National Geographic : 1963 May
KODACHROMES U) NAlUONALkLEU[ HAYMIL, Chushul airstrip becomes a no man's land separating Indian troops entrenched in bunkers from Chinese in the distant hills. Shellfire last fall closed the strip, one of the world's highest at 14,235 feet. Indian Outpost Defends a Forbidding Desert; Sky-high Passes Command a Road to Leh Indian Army tents pock tawny dunes beneath barren Ladakh mountains. In the paralyzing winter cold, skin sticks to metal, and oil refuses to flow. Frequent freezes and thaws pulverize granite to dust. Brilliant summer sun lifts temperatures above 100° F. Round ger, or tent, at lower center, a type used for cen turies by Mongolian herders, came to Ladakh by way of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Photographs of gers in a March, 1962, article on Outer Mongolia impressed an Indian brigadier. He noted the practicality of the prefab felt-and-frame homes, which the nomads assemble in less than an hour without nails or bolts. Studying the magazine's step-by-step pictures, he had a ger built and 680 found it an ideal shelter.