As the aircraft descends into the high altitude military airport at Leh, the first glimpse of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Situated on an 11,500ft high desert plateau, and sometimes known as ‘Little Tibet’, Ladakh has remained immune from the Chinese and Kashmiri territorial conflict. It maintains one of the most intact Tantric Buddhist societies left on earth. A journey through this stunning kingdom should be on every serious traveller’s list and it is now possible to stay in a series of fully staffed private houses dotted across the Indus valley.
Ladakh reached the pinnacle of its power in the mid-17th century under King Sengge Namgyal (‘Victorious Lion’) when the kingdom stretched from Skardu (now in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) to the border of Tibet.