Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Himalayan Seasons I: Ladakh & Zanskar

Approaching storm, Leh Palace
This is a eight part essay on the seasons in the Himalayas one part every week. The first one starting today is on Ladakh and Zanskar.

Mid December to March
It is peak winter with temperatures in Leh down to -30C on some nights! It is the time for the Chadar Trek usually in late Jan/Feb. The flights from Delhi are running and some hotels and guest houses are open in Leh. The Indus valley is usually open for vehicles. Awesome light and clarity for photography! Some of the monastery festivals are held at this time - Spituk, Stok, Likir and Matho have festivals in February 2013!

April and May
The first spring would probably come in late April. From Mid April the weather is suitable for jeep safaris as the warmer days would melt some of the snow and make the passes feasible. The weather would still be cold and expect freak snow storms even in May! It is a good time to visit as the summer tourists are yet to descend on the Indus!

June to September
These four months are the peak season. The Manali-Leh road and the Srinagar- Leh road are both open. The Pensi La pass to Zanskar usually opens in mid June.  In some years, freak snowstorms have closed the road for a few days during this period. The valleys are green in June-Aug becoming brown with the approaching autumn in Sept. Late Aug to mid Sept is  a wonderful trekking  time and good for the high pass crossings – Tso Moriri to Kibber, Across Zanskar, Rumtse to Tso Moriri etc.  It is high season so air fares are  all up and for larger groups hotels need to be booked as well.

October to Mid December
 There are not many tourists at this time. Leh is in a shut down mode from mid October. The late winter sometimes makes October a good month for jeep safaris. Trekking is usually ruled out at this time except for the intrepid! This season usually sees few visitors.

Photography Locations
Here are some of the good photography locations:

  • The Shanti Stupa at dusk in Leh
  • Tso Moriri lake in autumn when the sheep and goats graze on the rich pastureland.
  • Overnight at Lamayuru monastery staying at the monastery guest house.
  • The sand dunes of the Nubra valley
  • The view from the top of Thikse monastery in  the early morning when the lamas are at prayer.

For an overview of the region please do visit my Ladakh and Zanskar photo galleries.

1 comment:

  1. Hiiii…..

    I appreciate the ideas and This is very nice article and have great information but also A superb collection of seasonal camping holidays set in stunning wilderness across India <a is all about positioning you at the right location, at the right time so that you can capture the best action across the Indian subcontinent.



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