The best time to visit Ladakh is in Summer (April - June). This is when the climate here is most pleasant, with the snow from winter all thawed and balmy weather. During the rest of the year, Manali-Leh highway is not functional and the only operational way is the Srinagar-Leh highway which also gets affected by occasional landslides. The Frozen River Trek, one of the most famous treks here is carried out in the months of December and January along the river Zanskar. However, winter in Ladakh has an exceptional charm of its own. For the adventurous-at-heart, winter is the perfect opportunity to experience Ladakh in its authentic self; all covered up with inches deep snow. Every season in the beautiful stretches of Ladakh is a treat to the wanderer's soul unless of course there is too much snowfall or a scary blizzard.
Ladakh is by far the most beautiful to look at during the summer season and also the busiest. From around April, tourists already start to migrate to Ladakh to enjoy the last few days of spring in the crisp weather, as the cold fades and snow melts gradually. The temperature during this time is still quite cold, around 5°C-7°C. By the second week of May, the very important Srinagar-Leh highway is made available again, thus opening the floodgate for the flurry of tourists to go to Ladakh. The spring-early summertime is perfect for the budget travellers because the peak season is yet to start and the hotels offer lucrative discounts to lure visitors, which can be taken advantage of. And at the same time, you can see a good share of ice and snow, mainly in the Khardung La and Chang La passes. Late April sees the melting of the lakes, and a spread of brilliant colours all around. By the beginning of June, the Manali route along with Rohtang Pass opens up as well. Temperature goes further up and hovers around 15°C-30°C. Although the roads can sometimes be slippery because of the rapidly melting snow, if trodden carefully, they can offer some of the most beautiful sights you have ever seen.
From the end of July to the middle of September, Ladakh experiences irregular to heavy rainfall in most places. This is neither the ideal nor the safest time to visit Ladakh. The rain makes the roads very risky to drive or walk on. Landslides and snowslides are frequent during this time as well. There can be frequent road blockages obstructing the flow of the trip or trek. There are some parts which fall under the rain shadow area like the areas beyond Zoji La Pass and Baralacha Pass, going towards Leh from Srinagar and Manali respectively. But to reach there, one must crossroads which are dangerous, thanks to the rain.
Autumn in Ladakh is once again one of the best times to visit. The precipitation stops but leaves behind just the right amount of humidity in the air to make the trip pleasant. Being washed by the rain over the monsoon season, the rugged surroundings turn to its freshest of colours. Moreover, the crowd from summer season thins out to quite an extent, which means you can enjoy Ladakh bit more freely.
By the time November comes around, Ladakh is freezing with cold. All places over 14000 ft experience sub-zero temperature. Driving through the roads, even the Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh highways get dangerous because of black ice. However, tourists who are confident about beating the cold can visit Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri Lakes to see their changing colours – it is a top-rated attraction. Soon after this, the lakes get all frozen. From mid-January to March, the famous Chadar Trek is on for adventure lovers. One part of the trek involves walking over the frozen Zanskari River.
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Jammu and Kashmir
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This 2 day festival hosted by the Hemis Gompa monastery celebrates the birth of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. The main highlight of the festival is the gathering of the lamas around the central flagpole, where they perform the mystic mask dances (Chams) and sacred plays.
The festival of Dosmoche is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in Leh-Ladakh region. Falling right at the beginning of the Tibetan New Year, the festival is held in the majestic Leh Palace. Monks from different monasteries gather at the courtyards of the palace to perform Chams"". It marks the victory of the forces of good over evil. "
Lamayuru Monastery is one of the oldest and largest monasteries of Ladakh. Dating back to the 11th century, it has an inexplicable charm and beauty to it. Two mask dance festivals are held here, in the second and fifth months of the Tibetan Lunar calendar, in which monks surround the gompa and conduct prayers.
The Oracle Matho Nagang Festival is held in Ladakh each year, in the first month of the Tibetan new year. It is believed that two oracles, or Ronstang, inhabit the bodies of two specially chosen monks in order to predict the future of the village and of individual villagers. Such traditions might seem unbelievable to the outsiders, but for the people living here, it's a way of life.
Mountain Biking is one of the most challenging adventure sports and is definitely not meant for the faint hearted. The terrain and landscape of Ladakh is perfect for the adventure sport junkies. Go for long or short trips in this beautiful place and have the time of your life.
Situated at an altitude of about 2750 - 7672 meters above sea level, Ladakh has an excellent topography for trekking. There are several trekking tours offered to travellers, which is one of the reasons why so many adventure fanatics visit this place. Anytime between June and September is the perfect time to visit this place as it remains unaffected by the monsoon.
Celebrated along the banks of the river Sindhu every eyar, the Sindhu Darshan Festival symbolizes communal harmony and unity in diversity in India. People from different parts of the country and with divergent ethno-religious backgrounds participate in this festival, giving it a multi-dimensional tinge.
Celebrated at the Karsha Monastery, this festival marks the victory of good over evil. During this festival, a Black Hat Dance is performed. Also, a masked dance along the lines of 'Chaam' is performed by the monks. It is also known as the Spitok Gutor Zanskar Festival.
Registrations for the 4th edition of the Ladakh Marathon have opened! The highest marathon event in the world, it offers a unique opportunity for runners to run in the midst of the beautiful and scenic, high mountains, rivers and valleys. The Ladakh Marathon aims to encourage the young people of Ladakh to live a healthy lifestyle and become aware of the need to protect a stunningly beautiful, yet environmentally fragile region.
The Ladakh Festival is an annual fiesta organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department. Events such as folk dances, musical performances, mask dances, art and craft exhibitions, etc. form an integral part of this festival. It provides a wonderful opportunity for the tourists to experience the culture and lifestyle of the people in Ladakh.
In the months of January and February, the Zanskar river which flows through the Ladakh valley freezes up and that serves to be the only path connecting the main valley. This frozen river attracts trekkers from all over the world. It is popularly known as the Chadar Trek due to the formation of the thick blanket of the snow and is considered to be one of the most dangerous and challenging treks in the world.