Peace and quiet, the impressive mountains, the beautiful patterns in the rocks, the yaks come to the valley when it snows, the swirling water below the ice ... These are impressions that will stay forever.
Last January Myra de Rooy and Aniek Jaartsveld with four companions visited Ladakh . This time not only to meet the nuns but also to visit the Spituk Cham festival (religious dance performed by monks), and to walk the famous 'chadar': a journey across the frozen Zanskar river. In winter, the frozen river is used as the shortest route from Leh to Zanskar and vice versa; this is the 'normal way'.
The cham dance took place as planned. It is a colorful event where you can observe the fascinating interactions between the local audience, who come from near and far.
It is common in Ladakh for plans and agreements to change anytime. Two days before the departure of the tour we received information that we could not do the trip over the frozen river due to a landslide. That was a disappointment. Due to the landslide and weather plans were changed few more times. Eventually we walked a beautiful journey through the winter landscape.
Sometimes we slept in tents, sometimes in people's homes. Compared to other years, this winter was mild. It can get to -30 Celsius. During our trip we walked in the snow.
This was in contrast to Leh and its surroundings where there was no snowfall. This is a major problem in the spring and summer because there is no melt water to irrigate the fields.