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Zanskar

Zanskar, Zahar (locally) or Zangskar, is a tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the Indian union territory of Ladakh. The administrative centre is Padum (former Capital of Zanskar). Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet. Zanskar lies 250 km south of Kargil town on NH301.

Zanskar Ranges
Zanskar mountain range
Highest point
Elevation7,756 m (25,446 ft)
Prominence2,825 m (9,268 ft)
Dimensions
Length400 mi (640 km)
Geography
LocationLadakh, India

The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the union territory of Ladakh that separates Zanskar from Ladakh. Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya, an approximately 100-km-wide synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricated, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is about 6,000 m (19,700 ft). Its eastern part is known as Rupshu. The town had a population of 20,000 in 2020. There has been demands to convert Zanskar into a district.

Contents

Zanskar (ཟངས་དཀར་ zangs dkar) appears as “Zangskar” mostly in academic studies in social sciences (anthropology, gender studies), reflecting the Ladakhi pronunciation, although the Zanskari pronunciation is Zãhar. Older geographical accounts and maps may use the alternate spelling "Zaskar". An etymological study (Snellgrove and Skorupsky, 1980) of the name reveals that its origin might refer to the natural occurrence of copper in this region, the Tibetan word for which is "Zangs". The second syllable however seems to be more challenging as it has various meanings: "Zangs-dkar" (white copper), "Zangs-mkhar" (copper palace), or "Zangs-skar" (copper star). Others claim it derives from zan = copper + skar = valley. Crook (1994) partly shares this interpretation but suggests that the origin of this name might also be "Zan-mKhar" (food palace), because the staple food crops are so abundant in an otherwise rather arid region. The locally accepted spelling of the name in Tibetan script is zangs-dkar.

Some of the religious scholars of the district, also cited by Snellgrove and Skorupsky (1980) and Crook (1994), hold that it was originally "bzang-dkar", meaning good (or beautiful) and white. "Good" would refer to the triangular shape of the Padum plain, the triangle being the symbol of Dharma and religion; "white" would refer to the simplicity, goodness, and religious inclinations of the Zanskaris. Thus, even if etymologically it would be more correct to use "Zangskar", the most frequently found spelling for this region is undoubtedly "Zanskar".

The first traces of human activity in Zanskar seem to go back as far as the Bronze Age. Petroglyphs attributed to that period suggest that their creators were hunters on the steppes of central Asia, living between Kazakhstan and China. It is suspected that an Indo-European population known as the Mon might then have lived in this region, before mixing with or being replaced by the next settlers, the Dards. Early Buddhism coming from Kashmir spread its influence in Zanskar, possibly as early as 200 BC. The earliest monuments date from the Kushan period. After this eastward propagation of Buddhism, Zanskar and large parts of the Western Himalaya were overrun in the 7th century by the Tibetans, who imposed their then animistic Bön religion.

The Phugtal Monastery in south-east Zanskar.

Buddhism regained its influence over Zanskar in the 8th century when Tibet was also converted to this religion. Between the 10th and 11th centuries, two Royal Houses were founded in Zanskar, and the monasteries of Karsha and Phugtal (see picture) were built. Until the 15th century Zanskar existed as a more or less independent Buddhist Kingdom ruled by between two and four related royal families. Since the 15th century, Zanskar has been subordinate to Ladakh, sharing its fortunes and misfortunes. In 1822 a coalition of Kulu, Lahoul, and Kinnaur invaded Zanskar, plundering the country and destroying the Royal palace at Padum.

In the mid-20th century, border conflicts between India, Pakistan and China caused Ladakh and Zanskar to be closed to foreigners. During these wars Ladakh lost two thirds of its original territory, losing Baltistan to Pakistan and the Aksai Chin to China. Ladakh and Zanskar, despite a tumultuous history of internal wars and external aggressions, have never lost their cultural and religious heritage since the 8th century. Thanks to its adherence to the Indian Union, this is also one of the rare regions in the Himalaya where traditional Tibetan culture, society, and buildings survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In the last twenty years, the opening of a road and the massive influx of tourists and researchers have brought many changes to the traditional social organisation of Zanskar. In 2007 the valley suffered its third year of a desert locust infestation with many villages losing their crops. The response of the monasteries was to carry out Puja ( prayer ) to get rid of them while the government was advocating the use of insecticides which the Buddhists were reluctant to use, but in some cases were forced to try with as yet undocumented success. In 2008 it was reported that the Locusts had left the central Zanskar plains.

