“The high-altitude region of Ladakh lies in the very north of the Republic of India.” ABOUT THE EDITOR When setting foot in Ladakh for the first time, the Italian Cristina Martinelli knew she was coming home. Since the mid 1990’s, although working in challenging jobs in the marketing and humanitarian aid sectors in Switzerland, she was travelling extensively through Ladakh and knows the scenic region and its amazing inhabitants very well. Cristina settled in the scenic village of Phyang in May 2009 where she happily lives with her husband Tashi Chotak and their 2 year-old son Tashi Namgyal. GEOGRAPHICAL INFO The high-altitude region of Ladakh lies in the very north of the Republic of India. It borders in the northwest to Pakistan, in the north-east to China controlled Tibet, and in the south to the Indian States of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. The region got its name from the local word la-drags. it means translated «the land of high passes», describing the geographical position the region is embedded. It lies on the Tibetan Plateau and is surrounded by high mountains of the Western Himalayas and the Karakoram. The local population consists of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and people from other faiths. Leh, with a population of around 25’000 people, is the capital of the region and forms one district with mostly Buddhist inhabitants. The other district is Kargil, consisting of Muslim people. POLITICAL INFO Until the 19th century, Ladakh was an independent Kingdom for almost thousand years. It was in 1836, when the King of Ladakh was put under Raja Gulab Singh’s subservience, a Maharaja from Jammu. Since then, the region had been a part of Kashmir. Since the Independence of India in 1947, the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir is divided in the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, each one composed of several districts. Ladakh has two districts: Leh (the inhabitants are mostly Buddhists) and Kargil with a mainly Muslim community. the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir consists mainly of a muslim population. The Buddhists are a minority and therefore ?\?Y?[\ZY?[????[?[?\[?[??]\??[?[?\??]?H U K?[?NNKH?X?X[Y?Y[Y[??\?X?\?Y??\??YZ??]?[??H?Y\??[?H?Y??]]??[?\?X?\?[???]H??[?][??HYZ?]]??[?\??[?Y[???[??[ R?K??????[?\??][?[Y?\?[[XY?^?[?K???B??