Know the Best Month to Visit Ladakh

The Himalayan View in Ladakh

The image shows stunning Ladakh scenery

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

What is the first place that pops into your mind when we talk about adventure in India? Definitely, Ladakh will be on that list! For many, Ladakh is a dream destination. No number of trips to this place is ever enough. Mother Nature truly flaunts the most admirable and impressive views in this valley. To experience the fascinating spread of this cold desert is one of its kind experience. While you are planning a much-awaited trip to this land, of course, you may wonder what is the best time to visit Leh Ladakh. 

 

We are here to help you do exactly that! Some feel summer is the best time to visit Ladakh when the temperatures are comfortable and obliging and the snow melts signalling a welcome. But there are also other people who feel winter has an amazing feel and is a time for more adventure in Ladakh. Some of the best views of crisp blue skies in contrast with the snow-blanketed peaks are what one can enjoy the most at this time. 

 

Alright, to make it easier for you, we shall give a detailed account of the seasons of Ladakh. Read on to know the best month to visit Ladakh:

Summer months in Ladakh (March-June)

Pangong Lake in Ladakh

The image shows colour flags near Pangong Lake in the summer

Image courtesy: offbeatracks.com

 

Summer in Ladakh sets in April and is the time for the valley to welcome a flock of tourists to the most vibrant culture and heritage. The temperature ranges from 15 degrees Celsius to -1 degrees Celsius. The heavy snowfall stops at this time and summer is all around. 

 

By late April, the Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso also start melting exposing their glistening and startling views. The skies are bright and blue at this time but be sure to carry lots of sunscreens as direct sunrays can cause sunburns. Visit the vast number of monasteries like Shey, Hemis, Thiksey, Alchi and stupas which is the best thing to do in these months. 

 

The image shows a Buddha statue in the monastery in Ladakh

Image courtesy: sonalikphotography

 

The month of June is one of the best months to visit Leh by bike as all the road routes open up to Leh at this time. The Hemis festival, Saka Dawa, and Yuru Kabyat are the famous festivals that are held at this time in Ladakh. The Hemis festival is celebrated with brilliant masked performances, vibrant costumes and unique music which is simply unmissable. You can also interact with the warm and welcoming local Ladakhis as they are very open and hospitable towards tourists. 

 

Summer is the time that you can enjoy Ladakh in totality. Ladakh is sure to touch many chords and tickle your travel senses in the best way. It is the quintessential dream destination for many where you can be undisturbed to unwind with nature. 

 

There are a lot of activities that you can do in the summertime in Ladakh. Whether you are travelling solo, with your partner or in a family or group of friends, there is something for everyone here. Read on to know more:

 

Attend Summer Festivals

Ladakh India July 2017 Hemis Tsechu Tantric Buddhist Ceremony Hemis Stock Image

The image shows masked dance or Chham dance in a monastic festival

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

To really experience the Ladakhi culture in the best possible way, we advise you to attend the summer festivals of Ladakh. These monastic festivals showcase the vibrant and elegant Buddhist culture. The mask or Chham dance is a beautiful spectacle where monks dress up in colourful masks and robes to perform the dance. Attending a monastery festival or a monastic festival is a must-to-do when in Ladakh in summer. 

Attend a monastic festival to witness the colourful and vibrant culture of Ladakh. 

Also, check out our detailed blog on Ladakh

Ladakh- A Himalayan Spectacle of Serenity – Offbeat Tracks Blog (offbeatracks.com)

Summer Adventure Activities

Ladakh is synonymous with adventure and it is one destination that has a lot to offer to adventure enthusiasts. The summer season has a number of activities that you can undertake and tickle all your adventure cells. You can enjoy river rafting in Zanskar, Nimu and Padum, trekking in the Nubra valley, mountain biking in Zanskar and Karakoram mountain ranges, Jeep Safari in Nubra valley, Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri lake and Zanskar valley, Quad biking in Nubra valley and Magnetic hill etc. There is so much more that Ladakh has to offer that the adventure never ends here. 