People of Zanskar have been demanding to be in new district, separate from the existing Kargil district, for more than 70 years.

The Zanskar Range is spread over a vast area from southeastern boundaries of the state of Kashmir and extends in the northwest direction to the eastern limits of Baltistan. It separates Ladakh from the valleys of Kashmir and the Chenab River. In other words, it serves as a boundary line between Ladakh region of Kashmir and the remaining two regions of the state i.e. Jammu region and Vale of Kashmir. The 23,000 feet (7,000 m) high peak Nunkun is within this range. Marbal Pass and many other passes which connect Ladakh with Kashmir are in this area, 13,000 feet (4,000 m) high Zojila Pass is in the extreme northwest of Zanskar range. This range, in fact is a branch of the great Himalayan range of mountains. Many rivers start in different branches of this range flow northward, and join the great Indus River. These rivers include Hanle River, Khurna River, Zanskar River, Suru River (Indus), and Shingo River. It also separates Kinnaur from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. The highest peaks of Himachal are in Zanskar range.

Topography

Zanskar Mountain Range

Zanskar covers an area of some 7,000 square kilometres (2,700 sq mi), at an elevation of 3,500-7,135 metres (11,500–23,409 feet). It consists of the country lying along the two main branches of the Zanskar River. The first, the Doda River, has its source near the Pensi-la 4,400 metres (14,400 ft) mountain-pass, and then flows south-eastwards along the main valley leading towards Padum, the capital of Zanskar.

Shingo La

The second branch is formed by two main tributaries known as Kargyag river (also known as Kurgiakh river), with its source near the Shingo La 5,091 metres (16,703 ft), and Tsarap River, with its source near the Baralacha-La. These two rivers unite below the village of Purney to form the Lungnak river (also known as the Lingti or Tsarap river). The Lungnak river then flows north-westwards along a narrow gorge towards Zanskar's central valley (known locally as jung-khor), where it unites with the Doda river to form the Zanskar river.

Zanskar River meeting the Indus

The Zanskar river then takes a north-eastern course until it joins the Indus in Ladakh. High mountain ridges lie on both sides of the Doda and Lingti–kargyag valleys, which run north-west to south-east. To the south-west is the Great Himalayan Range which separates Zanskar from the Kisthwar and Chamba basins. To the north-east lies the Zanskar Range, which separates Zanskar from Ladakh. The only outlet for the whole Zanskar hydrographic system is thus the Zanskar river, which cuts the deep and narrow Zanskar Gorge through the Zanskar range.

The Zanskar range spans 640 kilometres (400 mi) from the Karcha (Suru) River to the upper Karnali River. Kamet Peak 7,756 metres (25,446 ft) is the highest point in the range.

These topographical features explain why access to Zanskar is difficult from all sides. Communication with the neighbouring Himalayan areas is maintained across mountain passes or along the Zanskar river when frozen. The easiest approach leads from Kargil through the Suru valley and over the Penzi-La. It is along this track that in 1979 the only road in Zanskar was built to connect Padum with the main road from Srinagar into Ladakh. One of the first Tibetologists to spend an extended period in the region was Hungarian scholar Alexander Csoma de Koros who spent over a year living in the region in 1823. After being integrated into the newly formed state of India in 1947, Zanskar and the neighbouring region of Ladakh were both declared restricted areas and only opened to foreigners in 1974.

Climate

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Zanskar is a high altitude semi-desert lying on the northern flank of the Himalayan Range. This mountain range acts as a barrier protecting Ladakh and Zanskar from most of the monsoon, resulting in a pleasantly warm and dry climate in the summer. Rain and snowfall during this period are scarce, although recent decades have shown a trend towards increasing precipitation. Several water-driven mills were built during ancient periods of drought at a great distance from the villages, but have been abandoned because running water is now available nearer to the settlements. Zanskari houses, though otherwise well built, are not adapted to the recently increasing rainfall, as their roofs leak, catching their surprised inhabitants unprepared. Most of the precipitation occurs as snowfall during the harsh and extremely long winter period. These winter snowfalls are of vital importance, since they feed the glaciers which melt in the summer and provide most of the irrigation water. Parts of Zanskar valley are considered some of the coldest continually inhabited places in the world.

