Table of Contents
  Index
  Ladakh
- Economy
- Recreation
- Wildlife
- Vegetation
- Religion
- Festivals
- Dress and Ornaments
- The Road Journey
- Treks
- A Picture Gallery
  Kargil
- A Picture Gallery
  Drass
  Suru Valley
  Zanskar
  Kashmir: Poetry of Nature
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An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

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Vegetation

During the short intense summers, cultivation is sustained by melting snows and a careful harnessing of water is essential. Ladakhis, particularly the Baltis, are expert irrigation engineers and construct long channels cutting along the granite mountains and gravel slopes. Water is thus channeled to raise food grains like barley (which is roasted and ground to become Tsampa, and is eaten with salted butter tea called gur-gur), apple trees at heights of 10,000 feet and apricots (chuli) which are grown up to 14,000 feet. Apricots are useful since they can be preserved by drying for later consumption. The kernel yeilds oil, useful both for its application and burning votive lamps. Mulberry, walnut and grape are grown at lower heights.


Apricot blossoms in spring

The main trees are the willow and poplar and they meet the requirement for fuel and timber. Easy to grow and maintain, they provide a good yield of fodder for the animals and twigs for baskets. Fragrant juniper (Shukpa) grows everywhere, and is used for ceremonial and religious purposes.

In late October in Ladakh the valleys are a visual delight - apricots and poplars provide a spectacular display of green, gold and rust; the greys and chocolate browns of the mountains vie with the turquoise blue waters and azure blue skies to provide a resplendent panorama of Ladakh in autumn. At such a time, one marvels at the green of the summer crops and fruit blossoms which so spring up in a barren brown landscape, toasting a tribute to nature's miracles.

Kashmir: Poetry of Nature Ladakh
 

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