once experienced, comes to seem as contemporary, as invigorating, as tomorrow.

Questions with Answers :

A. What animals and trees did the writer find in the Nubra Valley ?

Marmots, wild asses or kiang, humped Bactrian camels. Apricot trees and willows.

B. How did the writer’s observations match descriptions he had read of the way people live in Ladakh ?

The author came to know ladakh as the high, dry region in northern India that borders Tibet and is often called ‘the world’s last Shangri-La’. He has seen one of the planet’s great centers of Himalayan Buddhism. He has seen the people as they might have several centuries ago, in whitewashed houses amid fields of barely and wheat irrigated by glacial snowmelt. He had heard that Ladakh the “land of high passes”, as it name means, was the one place where this pastoral existence was still preserved.

C. What did the writer discover to his surprise on reaching Ladakh, which he had imagined to have had no contact with other parts of the world ?

The writer realised that Ladakh borders Pakistan. Ladakh takes in the Muslim region of Kargil, so almost half of its population is Islamic. And most of all the place associated with blue-skied purity has for centuries been one of the most cosmopolitan trading posts in the Himalayas, through which traders transported silk, indigo, gold and opium to Kashmir, Kashgar, Yarkand and all other great caravan stops of the Silk Road.

D. What do you think the writer means when he says, ‘I saw faces that spoke of Lhasa, Herat, even Samarkand’ ?

The writer saw the people from China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan in Leh.

E. How do travelers to the ‘otherworldly and highly magical’ Ladakh affect the people who belong there ?

Ladakh is the latest secret treasure to dramatize all the paradoxes of civilization and its discontents. Its temples that mock gravity, its , its khaki-colored stretches of emptiness with small white Buddhist stupas above them, even the tree-lined walks out of Leh were more beautiful than anything. Such wonders have brought a new restlessness to the people of Ladakh, who now fill Leh’s narrow streets with construction cranes and revving Suzukis, and their future lies in packaging or even abandoning of their past.

F. What does the writer tell us to show that while young people in Ladakh’s town prefer western ways of entertainment, people in rural areas continue to enjoy their old, local forms of music and sports ?

The writer witnessed the great Tse-Chu festival. He found the girls selling necklaces and statues of Buddha, mystical scrolls and even CDs, such goods could be aimed only at the tourist market. Indeed, many of Ladakh’s festivals, traditionally held in the winter when Ladahkhis don’t have to work in the fields, have now been moved to the summer so they can grab a foreign audience. As a result, inevitably, Ladakh is something of a test case of what good as well as bad can be brought by travelers, who in Ladakh seem mostly committed to protecting the apparently self sustaining traditional world they’ve discovered here.

Bits :

1. Ladakh is the capital of Leh

2. Marmots, wild asses, or kiang Bactrian camels, apricot trees and willows appeared toward the Nubra Valley.

3. Ladakh was the high, dry region in northern India that borders Tibet

4. Ladakh was often called the world’s last Shangri-La

5. Ladakh was one of the planet’s great centers of Himalayna Buddhism

6. Journey in Ladakh’ written by Andrew Harvey

7. Ladakh is described as the “land of high passes”

8. Ladakh borders Pakistan

9. Ladakh takes in the Muslim region of Kargil

10. Half of Ladakh’s population is Islamic

11. In Leh people speaking Lhasa, Herat, Samarkand

12. The son of the last king of Ladakh, Choegyal Jigmed Wangchuk Namgyal

13. The writer witnessed Tse-Chu festival at Hemis

14. Ladakhi’s festivals traditionally held in the winter

15. One of the first Europeans to settle in Leh was Helena Norberg-Hodge, arrived in1975

16. Helena Norberg-Hodge setup an ecology center in 1975

17. The lampposts of Leh saying “Say No to Polythene”

18. Plastic bags are prohibited in Leh

19. The author’s account of Ladakh is based on his visit to the place

20. Preparing traditional Ladakhi food is not easy because the ingredients are expensive