Demography

Group of Zanskari women and children.
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Zanskar's population is small, the April 2006 medical census records a population of 13,849 people. The medical census is the most accurate indicator of population as it collects birth, death, and census information from Zangskar's 22 medical aid centers. Roughly 95% of the inhabitants practice Tibetan Buddhism, while the remainder are Sunni Muslims, whose ancestors settled in Padum and its environs in the 19th century. The majority of Zanskaris are of mixed Tibetan and Indo-European origins; notably Changpa, Dard and Mon. The latter are in fact ethnically Dard, but "Mon" is used in order to distinguish them from later Dard settlers.

The population lives mainly in scattered small villages, the largest being the capital Padum, with nearly 700 inhabitants. Most of the villages are located in the valleys of the Zanskar river and its two main tributaries. Given the isolation of this region, the inhabitants tend towards self-sufficiency, and until recently lived in almost complete autarky. External trade has, however, always been necessary for the acquisition of goods such as tools, jewellery, or religious artefacts.

The Zanskaris' main occupations are cattle-rearing and farming of land that they almost always own. Cultivable land is scarce, and restricted to alluvial fans and terraces, cultivated fields being rarely found above an altitude of 4,000 metres. The Zanskaris have developed a system of intensive arable agriculture and complex irrigation to produce enough food in these conditions. The scarcity of cultivable land has also resulted in a tendency towards a stable, zero-growth population. An efficient birth-control system in Zanskar has historically been achieved by the common practice of polyandrous marriage, in which several brothers are married to the same wife, and the widespread adoption of a celibate religious life. A high infant mortality rate also contributes to population stability.

In the summer, the women and children stay far away from the villages to tend to the livestock. This system, known as transhumance, is similar to the one found in the Alps where the animals are sent during the summer higher up in the mountains (the alpine meadows) and were kept by the children and women.

Much of Zanskar's vegetation is found in the irrigated villages, and on the upper slopes which receive more precipitation and where it consists of alpine and tundra species. Most impressive are the meadows covered with thousands of edelweiss. At the foot of the Gumburanjon mountain blue poppies can be found. Crops including barley, lentils, and potatoes are grown by farmers at the lower elevations. Domesticated animals such as the yak, dzo, sheep, horse, and dog are found in the region.

Among the wildlife that can be found in Zanskar are the marmot, bear, wolf, snow leopard, bharal, alpine ibex, wild sheep and goats, and the lammergeier.

Religion

Row of Chorten (or Stupa) at the village of Purne. Each of the elements that constitute these edifices, as well as their color, has a symbolic meaning in Tibetan Buddhism.

Religion in Zanskar tehsil (2011)

Buddhism (93.81%)
Islam (5.53%)
Christianity (0.30%)
Hinduism (0.17%)
Jainism (0.09%)
Others (0.02%)
Sikhism (0.01%)
Not Stated (0.07%)

A very overwhelming majority of Zanskar is Buddhist. Almost every village has a local monastery, often containing ancient wall-paintings and images. There are two main branches of Tibetan Buddhism here — the Drugpa, including Sani Monastery, Dzongkhul, Stagrimo and Bardan Monastery - all loosely affiliated with Stakna in the Indus valley. The Gelugpa control Rangdum Monastery, Karsha, Stongde and Phugtal Monastery, which all pay allegiance to the Ngari Rinpoche, who has his main seat at Likir Monastery in Ladakh. The present emanation of the Ngari Rinpoche is the younger brother of the Dalai Lama.

Languages

Languages of Zanskar Tehsil (2011)

Ladakhi (99.38%)
Others (0.62%)

People living in Zanskar speak Zanskari language of the Ladakhi-Balti language group. It is written using the Tibetan script. Monks who have studied outside of Zanskar may know Standard Tibetan. Educated people of Zanskar know English as it is a compulsory subject in Indian schools.

Movies

In 2010, the American film director Frederick Marx made a documentary called "Journey from Zanskar". Narrated by Richard Gere, the film tells the story of two monks helping 17 poor children reaching Tibetan schools in India through a difficult and dangerous travel.