Meet the Rare Bactrian Camels 

Camels in Nubra vally, Ladakh

The rare double-humped camels in Nubra Valley

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

One thing that must most definitely be on your Ladakh itinerary is the chance to see the Bactrian camels. You must know that the camels here in Ladakh are rare and found only in the Hunder village of Nubra valley in India. They are called Bactrian camels and are peculiar to have double humps. Enjoy amusing clicks of this rare species of camel amidst the stark and raw beauty of the Ladakh desert. 

Get to photograph the rare double Bactrian Camel for the most fun experience.

Savour the Ladakhi Flavours

Chicken Thukpa Tibetan Food

The image shows a staple Ladakh delicacy, the Chicken Thupka

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

A way to know the culture and history of the place is to try the local food there. Ladakh food has an undeniable Tibetan influence and it is a great experience to try the Ladakhi delicacies. Momos and thupkas, though very common but definitely must-try! Other local dishes are the Skyu, Khambir, Chhurpe (Yak Cheese), Tingmo, Apricot jam, Gur Gur tea (Butter tea), Chhaang (local drink-alcoholic) and many more. 

Monastery Visits

Lamayuru Buddhist monastery, Ladakh

The image shows the Lamayuru monastery in Ladakh

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

The whole Ladakh region has many Buddhist monasteries in each and every village and town. Most of them are perched on a hilltop. Not only do they lend panoramic views of the area around but are the most peaceful places that will give you the ultimate blissful experience. There are numerous monasteries in Ladakh but in the summertime, it is best to visit Alchi monastery, Hemis monastery, Thiksey monastery, Lamayuru monastery, Phuktal monastery, Likir monastery, Diskit monastery and Namgyal Tsemo Gompa

Read more at Ladakh- A Himalayan Spectacle of Serenity – Offbeat Tracks Blog (offbeatracks.com)

Months of July and August in Ladakh 

Panoramic view of confluence of Zanskar (from top) and Indus rivers near Nimmu village in Ladakh

The image shows the Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers in Nimoo. Notice the change of colour of the Indus river at the onset of monsoons

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

Rains in Ladakh begin in July and are not very long. There is a reason Ladakh is called a cold desert and that is because it receives very less rainfall. The rains happen due to local winds. Whatever little there is, there are heavy but very short spurts of rain. 

 

Monsoon is a shoulder or so to say off-season in Ladakh, but for some, this may be the best time to visit Ladakh as the weather is refreshing and with welcoming localities and a marvellous feel in the air. It is also the perfect time for adventure as white water rafting in the Indus and Zanskar rivers opens at this time. There are also many treks that one can undertake like the famous Markha valley trek, the Spituk to Stok trek, among many others. 

 

These months are also the time for many festivals like the Karsha Gustor which takes place at Karsha, the biggest monastery at Zanskar. Pheyang Tsedup is also the annual festival held at the Pheyang monastery and the Korzok Gustor which takes place at the Korzok monastery which is situated close to the Tso Moriri lake. 

 

Ladakh Monsoon Activities

Monsoon may not be the best season to visit Ladakh but there are a lot of activities that one can undertake during this time here. Read on to know more:

White Water River Rafting

Whitewater Rafting Adventure

The image shows white water rafting

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

The fierce, chilly and untamed waters of Ladakh lend a river rafting experience like no other in the rest of India. River rafting can be enjoyed on the Indus and Zanskar rivers. Rapids of levels I and II are in the Indus river and sometimes you can even experience rapids up to grades III to V. 

 

Attend Monsoon Festivals 

Leh festival

The image shows dancing during one of the festivals in Ladakh

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

Unique experiences and memories for a lifetime await you at the monsoon festivals of Ladakh. There are many that you can attend namely Karsha, Karsha Gustor, Phyang, Sani Nasjal, Karzok, Stongday, Sachukul and Dakthok festivals. These are some of the best monsoon festivals in Ladakh. 

Attend a monsoon festival in Ladakh with us for an unparalleled experience. 

