The flight into Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is an unforgettable experience - over the dramatic expanse of the Himalayas - for Ladakh straddles four main ranges - the great Himalayan, Zanskar, Ladakh and the Karakoram. This is the highest inhabited region in India and the River Indus with its tributaries, slice their way through the ranges. Remote though it is, Ladakh has never been totally isolated. Over the centuries the trade route from India to central Asia passed through this area undeterred by its high passes and desert landscape. Caravans carrying spices, brocades, pearls, carpets and more mundane merchandise like salt and tea took just two months to cover the distance from Amritsar in the Punjab to the central Asian towns of Varkand and Khotan! Leh and Kargil on this ancient route developed then into centres of trade.