Ladakh "land of high passes" is a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that extends from the Karakoram Range in the north to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent(" According to Hinduism Yaksha people born from 5th wife of Kashyapa Rishi). It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet.
Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys (now mostly in Pakistani Kashmir), the entire upper Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, much of Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge in the east, Aksai Chin in the northeast, and the Nubra Valley to the north over Khardong La in the Ladakh Range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti to the south, the Vale of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the trans–Kunlun region of Xinjiang on the north side of the Kunlun Range across the Karakoram Pass in the far north. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture.
In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes, but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism. Since 1974, the Government of India has successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh. Since Ladakh is a part of strategically important Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region.
The largest town in Ladakh is Leh. Almost half of Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhists and the rest are mostly Shia Muslims. Leh is followed by Kargil as the largest town in Ladakh. Some Ladakhi activists have in recent times called for Ladakh to be constituted as a union territory because of perceived unfair treatment by Kashmir and Ladakh's cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir.
Rock carvings found in many parts of Ladakh indicate that the area has been inhabited from Neolithic times. Ladakh's earliest inhabitants consisted of a mixed Indo-Aryan population of Mons and Dards, who find mention in the works of Herodotus, Nearchus, Megasthenes, Pliny, Ptolemy, and the geographical lists of the Puranas. Around the 1st century, Ladakh was a part of the Kushana empire. Buddhism spread into western Ladakh from Kashmir in the 2nd century when much of eastern Ladakh and western Tibet was still practising the Bon religion. The 7th century Buddhist traveler Xuanzang describes the region in his accounts.