Ladakh in Winter in Pictures

When you get to visit Ladakh within the first ten days of a new year you know it started on the right note. Ladakh is really special for me. It was the first place I wrote about on this blog! My life looked up after I visited Ladakh in 2005, I am hoping for something similar after this visit a decade later! To begin with here is Ladakh in winter in pictures!

The Hosts- Grand Dragon Ladakh

The Grand Dragon Ladakh

My hosts for this trip were The Grand Dragon Ladakh. With the temperatures in minus for most of our stay, I appreciated my centrally heated room a lot! ย This post is an overview of my trip. You will get to read in detail about the various aspects of visiting Ladakh in winter later! I am so grateful to the Grand Dragon and their PR partners for providing me a fabulous start to 2016!

The View from My Room!

My room faced the Sotk Range of mountains. This was the view I woke up to daily. As Leh is at the height of 11,500 feet we took the first day easy and just lounged about in the hotel!

Day 1- Gustor Festival at Spituk Monastery, Shanti Stupa,ย Leh

The Gustor Festival at Spituk Monastery, Leh

One of the highlights of our trip was attending the first day of the Gustor festival at the Spituk Monastery. In a crowd of thousands there must have been about 40 odd tourists, out of which our group contributed 14 members! The mask dance festival was attended primarily by the locals!

Shanti Stupa, Leh

Sunset at the Shanti Stupa, Leh

Our second stop for the day was at the Shanti Stupa in the evening. With the temperatures firmly in minus, it was cold! I was happy to head back to the heated car and the heated hotel!

Day 2- Chilling, Alchi and Lamayuru

Zanskar River in Winter!

We had a long day on Day 2 and I was looking forward to it! Our first stop was supposed to be Chilling, the starting point of the Chadder Trek. But as the Border Roads Organization (BRO) was blasting about 10 km before Chilling we had to give up our quest but not before we saw the beautiful Zanskar River trying hard to freeze.

Lamayuru, Ladakh

Looking out to Lamayuru Village!

We stopped at Lamayuru Village first. It has a fabulous monastery where we were the only visitors! It is beautiful as any village in Ladakh!

Alchi, Ladakh

Alchi, Ladakh

Alchi is one of the oldest monastery in Ladakh. It has four complexes with stunning paintings on its walls. To preserve it, no photography is allowed inside it.

Beautiful Vistas on Day 2


Day two was equally memorable for the beautiful landscapes we saw all along our drive. We gave the drivers a very tough time, asking them to stop almost at every bend! This was somewhere near Lamayuru!

Indus River near Alchi, Ladakh

Our young driver Tashi was extremely patient with us. On this day I was sharing the car with fellow bloggersย Swati and Sam and we had a wonderful time!

Day 3- Thiksey and Chemdey Monasteries

A Young Lama at the Morning Prayers, Thiksey Monastery

We attended the morning prayers at the Thiksey Monastery to start the Day 3. While this was not the first occasion when I attended the prayers at a monastery it was certainly a first in the winter! It was followed by the breakfast at a local village nearby.

Chemdey Monastery, Ladakh

The Chemdey Monastery, Ladakh

We shared the Chemdey Monastery with a few locals. There were no tourists other than us! It was certainly cold but it was a pleasure to have almost the whole Ladakh to us!

Our last official stop was at the home of a local oracle. But we made many unofficial stops while coming back to the hotel!

This in nutshell was my first trip of 2016. I am blessed that I got to see winter in Ladakh with my base at the luxurious Grand Dragon Hotel. I will write separate, detailed posts on each of the aspects of this cherished trip. But to begin with, I could not resist showcasing the pictures from the entire trip!

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69 thoughts on “Ladakh in Winter in Pictures”

  1. Atmospheric photos! I am so jealous ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I am so happy for you! Ladakh is still on my bucket list…. never managed to visit when I was in India.

  2. the photographs are nice and i hope that you had a great tour ma’am. But one feedback i have for all outsider is that they often take the picture of beautiful landscapes and embellish them with many adjectives. Although i appreaciate it, but ladakh is also about the harsh winter where people have face a lot problems. It is not heaven as many outsider depicted to the outside world, It is also a place as other part of the world where people do have many problems. The latest problem facing by ladakh is the sky rocketting air fare they have to pay to travel outside ladakh. Due to the closure of roads owing to snowfall, people have no choice rather than plane. Now think of the poor, who cant afford to pay the travel expanse of 20k one way have to suffer. Many poor patient lost thier lives coz of this and many poor student unable to appear in many competitive exams. These are just some of problems. So ladakh is not only about big manasteries and mountains. And i suggest people to also talks about all these problems in your travel experience rather than sticking to the old jargon of romanticizing and exoticizing Ladakh.

    • Hi Stanzin,

      Many thanks for bringing the perspective that only a local can bring. When I saw your FB message I offered if you would write a guest post for my blog. I am not sure if you saw the message. I am making that same offer again, write a post for us, educate us. Your input is much valued.

      • Hi Mriduladi,

        I don’t know of your acquaintance with Stanzin Stamdin, how you met him etc.. but reading through his comments, I totally hear him.. we outsiders enjoy a place, share pics & stories without understanding the ground realities and adding a big footprint for the experience.. one of my goals when I travel these days is to understand a place and its people better and to do so, I spend atleast part if not all of my trip with locals.. may not be possible when you are on a ‘sponsored tour’..

        • Hi Divya,

          I did not meet Stamzin, other than virtually. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, which gave me more food for thought.

  3. Pictures are very amazing and seems these picture are calling me . Laddakh becomes paradise in winter if you dare to visit in winter.

  4. Hi Mridula must say nice pictures .Iam going in feb for snow leopard trek in rumbhak valley just want sme information about leh as am gng there first time .howz the market in leh town do they have snow trekking equipment shops in there.

    • Hi Viresh,
      I have not trekked in winter in Ladakh, so I asked a friend (Neelima Vallangi and here is what she said:
      “Leh market’s pretty good. I haven;t but you can rent/buy almost all the equipment there for much cheaper prices. Just remember to keep 2 days extra to procure the equipment because the market is closed on certain days. One can also talk to their guide about this and he’ll be the best person to tell if there’s anything to be bought beforehand.”

      Hope this helps!

  5. Wow… I have been reading travel blogs and encoutering that lake zaansi was almost listening to some legendary charactor. Lovely photos… great you had a great start to 2016 being at Ladakh… and great you enjoyed the winter… I just can feel the Monastries vibe… peace and tranquility and niceness of locals… I hope this place stay pure does not get affected due to touristy activities… You know many rivers of rivers are getting spoilt due to dam constructions… its sad that people exploit and spoil beauty of nature that is so beautiful and which otherwise gives lot of joy to visitors.


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