In present-day Ladakh one can find subsisitence farming and Tibetan Buddist traditions which have been practiced for five centuries. However, the completion of a road from Delhi over the northern Himalayan ranges in 1974 allowed industrialized societies to gain access to that previously isolated mountain region. Thus, Ladakh is now in a state of flux as it both preserves its ancient ways and incorporates myriads of modern influences.
Short Story of Ladakh:
About five centuries ago, a Tibetan prince journeyed west from Tibet and established the new kingdom of Ladakh on the far western edge of the Tibetan plateau. Ladakh's position along the much- traveled Silk Road regularly exposed a significant portion of the small population of Ladakh (approximately 125,000 people) to several other cultures. Ladakhis traded their staple crops and basic supplies for certain items not available within its borders, such as glass and steel.
Four decades ago Ladakh's borders were opened to industry and tourism through the completion by the government of India of a road linking Delhi with Leh, Ladakh's capital city. Flocks of curious visitors and packs of loaded trucks which regularly arrive have significantly impacted the traditional farming culture. These days, both Ladakhis, Indians and foreign visitors interact with the countless worldly cultures which now flavor the land we call Ladakh.