Ladakh in Winters
Sure, there is so much more about Ladakh than what we have experienced so far visiting Ladakh in summers. The lakes, clear blue sky and the Milky Way in the night are second to none. Ladakh is equally beautiful, serene and magnificent in winters. It is quieter and there are less people compared to the road trip summer season and you only tourists you see are the trekkers who visit to trek the frozen Zanskar (Chadar Trek), the Markha Valley or photography enthusiasts trying to spot a snow leopard.
The main market and most of the hotels, restaurants and cafes are closed. The temperatures go down to -5 to -15 degrees (a usual day) surely making the day to day life difficult. The taps, pipes and tanks are all frozen and so one has to heat up the drinking water as well.
Now these subzero temperatures also bring along best of nature as well. The frozen water bodies are a sight. When you walk on the frozen Pangong Tso, you realize it is actually beautiful in winters (to me, probably more than summers). One can actually drive or walk on the frozen lake. It is incredibly beautiful. If you are in Ladakh around late January, you will experience almost all the water bodies frozen and as mentioned earlier, it is incredibly beautiful.
We were all there for our chadar trek expedition with Wanderers and we kept 2 days in the beginning and 2 days in the end free for us to explore Ladakh in winters. I will be writing about the Chadar experience with Wanderers but in this blog, I wanted to just share with you all that it is equally important to explore Ladakh in Winters because there is (actually) no place like it.
We also went to see the Indian Army team playing Ice Hockey on a frozen water body close to Leh. I had absolutely no clue about Ice Hockey and so I was thrilled watching the Team play. It was so amazing that we all spent half a day just watching them play. While we all have reasons to complain when we get up in the morning, our soldiers try to figure out how to manage their day and follow their passion irrespective of how challenging the times are. Here is a quick view of an Ice Hockey match. If you are a nature lover, it is an amazing (for sure difficult if you are not equipped properly) to camp by the frozen river. Talking quickly about Chadar Trek and the frozen Zanskar here (as I said, the blog on Chadar will follow) but just a quick view of how amazing it is to camp by the flowing river when the sides (or the most part) of it are frozen. The temperatures go as low as -20 in the Zanskar valley and the winds make it difficult but at the end of the day it is all worth it. By the way, parts of Indus are also frozen and for long stretches as well. It is that almost all the water bodies are frozen making Ladakh a completely serene experience.
The zanskar and Indus confluence at Nimoo is a magnificent sight as well. One should experience that in winters. Here is the sight from Zanskar and Indus confluence.
Overall, I would like to say it was incredible to be with Wanderers at Ladakh in winters. I did some treks with them too and I thank Wanderers team for all their hospitality and the great times we had together.
Happy to be associated with Wanderers!!