The valley of Ladakh is situated at quite a high altitude, which varies from one place to the other. Infact, the geographical location of Ladakh ranges from 9,000 ft (2,750 m) high at Kargil to 25,170 ft (7,672m) high at Saser Kangri, in the Karakoram Range. Due to its high altitude, Ladakh experiences a very cold climate, where even the summer temperatures rarely exceed 27 deg C. Due to the high altitude of Ladakh the air is very thin and makes the heat of the sun very severe.
As far as the geography of Leh Ladakh is concerned, the region abounds in physical beauty. Encircled by the Karakoram in the north and the Great Himalayas in the south, it presents a picturesque sight. Now a high-altitude desert, Ladakh was covered by an extensive lake system, at one point of time. The remnants of this system are still found on its southeast plateau of Rupshu and Chushul, in the drainage basins or lakes of Tso-moriri, Tso-kar and Pangong-tso. However, snowfall still remains the main source of water in Ladakh.
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 Pensi La. It is along this track that in 1979 the first and only road in Zanskar was built to connect Padum with the main road from Srinagar into Ladakh. The remoteness of this region also explains why only a few western travellers have visited this area until recent times, the tibetologist Alexander Csoma de Koros in 1823 being probably one of the first. Moreover, because of the recent border conflicts between India and Pakistan or China, Zanskar was declared a restricted area and was reopened to foreigners only in 1974.
Rice is the main crop and fruits like apples, pears, apricots, almonds, walnuts, peaches and cherries grow in abundance. The valley is also rich in forests. Mulberry trees grow in abundance and are the mainstay of silk industry in the Valley.
Summer is pleasant but winter is cold and there is snowfall. It rains from the middle of March to the middle of May in the valley with an annual rainfall of about 75 cms.
Road transport is common in the valley but the river Jhelum still serves as one of the means of transportation. There is also Air Service from Delhi and Jammu to Srinagar and Ladakh.
Ladakh is a part of Jammu & Kashmir State situated in North of India consisting of two districts Leh and Kargil. It is a mountainous desert. This region is separated from the rest of the State by high mountains which are crossed through passes at various points. The lowest pass to Ladakh is Zojila which is at 11,500'. It has an area of 4036 Sq. Km. It is situated between 30 to 35 degree North latitude and 75 to 77 degree East West longitude. It is surrounded by Baramullah, Srinagar and Doda Districts in the South-West, Leh District in the East, Himachal Pradesh in the South and Pakistan in the North-West. The District is divided into four high level natural Valleys namely the Suru Valley, the Drass Valley, the Indus Valley and the Upper Sindh Valley of Kanji Nallah Valley. Zojila and Fotulla passes situated at the height of 3567 and 4192 meters above the sea level are called gateways for Kashmir Valley and Leh District for entry in Kargil District. High peaks of Namikala and Penzila are called the sky pillars of the District.