“Ladakh”, the name itself sends chill down my spine. Well literally and metaphorically both. This place feels isolated, different and unknown to those who have not visited it. All I hear about these days is how people like to travel on their bikes to reach Leh and Ladakh. It’s the new trend I guess.
Ladakh is a region in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Kunlun mountain range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet.
There has been a sudden upsurge of people travelling to Ladakh. So right now I can differentiate between whom have been to Ladakh and tell about its magnificent snow-clad mountains or the gorgeous lakes and the valleys. They say Ladakh will always touch the chords of your heart. Another set that haven’t and explore the most basic questions like “Best Time to visit Ladakh”.
BEST TIMES TO VISIT LADAKH
While you are planning to visit this exotic land you might be wondering what could be the best time to visit this beautiful place. While a few people propose summers to be the best time to visit the place when the climate is most energizing and obliging when the snow has softened and there is a buzz of movement with the brilliant and dynamic Hemis Festival.
Then again there are a few for who winters have their own particular appeal with the snow covered mountains offering some of the best views. And not to forget winter is the time when you can enjoy the most beautiful and adventurous trek in the world- Chadar Trek.
Ladakh like other places has its own charm and each month has its own worth and pious quality.
- DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL TO MID-MAY
In the beginning of April, summer sets in and everything blooms. It’s the season when tourists start coming in to visit in great numbers. The temperature here is 15 degree Celsius maximum and -1 degree Celsius minimum.
Opting for flights would be a good option right now as all roads and passes are not open. Weather is still not warm and sunny yet, so warm clothes are advisable as the sun is also not very friendly.
Rimpochee Airport is the main airport of the area. By late April, the lakes Pangong Tso and Tso Mouiri start to melt, revealing the excellent hues and spectacular sights. Leh will be having a mesmerising weather at this time. Visit monasteries and stupas.
The Srinagar-Leh roadway is opened at this time. Impacts of winter have still not vanished. Cold roads will welcome you to the city. Temperature is maximum 16 degree Celsius and minimum3 degree Celsius. In the beginning of June, the Manali roads open up alongside Rohtang pass. In any case, the beginning 7-10 days are truly not reasonable for travelling since this place encounters snow slides and repeating blockages. Flight is the best mode of travelling at this time.
Famous monasteries like Thiksey Monastery, Shey Monastery, Stondey Monastery and Likir Monastery.
In this month all the street courses to Leh open up and one can go to Leh on the Srinagar-Leh-Manali circuit. June is one of the best times of the year to visit Leh. By mid-June, the snow begins to dissolve thus one can see some of the most beautiful lakes in Ladakh. One can also enjoy the Saka Dawa, Yuru Kabyat, and Hermis Festivals which are held in this month.
If you are visiting by road then reach Ladakh from Kashmir valley through Kargil, which is around 434km. This route remains open from early June to November. 474km long Manali-Leh road is open from mid-June to early October.
- DURING THE MONTH OF JULY TO AUGUST
In this month, all passes and streets to the land that is known for lamas are opened and the land turns exceptionally welcoming, fabulous perspectives, bikers and picture takers heaven. This month is considered as the best time for visiting Ladakh. The whole place is a mixture of white, brown and green which makes it more beautiful.
Also, a lot of festivals are celebrated by ladakis at this time. Stongday, Karsha, Phyang, Sachukul, Karzok, Dkthok and Sani Nasjal Festivals are held amidst these two months. This is also the time when Hemis Festival takes place and it’s grandly celebrated here
- DURING THE MONTHS OF SEPTEMBER TO OCTOBER
Relatively colder than April-June it is nevertheless a good time to travel to Leh Ladakh if you can brave a little dip in temperatures. With the monsoons over the roads are clear once again and day time temperatures are still warm enough for you to enjoy the beautiful spectacle that awaits you at every turn in the road. Nights can be cold so you should go properly armed with thermals and jackets to keep yourself warm at night.
- DURING THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER TO MARCH
Officially termed the “off season”, Leh and Ladakh offers a dark and forbidding landscape during the peak winter months. With only 4-5 hours of sunlight and limited power availability, there is much to deter tourists from trying to brave the unbearable winters of Ladakh. Most hotels and restaurants also down shutters so finding accommodation and food is also going to be a challenge during these months. If once is willing to endure such harsh winters, most of the passes including the Khardung La Pass remain open all year around although crossing these snow filled passes is going to be an adventure in itself.
Ladakh changes colours with each change in seasons and whatever time one chooses to visit, you are bound to be rewarded by some of the most amazing and spectacular sights that nature has to offer.