Livestock

White yak.

Livestock, and especially the yak, is of paramount importance in Zanskar. Yaks are used to plough the land, to thresh the grain, to carry heavy loads (up to 200 kilograms), and their dung not only serves as fertiliser but is also the only heating fuel available in the region. They are a vital source of milk and sometimes, but rarely, of meat. The yak's fur is used to make clothes, carpets, ropes, and bed covers.

Tourism

Tourism is probably the major disruption that Zanskar has experienced during recent times. The opening of this region to foreigners has brought benefits such as the financing of schools and the restoration of monasteries and roads, but has also taken its toll on this fragile mountain environment and its population.[citation needed]

The first colour film of life in Zanskar was shot in 1958 by an expedition of three British housewives.

Citations

  1. "Ladakh-based Buddhist association demands district status for Zanskar". India Today. 4 September 2019.
  2. 3,000 Demonstrate for Separate District in Sub-Zero Temperatures at Kargil, The Wire, 06/FEB/2020.
  3. Ladakh-based Buddhist association demands district status for Zanskar, India Today, September 4, 2019.
  4. Schettler, Margaret & Rolf (1981), p. 150.
  5. "Zaskar Range | mountains, Asia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved20 September 2017.
  6. "Zanskar Population". Census India. Retrieved13 September 2020.
  7. "Paddar Population". Census India. Retrieved29 August 2020.
  8. Rizvi (1998), p. 253.
  9. Rizvi (1996), pp. 242–242.
  10. C-16 Population By Mother Tongue – Jammu & Kashmir (Report). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved29 October 2021.
  11. Rather, Ali Mohammad (September 1999), "Kargil: The Post-War Scenario", Journal of Peace Studies, International Center for Peace Studies, 6 (5–6), archived from the original on 1 December 2014
  12. Beek, Martijn van Pirie, Fernanda (2008). Modern Ladakh : anthropological perspectives on continuity and change. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-16713-1. OCLC 896146052.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. "Zangskari". Script Source. Retrieved25 August 2012.
  14. Telegraph Co. article (no free access)

Bibliography

  • Crook, John; Osmaston, Henry (1994). Himalayan Buddhist Villages: Environment, Resources, Society and Religious Life in Zangskar, Ladakh. Bristol: University of Bristol UK. p. 866. ISBN 0-86292-386-7.
  • Dèzes, Pierre (1999). "Tectonic and metamorphic Evolution of the Central Himalayan Domain in Southeast Zanskar (Kashmir, India)". Mémoires de Géologie. Doctoral thesis. Universite de Lausanne. 32: 149. ISSN 1015-3578.
  • Gutschow, Kim (2004). Being a Buddhist Nun: The Struggle for Enlightenment in the Indian Himalayas. Harvard University Press.
  • Namgail, T. (2004). "Zangskar: mystic land". Sanctuary Asia. 24: 44–47.
  • Noble, Christina (1991). At Home in the Himalayas. London: Fontana. ISBN 0-00-637499-9.
  • Rizvi, Janet (1998). Ladakh, Crossroads of High Asia. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-564546-4.
  • Schettler, Margaret & Rolf (1981). Kashmir, Ladakh & Zanskar. South Yarra, Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications. ISBN 0-908086-21-0.
  • Snellgrove, D.L.; Skorupsky, T. (1980). The Cultural Heritage of Ladakh. Warminster, Aris and Phillips. ISBN 0-85668-058-3.
  • Tsering, Tobden (1985). Lamas of Zaṅs-dkar a collection of manuscript material about the lives of Kun-dgaʼ-chos-legs, Bla-ma Kar-ma, and Grub-dbaṅ Nag-dbaṅ-tshe-riṅ. Gemur, Distt. Lahul. Mkhas-grub-chen-po Dpal Bzad-pa-rdo-rje rnam thar mgur bum Ma rig mun sel dran pai klog phren.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  • Deboos Salomé, Être musulman au Zanskar, Himalaya indien, Editions Universitaires Européenne, 2010, ISBN 978-613-1-52976-4
  • Boyden, Mark, Travels In Zanskar, A Journey to a Closed Kingdom, The Liffey Press, Dublin, 2013, ISBN 978-1-908308-51-1
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Zanskar

