Vernacular studies – Ladakh, Kashmir.
Ladakh being in the northernmost part of India, this cold desert is also known as “Khapachan” which means the snow land.
Ladakh, constituting a larger part of Kasmir became a union territory on 31st October 2019. Ladakh has been the subject of dispute among India, Pakistan, and China since 1947. It is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region to the east, the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to the south, both the Indian-administered union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan to the west and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north. It extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the north to the main Great Himalayas to the south.
Ladakh consists of sustainable building models and living practicals. When one visits the place, he/she could see the ancient remains of earth construction and passive solar techniques that can be applied to withstand the cold winters.
Geographical features of Ladakh are mainly of high plains and deep valleys. High plains dominate in the east diminishing towards the west.
While observing the construction in Ladakh, we could see that architecture style is supportive in nature of withstanding the biting cold. Traditional houses built in Ladakh are using stones, timbers and mud brick, and rammed earth for plastering floors and roofs.
Ladakh’s culture is deeply inclined with the people’s daily life. The small white-washed roofs belong to a place that sees no rain but the flat surfaces act as the storage for animal fodder.
A rich and colorful culture persists all around Ladakh centering around the beliefs and practices of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism.
The incandescent mountains and longing valleys along with great trekking places and a uniquely attractive culture around make the place highly famous among people and a most desired destination for travelers.
Being located at the ancient silk route, it has played a vital role in the development of culture, religion, philosophy, trade, and commerce in the past which accounts for the geopolitical influence of Ladakh.
Ladakh being the favourite hot spot for tourists and travelers has never failed to amuse them. This prime location also makes it strategically important and significant for India’s national security.
“He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche