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Changthang
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Changthang, simply meaning Northern Plateau in Tibetan, is a high altitude plateau in western and northern Tibet extending into South Eastern Ladakh, with vast highlands and giant lakes. From Eastern Ladakh Changthang stretches approximately 1600 km east into Tibet, as far as the state of Qinghai. All of it is geographically part of Tibetan plateau. It is the home of the Changpa nomads.

The climate of Changthang is harsh and unpredictable. The summers are warm but short and thunder storms can occur at any time of year, often with hail. The winters are cold and Arctic like, despite the latitude, due to the high elevation.The people of the Changthang are nomadic pastoralists, they are known as 'Changpa', for 'northerners,' or 'Drukpa' for 'nomads' in Tibetan. As of 1989 there were half a million nomads living in Changthang. Unlike many other nomadic groups the Changpa are not under pressure from settled farmers as the vast majority of land they inhabit is too inhospitable for farming.The economy of the region is based around the livestock of the Changpa, and the most important resource is the plants the animals graze on. The movement of the Changpa over one year limits the impact that their animals have on the grazing lands, the grasses of which are dead for 8 - 9 months of the year, and provide poor fodder during that time. Unlike many other nomadic pastoralists the Changpa do not move from one climatic region to another; this allows them to move shorter distances in many cases, in the range of about 10 - 40 miles. Migratory routes are established and followed year after year, staying in the same encampments each year, often in camps that have stone walls for corals and for sheltering the tents. Wealthier nomads may have buildings for storage and living in for the part of the year they spend at that encampment.

In addition to changing pastures, there are numerous other techniques developed by the Changpa to even out the periods of surpluses and shortages. Dairy products are converted into less perishable forms (like butter and cheese) during the summer when the livestock are producing high levels of milk. Animals are slaughtered early in the winter, after fattening up in the summer and while the weather is conducive to storage.Trade has played an important role for the Changpa as they are not able to produce all the goods they consume. Salt, meat, live animals, wool, and unprocessed cashmere are traded for basics such as grain, cooking pots, and other metal implements, as well as more modern goods.Only a small part of Changthang crosses the border into Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is, however, on a historically important route for travellers journeying from Ladakh to Lhasa, and now has many different characteristics due to being part of India.

As in the rest of Ladakh, Changthang has been experiencing many socio-economical developments since the late Twentieth Century. Ladakh is one of the regions most exposed to international mass tourism in India. Centuries-old cultural and social fabrics are now changing rapidly, influenced by consumerist and modern lifestyles. This is becoming a source of both concern and hope for the populace of the region. Another major influence in the region is Tibetan settlement due to migration caused by the Chinese takeover. The settlement was first established in 1963 with almost 3000 residents but today has more than 7000 settlers. For administrative purpose, the Ladakh settlement is divided into two, Sonamling and Changthang.

The Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary is a house for many rare Flora and Fauna of Ladakh, which are well cared for in this wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is located at a high altitude in Ladakh district of Jammu Kashmir.Changthang wildlife sanctuary is surrounded by two large and world famous water lakes that are Tsomoriri and Pangong Tso.Tso-Moriri is one of the huge mountain lakes in the southeastern part of Ladakh. Karzok village is situated on the South West bank of this lake and it's the world's highest inhabited village.The flora and fauna of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary has natural grasslands and a wide variety of more than two hundred species of wild plants that grow in higher pasture of this area and most of which is edible by animals.

Tsomoriri: It's counted among the highest lakes in the world. Tsomoriri is spread in an area of 120 km2, with maximum depth of 40 m and situated at an altitude of 4000 - 5000 m. In November 2002, the lake was designated as a Ramsar site.Pangong Tso: Situated at a height of around 4,250 m, Pangong Tso covers an area of 134 km (from India to China). Water is salty and in spite of that during winter, water freezes.
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