Coordinates:33°29′N76°50′E /33.483°N 76.833°E /33.483; 76.833

Zanskar
Zanskar Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Zanskar Range Zanskar Zahar locally or Zangskar is a tehsil of the Kargil district which lies in the Indian union territory of Ladakh The administrative centre is Padum former Capital of Zanskar Zanskar together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet Zanskar lies 250 km south of Kargil town on NH301 Zanskar RangesZanskar mountain rangeHighest pointElevation7 756 m 25 446 ft Prominence2 825 m 9 268 ft DimensionsLength400 mi 640 km GeographyLocationLadakh India The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the union territory of Ladakh that separates Zanskar from Ladakh Geologically the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya an approximately 100 km wide synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricated weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series The average height of the Zanskar Range is about 6 000 m 19 700 ft Its eastern part is known as Rupshu The town had a population of 20 000 in 2020 1 There has been demands to convert Zanskar into a district 2 3 Contents 1 Etymology 2 History 3 Geography 3 1 Topography 3 2 Climate 3 3 Demography 4 Flora and fauna 5 Culture 5 1 Religion 5 2 Languages 5 3 Movies 6 Economy 6 1 Livestock 6 2 Tourism 7 References 7 1 Citations 7 2 Bibliography 8 External linksEtymology EditZanskar ཟངས དཀར zangs dkar appears as Zangskar mostly in academic studies in social sciences anthropology gender studies reflecting the Ladakhi pronunciation although the Zanskari pronunciation is Zahar Older geographical accounts and maps may use the alternate spelling Zaskar An etymological study Snellgrove and Skorupsky 1980 of the name reveals that its origin might refer to the natural occurrence of copper in this region the Tibetan word for which is Zangs The second syllable however seems to be more challenging as it has various meanings Zangs dkar white copper Zangs mkhar copper palace or Zangs skar copper star Others claim it derives from zan copper skar valley 4 Crook 1994 partly shares this interpretation but suggests that the origin of this name might also be Zan mKhar food palace because the staple food crops are so abundant in an otherwise rather arid region The locally accepted spelling of the name in Tibetan script is zangs dkar Some of the religious scholars of the district also cited by Snellgrove and Skorupsky 1980 and Crook 1994 hold that it was originally bzang dkar meaning good or beautiful and white Good would refer to the triangular shape of the Padum plain the triangle being the symbol of Dharma and religion white would refer to the simplicity goodness and religious inclinations of the Zanskaris Thus even if etymologically it would be more correct to use Zangskar the most frequently found spelling for this region is undoubtedly Zanskar History EditThe first traces of human activity in Zanskar seem to go back as far as the Bronze Age Petroglyphs attributed to that period suggest that their creators were hunters on the steppes of central Asia living between Kazakhstan and China It is suspected that an Indo European population known as the Mon might then have lived in this region before mixing with or being replaced by the next settlers the Dards Early Buddhism coming from Kashmir spread its influence in Zanskar possibly as early as 200 BC The earliest monuments date from the Kushan period After this eastward propagation of Buddhism Zanskar and large parts of the Western Himalaya were overrun in the 7th century by the Tibetans who imposed their then animistic Bon religion The Phugtal Monastery in south east Zanskar Buddhism regained its influence over Zanskar in the 8th century when Tibet was also converted to this religion Between the 10th and 11th centuries two Royal Houses were founded in Zanskar and the monasteries of Karsha and Phugtal see picture were built Until the 15th century Zanskar existed as a more or less independent Buddhist Kingdom ruled by between two and four related royal families Since the 15th century Zanskar has been subordinate to Ladakh sharing its fortunes and misfortunes In 1822 a coalition of Kulu Lahoul and Kinnaur invaded Zanskar plundering the country and destroying the Royal palace at Padum In the mid 20th century border conflicts between India Pakistan and China caused Ladakh and Zanskar to be closed to foreigners During these wars Ladakh lost two thirds of its original territory losing Baltistan to Pakistan and the Aksai Chin to China Ladakh and Zanskar despite a tumultuous history of internal wars and external aggressions have never lost their cultural and religious heritage since the 8th century Thanks to its adherence to the Indian Union this is also one of the