Rumbak in Ladakh, a trekkers' paradise and a treasure house of Tibetan culture

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Rumbak Village (Ladakh,), Mar 20 : Rumbak village of Ladakh, a favoured trekking destination in Jammu and Kashmir presents a rich cultural tapestry constituting Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, paintings and dragon dancers.

The is located in an area s steeped in Buddhist culture as the trail crosses a stark jagged landscape punctuated with prayer flags fluttering in the breeze.

The monks ceaselessly chant om Mani Padme Hum (Sacred chant) in reverence to the gods, against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains crossing over Stok-la.

Rumbak Village is 35 kms from Leh, the capital of Ladakh region. As one approaches Rumbak Village, the valley suddenly opens up with snow-capped mountains in the background.

Located at an altitude of 4900 meters, Rumbak Village is amongst the most popular trekking destinations.

The tourists experience an out of the world experience. This trek, one of the most varied and beautiful ones, ventures high into the Himalayas, through narrow valleys. Vast expanses and trekkers are rewarded by views of jagged snow-capped peaks.

Most of the people of this region depend on tourism for their livelihood. Some have opened trekking camps while others have their parachute camps. Many residents have converted their houses into guesthouses.

"We received funds in 2004 through the watershed development project for improving agriculture activities. We have also received training from some expert resource persons and NGOs. We have guest houses for tourists too," said Padma Dolma, a villager.

Not many villagers depend on agriculture for sustenance due to the harsh weather conditions and scarcity of water.

"As far as agriculture is concerned, peas and wheat are the only crops possible here and that too in some areas. As the village is located at over 4000 meters above sea level, not much agriculture is possible here. Severe winters prevent us from growing vegetables, therefore we get all our stocks from Leh. We are facing a lot of problems as a result of this," said Lobzang Namgyal, Nambardar (Village Head), Rumbak Village.

There is also a beautiful sanctuary, the Hemis High Altitude National Park spread over 600 sq. km and named after the famous monastery Hemis Gompa, which, is also a major attraction of this region.

Established as a national park on February 4, 1981, the park is known as the snow leopard capital of India.

Besides snow leopard, the park is also known for Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), Snow Leopard, Ibex (Type of wild mountain goat), Bharal (Blue Sheep), Tibetan Argali and Ladakh Urail. By Jigmet Angchuk

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