 

Winter months in Ladakh (October to March) 

Buddhist praying flags in winter himalayas

The image shows the winter months in Ladakh with snow blanketing the mountain range

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

The winter temperature in the Ladakh valley can plummet as low as -21 degrees Celsius. The months of September and October are still bearable with the sun shining during the day and cold winds blowing after sundown. 

But you must know that the winter scenery is one to behold. The implausible mix of adventure and beauty is what awaits you. You can enjoy trekking with splendid vistas at the world-famous trek known as Chadar Trek which happens on a frozen lake. The solidified Zanskar river is also relished by many adventure trekkers. 

There are also many festivals which occur in the wintertime in Ladakh like the Stok Monastery festival, Ladakhi Losar, Thiksey Gustor, Spituk Gustor and the Matho monastery festival. 

It may be noted that the summer festivals in Ladakh see massive crowds and photographers from all over the world. On the other hand, in the winter, you are sure to get a glimpse of these marvellous celebrations with minimum crowds. You also get a chance to get up close with the locals and peek into their lives and culture for an enriching experience. 

Indus River Ladak Snow Winter

The image shows heavy snow on the mountains surrounding the Indus river in Ladakh

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

The months from November to February witness heavy snowfall and many trekking routes also close down at this time of the year. There may be frequent power cuts too, hence load up on your power banks and be prepared in every way to bear the harsh winter scene here if you visit in the peak winter time. 

Activities for Winter Months 

 

Ladakh does not see very heavy snowfall in the winter. This is due to the high altitude of the col desert. So there is a considerable temperature drop but the precipitation is minimal. Nonetheless, it looks nothing less than a winter wonderland with snow topping the barren mountains. There are still some unique and interesting activities that you can undertake. Read on to know the list of the best-enjoyed activities in winter:

Take a Wildlife Tour

Snow Leopard in Hemis National Park Ladakh

The image shows a snow leopard at the Hemis National Park in Ladakh

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

During the harsh winter months in Ladakh, the animals move to lower altitudes and therefore, it is easier to spot them. The elusive snow leopard which is always a treat for wildlife lovers is seen many times in the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Ladakh. Other animals that show up are the blue sheep, mountain wolves, magpies, wild hares, and many more. 

 

Winter Treks

Frozen Pangong lake, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir Stock Photo

The image shows frozen Pangong Lake in winter

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

It is never a bad idea to trek and when it is a place as scenic and raw as Ladakh, it is even better. The much sought after is the Chadar or the frozen river trek but there are other challenging ones too for the adventure adulators, like the Sham valley trek, Markha valley trek, etc. 

Witness Winter Festivals

The harsh winters don’t deter the spirit of joy and celebration in the local Ladakhi population. There are many winter festivals in Ladakh like the Matho monastery festival, Ladakhi Losar, Dosmoche, Spituk Gustor, Ladakhi Losar, and the Thiksey Gustor. Take our word for it, you will love every bit of the experience of being a part of these celebrations. 

Add a Winter Festival of Ladakh to your itinerary for a unique and unforgettable time. 

 

Enjoy Ice Hockey

Hockey stick and puck

The image shows an ice hockey stick and puck

Image courtesy: depositphotos.com

 

The Winter season sees a lot of Ice hockey in Leh. the Leh Ice Skating Rink has naturally frozen ice which is a boon for the players. Ice skating and hockey are best enjoyed in the months from December to February in Ladakh. The Ladakh Winter sports Club also organises annual tournaments around this time. 

Are you still confused about the best time to visit Leh Ladakh? Well, we would advise you not to think too much. Whether it is summer, rainy season or winter, Ladakh has infinite ways to flaunt its charm and beauty. Just head to this place with unexpected natural beauty and you are sure to make the best memories that will last you a lifetime!

 

Author

  • Apra Dutt

    A traveller and a dreamer, Apra is an avid reader and has an inherent passion for writing. She likes to travel to new places and appreciates the company of people wherever she is. A happy-go-lucky person, her mantra is to take life as it comes and believes in going with the flow. She enjoys knitting and swimming too! She joined Offbeat Tracks as a Content Writer in May 2022 and has immense love for her job.

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