rare regions in the Himalaya where traditional Tibetan culture society and buildings survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution In the last twenty years the opening of a road and the massive influx of tourists and researchers have brought many changes to the traditional social organisation of Zanskar In 2007 the valley suffered its third year of a desert locust infestation with many villages losing their crops The response of the monasteries was to carry out Puja prayer to get rid of them while the government was advocating the use of insecticides which the Buddhists were reluctant to use but in some cases were forced to try with as yet undocumented success In 2008 it was reported that the Locusts had left the central Zanskar plains People of Zanskar have been demanding to be in new district separate from the existing Kargil district for more than 70 years 1 Lingshed MonasteryGeography EditThe Zanskar Range is spread over a vast area from southeastern boundaries of the state of Kashmir and extends in the northwest direction to the eastern limits of Baltistan It separates Ladakh from the valleys of Kashmir and the Chenab River In other words it serves as a boundary line between Ladakh region of Kashmir and the remaining two regions of the state i e Jammu region and Vale of Kashmir The 23 000 feet 7 000 m high peak Nunkun is within this range Marbal Pass and many other passes which connect Ladakh with Kashmir are in this area 13 000 feet 4 000 m high Zojila Pass is in the extreme northwest of Zanskar range This range in fact is a branch of the great Himalayan range of mountains Many rivers start in different branches of this range flow northward and join the great Indus River These rivers include Hanle River Khurna River Zanskar River Suru River Indus and Shingo River It also separates Kinnaur from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh The highest peaks of Himachal are in Zanskar range Topography Edit Zanskar Mountain Range Zanskar covers an area of some 7 000 square kilometres 2 700 sq mi at an elevation of 3 500 7 135 metres 11 500 23 409 feet It consists of the country lying along the two main branches of the Zanskar River The first the Doda River has its source near the Pensi la 4 400 metres 14 400 ft mountain pass and then flows south eastwards along the main valley leading towards Padum the capital of Zanskar Shingo La The second branch is formed by two main tributaries known as Kargyag river also known as Kurgiakh river with its source near the Shingo La 5 091 metres 16 703 ft and Tsarap River with its source near the Baralacha La These two rivers unite below the village of Purney to form the Lungnak river also known as the Lingti or Tsarap river The Lungnak river then flows north westwards along a narrow gorge towards Zanskar s central valley known locally as jung khor where it unites with the Doda river to form the Zanskar river Zanskar River meeting the Indus The Zanskar river then takes a north eastern course until it joins the Indus in Ladakh High mountain ridges lie on both sides of the Doda and Lingti kargyag valleys which run north west to south east To the south west is the Great Himalayan Range which separates Zanskar from the Kisthwar and Chamba basins To the north east lies the Zanskar Range which separates Zanskar from Ladakh The only outlet for the whole Zanskar hydrographic system is thus the Zanskar river which cuts the deep and narrow Zanskar Gorge through the Zanskar range The Zanskar range spans 640 kilometres 400 mi from the Karcha Suru River to the upper Karnali River Kamet Peak 7 756 metres 25 446 ft is the highest point in the range 5 These topographical features explain why access to Zanskar is difficult from all sides Communication with the neighbouring Himalayan areas is maintained across mountain passes or along the Zanskar river when frozen The easiest approach leads from Kargil through the Suru valley and over the Penzi La It is along this track that in 1979 the only road in Zanskar was built to connect Padum with the main road from Srinagar into Ladakh One of the first Tibetologists to spend an extended period in the region was Hungarian scholar Alexander Csoma de Koros who spent over a year living in the region in 1823 After being integrated into the newly formed state of India in 1947 Zanskar and the neighbouring region of Ladakh were both declared restricted areas and only opened to foreigners in 1974 Climate Edit This section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Zanskar news newspapers books scholar JSTOR October 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message Zanskar is a high altitude semi desert lying on the northern flank of the Himalayan Range This mountain range acts as a barrier protecting Ladakh and Zanskar from