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Best time to visit Ladakh.
Ladakh is surrounded by a ring of high mountains and snow covered passes which, before the airport was built at Leh, effectively cut off from the rest of the world for seven or eight months every year. Although the modern visitor can now fly into Leh at any time of the year, trekking is restricted to the five months when the region is free from the grip of winter. The great advantage of Ladakh as a trekking destination is that rainfall is rare. This makes it one of the only Himalayan regions in which it is possible and pleasurable to trek from late June to mid-September, when most other areas are suffering from the constant deluge of the Monsoon.
Ladakh four seasons are not as even in length as those of other countries, the year begin dominated by the long, cold winter, which is separated from the short but hot summer by a brief spring and autumn, in many ways spring and autumn are little more the end and the beginning of winter and can hardly justify being called separate season.
June, July August
The trekking season begins in about the middle of June, this is a good time to visit Ladakh and there won’t be many visitors. But you may have to fly into Leh as the roads may not have opened and some passes may prove difficult to trek across if there is still a lot of snow around. Ladakh is at its busiest from the beginning of July to the end of August, this coincides with the opening of the Manali to Leh road linking Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh, which is guaranteed by the government to be kept open from the first week of July until 15th of September. The weather is good for trekking with hot days and refreshing cool nights, although at lower altitude it can be sometimes too hot to trek in the middle of the day. A decade or so ago you could almost guarantee a completely dry summer but recent changes in the weather patterns of the Himalaya (though by some to be global warming) means that a few days rain is now a distinct possibility, come prepared.
September and October
September is one of the best months to come trekking as the numbers of people both on the trails and in Leh begin to tail off towards the end of August, if you come at the beginning of the month your stay will coincide with the Ladakh Festival. The temperature is pleasantly warm during the day, with our being too hot but you should come prepared for cold nights. Particularly when you are in the mountains. Many of the tea tents in the mountains will be closed from the beginning of September. The Manali to Leh road is guarantee to be open until September 14th some years it can remain open through out October but you should be prepared to fly if the winter snow comes early.
November to March.
At the beginning of November, the lasting snows of winter begin to fall and the streams freeze over for five months, the coldest months are January and February when temperatures fall as low as – 40 degree Celsius, transforming the Zanskar River into a frozen trade rout known as the chadar. By march this savage cold has gone, for experienced and well-prepared winter mountaineers and ski tourers the winter can provide some exciting possibilities. Such as the Frozen River trek and the Snow Leopard Trek.
April and May
It is still quiet cold during these months and snowfall is not uncommon at the beginning of April but by now the ground in the valleys has begun to thaw and activity has resumed in the villages. Trekking is feasible on low altitude routes such as from Likir to Temisgam and for those with winter walking experience some higher routes can be attempted. The snow still lies deep on the passes but with an early start you should be able to cross most on the firm crust of the frozen snow., but if you leave too late you will be sinking up your chest. The roads into Ladakh is still closed depending on the snowfall, so flying in and out is the only practical option.
How long do you need?
Despite its remoteness, Ladakh can be reached remarkably quickly from the west and it’s quite possible to fit an exciting and rewarding trekking holiday into two or three weeks. If you are on a tight schedule and have to be back home by a certain date, you should be aware that buses and plane to and from the region occasionally get cancelled or delay by the weather. You must allow yourself a few days leeway to get back to Delhi from Leh. A schedule that works well for those short times is to get up to Ladakh as soon as possible after arriving in India and Leave your exploration of Delhi until the end of your holiday, aim to fly back from Leh about five days before you are due to fly back home, if all goes well, this will give you plenty of time to see Delhi and may be fit in a trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra as well. If on the other hand your flight from Leh is cancelled, you still have plenty of time to make it back to Delhi by road. If you are one of the lucky few who has no need to be back hoe by a set date there’s almost no end to the number of trails that can be walked and discovered in Ladakh.