Ladakh is the highest plateau of state of Kashmir with much of it being over 3,000 m (9,800 ft). It extends from the Himalayan to the Kunlun Ranges and includes the upper Indus River valley. The Indus River is the backbone of Ladakh; all the major places historically and currently such as Shey, Leh, Basgo, and Tingmosgang are situated close to the river.
The Ladakh Range has no major peaks; its average height is a little less than 6000 metres, and few of its passes are less than 5000 m. Within Ladakh it forms the northern boundary wall of the Indus valley, though when the river enters present-day Indian-controlled Ladakh at Demchok, some 250 km south-east of Leh, it is actually flowing along the foot of the northern flank of these granite mountains, which it crosses by a great gorge close to its confluence with the Hanle River. The Panggong range runs parallel to the Ladakh range some 100 km northwest from Chushul, along the southern shore of the Panggong Lake. It is divided from the main range by the Tangtse river. Its highest range is 6700 m, and the northern slopes are heavily glaciated.