Embrace Foundation is a non-profit,
educational foundation set up to
create better understanding
between people of different
religions, cultures, traditions and
Embrace Foundation works to bring
leaders and scholars of world-wide
religions, cultures and philosophies
together by sponsoring forums,
seminars, lectures and developing
an international exchange program.
Embrace Foundation is particularly
concerned with reaching the world
public through the media.
Embrace Foundation is an all
volunteer organization. All
donations go directly to programs.
Embrace Foundation does not and
has never given permission to any
outside organization to solicit or
receive contributions on our behalf.
All donations should be made to
Embrace Foundation only via
Paypal or by mail. All donations are
tax deductible. A receipt will be
emailed to you. Please click on the
Pay Pal link below to Donate.
Embrace encourages all who can
do so, to learn about other
traditions and cultures by traveling
as “Grassroots Diplomats.” We
hope that people every where
become life long students of our
“ In every man there is something
wherein I may learn of him, and in
that I am his pupil.”
TRAVELING IN LADAKH - INDIA
The Military, Lack of Cell Phone & Internet Access
Possibly the first thing any visitor to Leh should know is that Leh is militarized on it’s outskirts due
not to internal strife but borders. Relations between China and India are on again off again. If you
arrive by vehicle, you will pass through a military base to get into the city. Other than that, there is
very little contact between the military and town. It is unlikely that any visitor will even see a soldier
once they get settled in Leh.
However, it is due to the military that Leh pretty much has no cell phone access or internet except at
a couple of internet cafes. Internet chips/ numbers purchased in Srinagar will not work in Leh or
anywhere else in India.
Locals of Leh with an ID. can get a government approved chip and phone number but they are
incredibly slow and unreliable. Conversations are probably not guaranteed private.
This means that it is entirely possible when you book a room at an inn, guest house or hotel via the
internet, that no one at the hospitality location you’ve selected has received your reservation. Also,
booking any hikes, tours etc., generally need to be confirmed in person.
Cultural, Spiritual Demographics
The spiritual demographics of Leh are: Buddhists (Vajrayana) who were in Leh in the 3rd cen. It is
generally recognized by historians that large numbers of Tibetan Buddhists came to Leh in the 7th
century due to harsh political conditions. Ladahki Buddhists have their own language but his
Holiness the Dalai Lama is their spiritual head like all Tibetans, Buddhists of Nepal, Mongolia,
Southwestern Russia and Sikkim. Shi’ah Muslims are second in population and included in the
Muslim population there is a smaller number of Sunni Muslims. Both Muslims are recent arrivals to
Leh since 1982. There were almost no Muslims in Leh when the Embrace founders were there in
Refugees From Violence in Kashmir
Since the “troubles” in Kashmir, many Muslims have fled to other parts of India and no doubt a
number of them found the tourist area of Leh much like that of Srinagar at the height of its beauty
and successful tourist industry. They are refugees also. Most Kashmiris don’t want to have
anything to do with violence.
Some Shi'ah may have arrived from Kargil which is part of the Ladakh District, as well as from
Kashmir. The tourist industry is a powerful incentive to relocate and try to improve one’s life with a
better job, particularly for those who were involved with the tourist industry in Kashmir before the
Lastly, there are smaller numbers of Christian’s originating from the Morovian Church which has
been in Leh since 1885 and Sikhs.
Downtown Leh has a well planned, very large, attractive outdoor “walking” mall (no vehicles). All the
shops and restaurants along it are charming and well taken care of. No doubt for those who have
perused the shops in Srinagar along Dal Lake in earlier years, you will recognize some of the
proprietors sitting outside ships offering antiques and handicrafts in Leh. Among the mall’s assets
are at least two bookstores, a Buddhist Temple featuring Padmasambava and the Imam Bargah.
Also there are several cafes and a couple of restaurants offering outdoor tables and stunning views
of the Himalayas. There are many, many more shops, bakeries etc…
The mall would be the perfect place for a vibrant intercultural fair, with musicians, dancers, and
demonstrations exhibiting the creating of arts and crafts … something that would bring people from
all over to witness.