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The Glorious Ladakhi New Year

8 min read

While the world is busy booking tickets of parties, a few offbeat travelers plan a new year’s eve in Ladakh. A unique blend of mountains, beauty, and culture. The Ladakhi community celebrates its new year for 15 days. The Losar festival is a top pick for seasoned travelers from all across the globe. The festival is aimed at ushering in the new year in all festivities and ensuring the well-being of everybody.

The Losar Festival

The intermingling of cultures, traditions, and extravagant processions, Losar festival is a treat. Mystic masks and extremely entertaining music. Every Losar festival is a sneak peek into the rich history of Ladakh. Every major monastery plans processions for their vicinity. All one has to do is to visit the monastery to take part in the festival. The first 3 days are the most entertaining with a follow up of 12 more days. All you need to do is avail a convenient car rental in Leh and ask your driver to take you to all the monasteries. You will experience a part of the Buddhist culture in every visit. A few monasteries let tourists wear traditional clothes and take part in the festivities. The festival starts on the 27th of December every year.

Shopping in Leh Market Street

The next big thing to do in a Ladakhi new year is to go shopping. The street market of Leh is a maze of handicrafts. Prayer wheels, wall hangings, flags, and Buddha figurines are a must-buy for tourists. Don’t forget to explore all the by-lanes of the market street. You might find yourself a bargain if you explore enough of the street.

Chadar Trek

Serious adventurers can go for the Chadar trek. With an altitude of 11,000 ft, the frozen Zanskar Lake is the main attraction of this trek, apart from the valley of flowers. Trek among a backdrop of snow-capped mountains with the Chadar Trek. A few trekking essentials that you would require for this are:

  • Trekking shows with advanced grips (ideal for snow and hiking)
  • 40 to 60 ltr backpack
  • Thermal clothes and sufficient layers
  • UV Sunglasses
  • Snow gloves
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Trekking pole

The trek is of 6 days. The most ideal time to do this trek from January end-to February. So plan a new year trip near this time.

The Pangong Lake

Did you see 3 idiots? Remember the lake where Phunsuk Wangdo meets the love of his life? That lake is the Pangong Lake. A beautiful destination atop 14,270 ft in the Himalayas. The Pangong lake is famous for its multicolored water which is frozen around new years. An ideal way to reach is to book a cab for a day. Ensure that your driver is an experienced veteran of Leh. The icy roads and snow-capped mountains demand that we ensure maximum safety while driving.

Khardungla Pass

If you still have a zest to explore, the Khardungla Pass is the next step. The highest motorable roads that offer a heavenly entry to the Nubra and Shok Valleys. This is a must for all the adrenaline junkies. Hire a bike and ride your way to 17,500 ft. Here are a few essential things that you need to carry:

  • Waterproof backpacks or a rain cover
  • UV Sunglasses
  • Winter lotion with higher than SPF 30
  • Trekking shoes
  • Medical Kit
  • Oxygen alternatives such as Camphor or Oxygen Cylinders

The weather of Khardungla is unpredictable. Hence it is advised that you take all necessary precautions while traveling. Ensure that your rental bike is smooth running and well maintained. Keep an emergency kit in-case of wounds or cuts. Do not expose yourself to the sun without applying sunscreen.

Meal at Hemis Monastery

Last but not least, visit Hemis Monastery. Ancient home of Buddhists, the monastery welcomes tourists from all over the world to live the lama life. The ideal time to visit is around 8 am when the daily routine begins. The lamas in the monastery are welcoming. Enjoy a meal with them during the afternoon and retire in your hotels by the evening.

This was all the fun and games that the Ladakhi new year can be. It should take around 12-15 days to cover this itinerary. Alternatively, you can design your own traveling plans that best suit your thrill needs and time. You can also book a cab from Srinagar to Leh and vice versa. Both serve as an ideal starting point to experience Ladakhi traditions and cultural diversity.


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