Ladakh in Winters – A totally different place
It’s an experience of a land and its inhabitants that no traveller will ever forget – Ladakh in winters, nestled in the Himalayan Ranges, is where some of the oldest rivers flow, where the bluest lakes adorn the cold desert, where the snow leopard, yaks and ibex roam and where the gentlest people thrive on a harsh terrain!
While the summer season is a pleasant time to enjoy Ladakh, it is your winters season that will allow you to experience the true Ladakhi life, the challenge of living at a -20 degrees Celsius, the warm and nourishing food and the chance to earn the badge of a serious traveller.
Here are our 11 reasons why you shouldn’t miss Ladakh in Winters:
- Walk Over the Zanskar River: Famously called Chadar Trek only happens in Ladakh in Winters and for only a short period of 20-30 days, the Zanskar River makes a path of ice for you to tread on, explore the Zanskari culture, camp in caves and experience the most unique trek in the world. The lithe ibex atop a ledge will stare amusedly, while you’re gingerly setting foot on the icy path!
- Take the Winter Flight: Do book your window seat on the airplane to get a view of the majestic Snow covered Himalayan ranges, glistening in the morning sun (since all Leh flights fly early mornings) and the lands below dusted with white- a frozen spectacle, awaiting your arrival.
- Admire Frozen Waterfalls: The waterfalls that were cascading down in summer stand frozen in time and peering into those crystal droplets reflect a host of colors and emotions as you partake in nature’s wondrous winter miracles.
- Walk Over Pangong Tso: It’s in these few weeks that you can actually waltz your way around the frozen blue lake at -30 degrees Celsius. Getting there early will be a good idea and you can get the most out of a day tour to Pangong Tso and return in time to warm soup and a comfortable bed in Leh.
- Play Ice Hockey: From the time its starts snowing in December until March, the residents and visitors in Ladakh play hockey with a passion. Local as well as international matches are on and you will find the rink brimming with ice skaters of every age. This is the only season you get be a part of the Ice Hockey and maybe score a goal or two.
- Sight Snow Leopard: Known as the “Ghost of the Mountains”, the snow leopard gives you a chance only in the winter when he’s out hunting the Blue sheep for his dinner. Seeming quite aware, intimidated only by huge camera tripods too close, you can catch this elusive creature dozing or guarding its kill. The plenty of game and the growing tourists have made this Asian Beauty somewhat habituated to its admirers.
- Get Cosy in the Ladakhi Kitchen: It’s in this biting cold season that the steaming bowl of Thupka can be really enjoyed along with some famed momos. For a decent price you can have a full five course Ladhaki meal. A Ladhaki kitchen in winter is a place not only to tuck in on good food but also where one can get cosy in a sleeping bag near the hearth.
- Visit Drass – 2nd Coldest Place on Earth: The Dards and Baltis inhabit the second coldest place on the planet situated in the Kargil district at 10,990 ft. Snowstorms and ferocious winds are known to cover the villages. But a serious traveller will not miss the opportunity to witness survival by the inhabitants at -45 degrees Celsius sitting around warm ‘chullahs’ and ‘bukharis’ making the best of rotis of barley and mutton stew.
- Get Best value for Money: While flight costs and the accommodation costs in summer are soaring, the winter sees the Ladakhis welcoming you into very nominal rate but don’t forget to book your hotel before your arrival as most of the hotels that remain closed in winter. Even the markets are delightfully cheap and it’s a pleasure picking up stones and pearls at slashed rates.
- Enjoy Colourful Festivals: If you think snow and white is all the color that is going to dominate Ladakh in winters, you’re in for a real surprise. Almost all the festivals fall in winters and the monasteries are packed with masked lamas, locals in fineries and excited photographers dancing to the accompaniment of the rhythmic drums and the trumpet horn, making up a colorful spectacle.
- Hanging out with the Locals: You can only experience a place when you’ve spent time with the locals and winter is the time to spend time chatting up with these gentle folk so full of life and warmth in contrast to the stark cold. In fact hanging out with the locals will allow you a peek into their simple life and philosophy and give you a perspective on your own.
Armed with warm clothes, good trekking shoes, glares, a backpack, a camera and a traveler’s heart you’re ready for the amazing adventure of Ladakh in winter.
We will be in Leh for Chadar Trek If you are interested then send us a Query.