most of the monsoon resulting in a pleasantly warm and dry climate in the summer Rain and snowfall during this period are scarce although recent decades have shown a trend towards increasing precipitation Several water driven mills were built during ancient periods of drought at a great distance from the villages but have been abandoned because running water is now available nearer to the settlements Zanskari houses though otherwise well built are not adapted to the recently increasing rainfall as their roofs leak catching their surprised inhabitants unprepared Most of the precipitation occurs as snowfall during the harsh and extremely long winter period These winter snowfalls are of vital importance since they feed the glaciers which melt in the summer and provide most of the irrigation water Parts of Zanskar valley are considered some of the coldest continually inhabited places in the world Demography Edit Group of Zanskari women and children This section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Zanskar news newspapers books scholar JSTOR October 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message Zanskar s population is small the April 2006 medical census records a population of 13 849 people The medical census is the most accurate indicator of population as it collects birth death and census information from Zangskar s 22 medical aid centers Roughly 95 of the inhabitants practice Tibetan Buddhism while the remainder are Sunni Muslims whose ancestors settled in Padum and its environs in the 19th century The majority of Zanskaris are of mixed Tibetan and Indo European origins notably Changpa Dard and Mon The latter are in fact ethnically Dard but Mon is used in order to distinguish them from later Dard settlers The population lives mainly in scattered small villages the largest being the capital Padum with nearly 700 inhabitants Most of the villages are located in the valleys of the Zanskar river and its two main tributaries Given the isolation of this region the inhabitants tend towards self sufficiency and until recently lived in almost complete autarky External trade has however always been necessary for the acquisition of goods such as tools jewellery or religious artefacts The Zanskaris main occupations are cattle rearing and farming of land that they almost always own Cultivable land is scarce and restricted to alluvial fans and terraces cultivated fields being rarely found above an altitude of 4 000 metres The Zanskaris have developed a system of intensive arable agriculture and complex irrigation to produce enough food in these conditions The scarcity of cultivable land has also resulted in a tendency towards a stable zero growth population An efficient birth control system in Zanskar has historically been achieved by the common practice of polyandrous marriage in which several brothers are married to the same wife and the widespread adoption of a celibate religious life A high infant mortality rate also contributes to population stability In the summer the women and children stay far away from the villages to tend to the livestock This system known as transhumance is similar to the one found in the Alps where the animals are sent during the summer higher up in the mountains the alpine meadows and were kept by the children and women Flora and fauna EditMuch of Zanskar s vegetation is found in the irrigated villages and on the upper slopes which receive more precipitation and where it consists of alpine and tundra species Most impressive are the meadows covered with thousands of edelweiss At the foot of the Gumburanjon mountain blue poppies can be found Crops including barley lentils and potatoes are grown by farmers at the lower elevations Domesticated animals such as the yak dzo sheep horse and dog are found in the region Among the wildlife that can be found in Zanskar are the marmot bear wolf snow leopard bharal alpine ibex wild sheep and goats and the lammergeier Culture EditReligion Edit Row of Chorten or Stupa at the village of Purne Each of the elements that constitute these edifices as well as their color has a symbolic meaning in Tibetan Buddhism Religion in Zanskar tehsil 2011 6 Buddhism 93 81 Islam 5 53 Christianity 0 30 Hinduism 0 17 Jainism 0 09 Others 0 02 Sikhism 0 01 Not Stated 0 07 A very overwhelming majority of Zanskar is Buddhist 7 Almost every village has a local monastery often containing ancient wall paintings and images There are two main branches of Tibetan Buddhism here the Drugpa including Sani Monastery Dzongkhul Stagrimo and Bardan Monastery all loosely affiliated with Stakna in the Indus valley The Gelugpa control Rangdum Monastery Karsha Stongde and Phugtal Monastery which all pay allegiance to the Ngari Rinpoche 8 who has his main seat at Likir Monastery in