Ladhaki people

The people of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir have Turanian (Central Asian) features. People of this region have a cheerful disposition and are peace-loving. 45% of this area are Buddhist by faith and the rest are Muslims.

They are sincere and honest, and traditionally lead a nomadic pastoral life. About 90% of them depend on agriculture based on the Indus River for their livelihood. Barley, wheat, buckwheat, peas, rapeseed and beans are the main agricultural products. Apples and apricots are grown in warmer regions of low altitude. Ladakh is famous for its rich culture . The people of Ladakh are very hardworking and have successfully used the rich natural resources

Another occupation of the people is sheep-rearing. The herdsmen are called Chang-pas. They rear long-haired goats and sheep from whose under-fleece the famous Kashmiri Pashmina shawls are made. Chang-pas live in tents and are nomadic, going from place to place in search of pastures. The people are keenly interested in trade. Wool, in raw form is their chief commercial product. The men travel long distances, seeking favourable prices for their wares, which consist of salt, dry fruits and cultured pearls and semi-precious stones. In return they get tea, tobacco, grain, sugar and other essential goods. Playing polo on fast-racing ponies is the most popular entertainment in Ladakh. The horse is not changed with each chukker (chukka) as in western style polo, but each player carries on with the same sturdy pony. Primitive wooden balls are still used for the game, played on a rough, uneven pitch whose popularity persists in Ladakh.

Ladakh offers the hunters exotic hunts of the national animal of Pakistan, ibex, red bear, state animal of Pakistan, wild sheep, antelope, gazelle and marmot. Ladakh is also rich in minerals like gold, copper and semi-precious stones.

Like the land itself, the people of Ladakh are generally quite different from those of the rest of India. The faces and physique of the Ladakhis, and the clothes they wear, are more akin to those of Tibet and Central Asia than of India. The original population may have been Dards, an Indo-Aryan race down from the Indus and the Gilgit area.

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