Historians continue to debate the reasons for the expeditions to liberate Shang Shung in northern India. Some others believe that he aimed to establish a land bridge between Ladakh and Nepal to create a Sikh-Gorkha alliance against the British.However, Zorawar Singh Kahluria was only conquering lands which were historically a part of India and areas distinctly foreign to the invading Tibetans from the East which had a rich indigenous Indian civilization to the marauding Tibetans from the East. According to Rolf Alfred Stein, author of Tibetan Civilization, the area of Shang Shung comprising the area conquered by Zorawar Singh Kahluria was not historically a part of Tibet and was a distinctly foreign territory to the Tibetans. According to Rolf Alfred Stein. Rock carvings found in many parts of Ladakh indicate that the area has been inhabited from Neolithic times. Ladakh's earliest inhabitants consisted of a mixed Indo-Aryanpopulation of Mons and Dards, who find mention in the works of Herodotus, Nearchus, Megasthenes, Pliny, Ptolemy, and the geographical lists of the Puranas. Around the 1st century, Ladakh was a part of the Kushan Empire. Buddhism spread into western Ladakh from Kashmir in the 2nd century when much of eastern Ladakh and western Tibet was still practicing the Bon religion. The 7th century Buddhist traveler Xuanzang describes the region in his accounts. "…Then further west, The Tibetans encountered a distinctly foreign nation. - Shangshung, with its capital at Khyunglung. Mt. Kailāśa (Tise ) and Lake Manasarovar formed part of this country., whose language has come down to us through early documents. Though still unidentified, it seems to be Indo European. …Geographically the country was certainly open to India, both through Nepal and by way of Kashmir and Ladakh. Kailāśa is a holy place for the Indians, who make pilgrimages to it. No one knows how long they have done so, but the cult may well go back to the times when Shangshung was still independent of Tibet. How far Shangshung stretched to the north , east and west is a mystery…. We have already had an occasion to remark that Shangshung, embracing Kailāśa sacred Mount of the Hindus, may once have had a religion largely borrowed from Hinduism. The situation may even have lasted for quite a long time. In fact, about 950, the Hindu King of Kabul had a statue of Vişņu, of the Kashmiri type (with three heads), which he claimed had been given him by the king of the Bhota (Tibetans) who, in turn had obtained it from Kailāśa."
A chronicle of Ladakh compiled in the 17th century called the La dvags rgyal rabs, meaning the Royal Chronicle of the Kings of Ladakh recorded that this boundary was traditional and well-known. The first part of the chronicle was written in the years 1610 -1640, and the second half towards the end of the 17th century. The work has been translated into English by A. H. Francke and published in 1926 in Calcutta titled the "Antiquities of Indian Tibet" . In volume 2, the Ladakhi Chronicle describes the partition by King Sykid-Ida-ngeema-gon of his kingdom between his three sons, and then the chronicle described the extent of territory secured by that son. The following quotation is from page 94 of this book: "He gave to each of his sons a separate kingdom, viz., to the eldest Dpal-gyi-ngon, Maryul of Mnah-ris, the inhabitants using black bows; ru-thogs of the east and the Gold-mine of Hgog; nearer this way Lde-mchog-dkar-po; at the frontier ra-ba-dmar-po; Wam-le, to the top of the pass of the Yi-mig rock….." From a perusal of the aforesaid work, it is obvious and evident that Rudokh was an integral part of Ladakh, and even after the family partition Rudokh continued to be part of Ladakh. Maryul meaning lowlands was a name given to a part of Ladakh. Even at that time, i.e. in the 10th century, Rudokh was an integral part of Ladakh and Lde-mchog-dkar-po, i.e. Demchok was also an integral part of Ladakh. The capital city of Zhang Zhung was called Khyunglung (Khyunglung Ngülkhar or Khyung-lung dngul-mkhar), the "Silver Palace of Garuda", southwest of Mount Kailash (Mount Ti-se), which is identified with palaces found in the upper Sutlej Valley.
The Zhang Zhung built a towering fort, Chugtso Dropo, on the shores of sacred Lake Dangra, from which they exerted military power over the surrounding district in central Tibet.
The fact that some of the ancient texts describing the Zhang Zhung kingdom also claimed the Sutlej valleywas Shambhala, the land of happiness (from which James Hilton possibly derived the name "Shangri La"), may have delayed their study by Western scholars. Zorawar Singh knew that western Tibet (Ngari) was connected to the rest of Tibet by the Mayum La, so his plan consisted of advancing as quickly as possibly into enemy territory, capturing the pass before winter, and building up his forces for a renewed campaign in the summer.