Every year, at the onset of the winter season and holidays, many tourists and travellers take a week or a fortnight break to get cosy and enjoy the beauty of the season. Though there are plenty of places in India, to chill and have fun, Ladakh is one place where tens of thousands of tourists flock into each year, from across the globe. It is rightly so, because the ride along the stunning Himalayan peaks, the snow-capped mountains, the monasteries, and the wind chills make Ladakh the perfect winter getaway.
For the unknown, Ladakh may come off as an offbeat destination. Nonetheless, it is not!
How To Reach
By air: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport at Leh is the nearest airport to Ladakh, and it is well connected to other major cities in India. The airport is 2 km from Leh town.
By train: Ladakh is an isolated location. Therefore, the region doesn't have a railway station. However, Jammu Tawi is the nearest railway station, about 700 km away from Ladakh.
By road: There are two ways by road - via Srinagar and Manali. The distance to Ladakh is 434 km from Srinagar and 490 km from Manali. The roadways are well connected to the other cities in India.
Best Time To Visit
The off-season starts from late November to the end of March. Though most of the areas would be covered in snow. Ladakh during winter comes alive in a completely new light.
Why Should You Visit Ladakh In Winter?
Here are a few plausible reasons to visit Ladakh in Winter.
1. Ladakh is an idyllic winter destination
Ladakh is located amid the vast Himalayan range, and it is wrapped in the white blanket of snow, well throughout the year. However, during winter, Ladakh in its harshest but purest form comes alive in a completely new light. Offering many homestays with basic amenities, you can spend this time in the year with the locals and enjoy the real hospitality of Ladakh. Therefore, winter is the best time to witness the true beauty of the roof of the world.
2. Visit Ladakh for snow-capped peaks and waterfalls
This frozen paradise, wholly covered with snow during winter, provides a fairytale avatar to vegetation and waterfalls. With frozen waterfalls and white trees, Ladakh turns into a land of white monochrome, offering a natural white background for a photoshoot.
3. Get to know the locals
The people of Ladakh, clearly follow a motto, i.e., to work hard, collect bounties in summer and rest during the winter. It is, therefore, an excellent time to mingle and know the local culture. The residents of Ladakh are soft-spoken, polite and always adorn a smile on their face. The schools and shops are shut during this time. Thus, winter is the best time to visit Ladakh to know the local culture.
4. Ladakh is a photographer’s paradise
Ladakh is a natural masterpiece that showcases attractions worth applauds. With incredible landscapes, where high altitude mountains meet the azure blue skies. Winter is the time when Ladakh comes alive. From mountains & monasteries to shining stars & time lapses, Ladakh is a holy grail for nature lovers, city dwellers and photographers.
5. You can have an economical trip
Since winter is considered to be an off-season, the fares (accommodation, travel or food) are relatively cheap. You can have an inexpensive trip and enjoy everything at a very reasonable cost. You can also expect flight rates to hit rock bottom during winter!
6. Ladakh is less crowded during winter
Usually, tens of thousands of people visit Ladakh during summer. And because of this high travel percentage during summer, you can expect the place to be filled with many tourists and travellers. However, winter is an offbeat time to visit Ladakh. Therefore, you can expect to have a much-required private time with your loved ones. Thus, making it a perfect destination to travel during winter.
7. You can spot wildlife better
The high slopes of Ladakh have a diverse range of animals and birds. That includes 225 species of birds and many fierce cats like lynx and snow leopard, to name a few. And because conditions are too harsh, these wild cats move to lower altitudes. Thus, providing a better chance for tourists and wildlife photographers to spot and click a picture or two of these exotic snow animals.
8. You can get the best view of monasteries
Spotting colourful flags atop a snow-clad mountain or hilly area is one of the most common sights in Ladakh. And these flags represent the territory guarded by the monasteries. Yes, Ladakh has many monasteries and are open to tourists in winter. These monasteries look breath-taking amid the background of snow-capped mountains and surreal glaciers. They still uphold the ancient Buddhist heritage with grace and dignity.
9. Witness winter festivals in Ladakh
Unlike festivals across India, which is scattered strategically around the year. In Ladakh, the majority of the local festivals are celebrated during the winter season. Ladakhi Losar, Stok Monastery Festival, Thiksay Gustor, Spituk Gustor Stok Monastery Festival, Dosmoche, and Matho Monastery festival are a few local festivals that fall in winters. It is one of those of times when spiritual gurus from many monasteries visit villages to share wisdom and blessings. So, you can enjoy Ladakh's festive side and relish some of the best food Ladakh has to offer during winter.
10. Rekindle your romance in the wintry cold
There is no better feeling than expressing your love while you snuggle with your loved ones, and there is a better place to re-ignite the spark than in Ladakh. Trekking, along the hostile environment at an altitude of 19,000 ft with someone you love will undoubtedly create some lasting memories. In addition to that, the inclusion of starry nights, camp fires and the warmth of each other is something that you will not forget till the last breath of your life.