Ladakh The present emanation of the Ngari Rinpoche is the younger brother of the Dalai Lama 9 Languages Edit Languages of Zanskar Tehsil 2011 10 Ladakhi 99 38 Others 0 62 People living in Zanskar speak Zanskari language of the Ladakhi Balti language group 11 12 It is written using the Tibetan script 13 Monks who have studied outside of Zanskar may know Standard Tibetan Educated people of Zanskar know English as it is a compulsory subject in Indian schools Movies Edit In 2010 the American film director Frederick Marx made a documentary called Journey from Zanskar Narrated by Richard Gere the film tells the story of two monks helping 17 poor children reaching Tibetan schools in India through a difficult and dangerous travel Economy EditLivestock Edit White yak Livestock and especially the yak is of paramount importance in Zanskar Yaks are used to plough the land to thresh the grain to carry heavy loads up to 200 kilograms and their dung not only serves as fertiliser but is also the only heating fuel available in the region They are a vital source of milk and sometimes but rarely of meat The yak s fur is used to make clothes carpets ropes and bed covers Tourism Edit Tourism is probably the major disruption that Zanskar has experienced during recent times The opening of this region to foreigners has brought benefits such as the financing of schools and the restoration of monasteries and roads but has also taken its toll on this fragile mountain environment and its population citation needed The first colour film of life in Zanskar was shot in 1958 by an expedition of three British housewives 14 References EditCitations Edit a b Ladakh based Buddhist association demands district status for Zanskar India Today 4 September 2019 3 000 Demonstrate for Separate District in Sub Zero Temperatures at Kargil The Wire 06 FEB 2020 Ladakh based Buddhist association demands district status for Zanskar India Today September 4 2019 Schettler Margaret amp Rolf 1981 p 150 Zaskar Range mountains Asia Encyclopedia Britannica Retrieved 20 September 2017 Zanskar Population Census India Retrieved 13 September 2020 Paddar Population Census India Retrieved 29 August 2020 Rizvi 1998 p 253 Rizvi 1996 pp 242 242 C 16 Population By Mother Tongue Jammu amp Kashmir Report Office of the Registrar General amp Census Commissioner India Retrieved 29 October 2021 Rather Ali Mohammad September 1999 Kargil The Post War Scenario Journal of Peace Studies International Center for Peace Studies 6 5 6 archived from the original on 1 December 2014 Beek Martijn van Pirie Fernanda 2008 Modern Ladakh anthropological perspectives on continuity and change Brill ISBN 978 90 04 16713 1 OCLC 896146052 CS1 maint multiple names authors list link Zangskari Script Source Retrieved 25 August 2012 Telegraph Co article no free access Bibliography Edit Crook John Osmaston Henry 1994 Himalayan Buddhist Villages Environment Resources Society and Religious Life in Zangskar Ladakh Bristol University of Bristol UK p 866 ISBN 0 86292 386 7 Dezes Pierre 1999 Tectonic and metamorphic Evolution of the Central Himalayan Domain in Southeast Zanskar Kashmir India Memoires de Geologie Doctoral thesis Universite de Lausanne 32 149 ISSN 1015 3578 Gutschow Kim 2004 Being a Buddhist Nun The Struggle for Enlightenment in the Indian Himalayas Harvard University Press Namgail T 2004 Zangskar mystic land Sanctuary Asia 24 44 47 Noble Christina 1991 At Home in the Himalayas London Fontana ISBN 0 00 637499 9 Rizvi Janet 1998 Ladakh Crossroads of High Asia Oxford University Press ISBN 0 19 564546 4 Schettler Margaret amp Rolf 1981 Kashmir Ladakh amp Zanskar South Yarra Victoria Australia Lonely Planet Publications ISBN 0 908086 21 0 Snellgrove D L Skorupsky T 1980 The Cultural Heritage of Ladakh Warminster Aris and Phillips ISBN 0 85668 058 3 Tsering Tobden 1985 Lamas of Zaṅs dkar a collection of manuscript material about the lives of Kun dgaʼ chos legs Bla ma Kar ma and Grub dbaṅ Nag dbaṅ tshe riṅ Gemur Distt Lahul Mkhas grub chen po Dpal Bzad pa rdo rje rnam thar mgur bum Ma rig mun sel dran pai klog phren CS1 maint postscript link Deboos Salome Etre musulman au Zanskar Himalaya indien Editions Universitaires Europeenne 2010 ISBN 978 613 1 52976 4 Boyden Mark Travels In Zanskar A Journey to a Closed Kingdom The Liffey Press Dublin 2013 ISBN 978 1 908308 51 1External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to ZanskarGeology of Zanskar Alexander Csoma de Koros Hungarian scholar traveler to Zanskar Zanskar The housewife explorers who climbed the Himalayas Coordinates 33 29 N 76 50 E 33 483 N 76 833 E 33 483 76 833 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Zanskar amp oldid 1052520622, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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