During the long winter months, Ladakh remains almost completely isolated from the outside world. The deep snow covers and blocks all the mountain passes, and reaching this rocky desert in the middle of the Himalayas is then only possible by plane. Winter is the time of contemplation, tranquility and togetherness.
As a personalized trip you can pick your own dates!
Best time of travel: December – March
Prices: upon request
The most beautiful monastery festivals take place in winter. Draped in sumptuously colorful robes and wearing painted masks made of wood or metal, whirling monks dance through the monastery courtyards to the exotic sounds of strange instruments. They are surrounded by hundreds of enthusiastic Ladakhi, all very happy to join the diversion. The cold mountain air resonates with equal parts laughs and gossip, gasps of awe and reverence. The celebrations are especially intense at the monasteries of Matho and Stok, when the oracles make their great prophecies known.
Meanwhile further up, in a much quieter world, the snow leopards dare to venture out of their hiding places. Driven by hunger, they become slightly less timid and approach the higher villages to go hunting for food. It is in one of these villages, where the chances are highest to meet one of these elusive animals, where we will hike with our mouths shut and our eyes wide open, in the hopes that we will be lucky enough to see this impressive hunter.
Finally, we will venture into the homeland of the nomads and experience up close, if for a short time, what it means to live in the winter at 4500 meters of altitude. How hard indeed, but also how beautiful and quiet the landscape is all shrouded in frost. And after struggling with the constant wind outside, we will also learn to understand and appreciate the heat not only of the nomad’s stove but also of the people sharing every small room with us. Something that everyone who lives in such harsh conditions knows: that the faces and voices of friends and colleagues can be as warming as an open fire.
If there are at least 8 people in the group, the tour will be guided by Tashi Wangail, the founder of Gesar Travel. Tashi is an avid wildlife fan and knows the fauna of his country like few others. He spent several years of his childhood as a shepherd boy in Ladakh and has a particularly deep connection with the nature of its countryside.
Prior to founding Gesar Travel, he spent almost 20 years as a tour guide specializing in mountain climbing and wildlife throughout the Himalayas, working with teams as reputable as the BBC, composed by renowned zoologists and scientists.
As a practicing Buddhist and a student of a Buddhist school in South India, he also brings with him a deep knowledge of the religion of his homeland.
* The flights are not included in our price. But we are happy to book the flights for you. Or you can also do it yourself if you prefer.
* The flights are not included in our prices.
Basic info for the tour “Shy snow leopards & dancing monks” as a personalized trip:
Best travel time: December – March
Prices: upon request
• All transfers / transports according to program (private taxi)
• English speaking tour guide
• Accommodation in hotel / homestay / tent (hotel in Leh with heating)
• Full board in Ladakh, only breakfast in Agra
• All admissions, permits and fees
• Shower room at the end of the tour in Delhi
• Flights to Delhi and Leh and back (but will be arranged)
• Travel insurance (suggested in any case)
• Visa for India
• Sleeping bag
• Additional costs arising from illness, accident, route changes due to force majeure, etc.
• Additional costs resulting from flight cancellations or delays
The date is up to you, but we are happy to help you find the best time to travel and make the most out of your trip.
Of course you can also have the trip adapted to your needs: longer, shorter, or with a different program! We are open to (almost) everything.
Gladly we offer the trip also for single travelers.
Photos from Sylvain Dussans
GESAR Travel INDIA
+91-1982-251684 Leh Office
+91-11-41042343 Delhi Office
GESAR Travel AUSTRIA