Tibetan Buddhism is the main religion in Ladakh and is followed by the majority of the population; Tibetan is the spiritual language of Ladakh. Irrespective of the rugged terrain and remote inaccessible areas of Ladakh, lamas and monks passed through them and built monasteries aka gompas all over the place. There are innumerable monasteries in Ladakh, some in ruins while others are still in inhabited, running as educational and religious centres. Monasteries have for long held an important position in Ladakh. Families used to send their youngest son/s to a monastery to live and to study, knowing that the local community took care of the monks and provided food. In return the monks took care of weddings, funerals and other important ceremonies and rituals. The tradition of sending a son to a monastery also helped to control population growth. Ladakh is one of the main centres of Tibetan Buddhism outside Tibet, and is sometimes called Little Tibet.
Portrait photographs of Buddhist monks in Matt Hahnewald's