There is this beautiful custom of greeting everyone in Ladakh, no matter a family member, friend, neighbour or a stranger. Greeting and smiling.
'Julley' is the Ladakhi word used as 'hello'. Actually it is very useful as it can be also used as 'good bye' or 'good night' and it also means 'thank you'.
I remember writing from Ladakh to a friend on my first visit here, that I was in the land where everyone smiles to each other and everyone says 'Julley!' to all the others. And these are genuine smiles: smiles - it seems - showing real joy of seeing you. I was quite moved seeing people being really happy to see me in their village in winter, Dec 2014.
It is not only about 'julley' and the smile. Often, you will be invited to drink tea and while at home, you will be offered at least something small to eat.
With the first experience of winter in Ladakh behind me (check this blog post and photos here) I landed in Leh on Dec the 12th ready to do more demanding treks than the previous season. My intention was to try to get to Zanskar over the passes still in December and - once there - return to Leh by the famous Chadar Trek: the way on the frozen Zanskar river.
Although I did not manage to do everything I had planned, I did got to Padum from Lamayuru as well as succeeded testing the Chadar. With the short Ganda La trek at the end of my visit and the beautiful flight over the Himalayas from Leh to Srinagar I can't stop thinking about another winter season in Ladakh - maybe next winter. And I'm deeply convinced that there is so much more about Ladakh in winter than the famous Chadar Trek.
I did Tsarab Chu trek with a small and brave group earlier this month (major part of the route #2 in my "Trekking in Ladakh" Cicerone Press guidebook). It confirms again that it is one of the best treks in Ladakh and that September is the best time for trekking in the region!
It is 10 years in 2014 since my first visit to Ladakh. There is something to celebrate I believe and thought going to Ladakh in winter would be a good way of celebration. That's what I did last January. Without any booking except that for the flights, with no specific plans, without big preparations. Just there was more cloth than usually in my rucksack.
I wanted to check how Ladakh looks like in winter. How much snow is there? How freezing is it?
I wanted to check what an independent trekker could do there in winter. I didn't mean the famous chadar which would require going in a group. As usually, I wanted to trek independently with all my stuff on my back (no guide, no horses) and on my own.
I expected it would be cold so decided not to take tent and rely on homestay accommodation. I also expected high passes to be difficult and quite dangerous for a solo trekker so I was thinking about rather easier routes along valleys with relatively short daily stages which could always finish in a village.
Photographs tell you more than many words. They have inspired many travels. Here are links to some fantastic photos of Ladakh which I found on the web. Watch and get inspired to your explorations of the region!
The website is dedicated to Ladakh, the Himalayan region of northern India. It is intended to be a information centre where you could find useful links, suggestions and inspirations. There are lists of books and maps, links to news, photo galleries, NGOs. The "what's on" page lets you follow all the recent tweets about Ladakh on a single page.
The site has been started in January 2010 and has been undergoing major rearrangements in September and October 2013. You may check the old version of the site here. It contains the Ladakh.pl Forum which has been discontinued.
You may find all the recent tweets (posts on Twitter) about Ladakh here. The page is intended to be a single source to follow everything hot about the region. Watch other's photos and videos, follow links. Be up to date and get inspired to travel to #Ladakh ;)