WINTER EXPEDITION IN LADAKH

I know December months are chilling cold, sending currents of cold to freeze your spines and infiltrate into your skin and bones. Everyone loves to wrap themselves amid cozy quilts or just cocoon into the sofa. Yes! with some added servings of pakoras and coffee. 

But, I had a different perspective of life and wanted to take the plunge into those grey shades. Ladakh has been admired and appreciated by many travelers, bloggers, and writers. Their write up unveils the natural beauty of Ladakh and its mysteries. But, very few travelers dare to go for a winter expedition in Ladakh

Ladakh may look dreamy and creamy with white powdery snow, but there are some tucked risks which cannot be underestimated. Most of the roads are blocked due to heavy snowfall. The same is the case with maximum mountain passes. But, there are some stunning vistas that are exclusive to the winter season only.  

My memory embroidered with silhouettes of silvery snow 

I remember very clearly the frozen night of 21st December 2018 when I was hosting a small weekend party at my home. My house was stuffed with friends and it echoed with giggles and laughter. The smoky aroma of grilled chicken was infusing in the air which made my guests go licking their tongues. 

Suddenly, Parth, one of my dear friends uttered, “The weather is becoming colder and colder. Shall we plan for a Winter expedition in Ladakh?” Few of my buddies stepped back right away saying they are not willing to test their bodies in the dipping mercury. But two of my friends nodded affirmatively. 
It didn’t take much time in planning our gateway to the winter wonderland. Next Sunday saw us moving in our Safari to the hills of Ladakh. Firstly, snow sprinkled peaks crossed, then barren Nubra valley crossed which was heavily fed with snow. Then, we saw the Monasteries standing still yet telling tales of history. Then we stopped at one of the roadside Dhaba. The food was plain and simple but the place captivated me. Sitting in the lap of frozen land, the Dhaba had some old fashioned chairs and Khat( a traditional woven bed made with ropes). We were hungry enough that could not stop us from binging on the meals dotted with momos, Thukpa, and Maggi.

The frozen glamour of Zanskar River     
We had to stop before we arrived in the much-awaited Zanskar Valley. My eyes spread wide in wonder as I saw the frozen surface of the river for the first time. Zanskar river freezes completely in cold winter months which results in the formation of a frozen sheet of ice which is locally called Chadar. Here, we started our winter expedition of Chadar trek of the frozen river. As all other mountains, passes, and roads are closed due to snow blockage, this frozen Chadar of Zanskar river is the only way to move forward towards Leh. 

Walking on snow was a sheer amusement and it exceeded my limits of expectations above and beyond. It filled my heart with eternal joy to see the small colorful pebbles sitting silently under the sheats of the frozen river.
 
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