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Ladakh 2019


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Ladakh, I think for most of you it is a destination to see ones in you lifetime a Snow Leopard in the wild. If so than don't follow us. Our trip to Ladakh was focused on the Himalayan landscape, the Buddhist culture and birds/ mammals in the Summertime.



A magnificent view of two seven thousand: Nun & Kun 



Thiksay Monastery



Karsha Monastery



Dak-Thok Tse-Chu Festival



The hard live of Zanskari women



Monks during a Puja at Sani Gonpa



The audience at Naro-Nasjal festivals in Sani



Beautiful women with the traditional headdress called Perak



Edited by Botswanadreams
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I will be fascinated by this report. We visited Ladakh about 15 years ago, mainly focusing on culture and landscapes. I love your photos so far.



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Yes. I would go for Snow Leopards, but very interested in your report anyhow =)

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I hope @TonyQ that I'll be able to bring you a few memories back. @Amylovescritters thanks for your interest too. 

Unfortunately this will only be a report with a few pics here to show the beauty of Ladakh.    



The View into the Indus valley from Thiksay Monastery 



Maitreya - the Buddha of the future in the newly built temple (Thiksay Monastery)



Photo stop on the way to the village Shakti: the Chemday Monastery nestles picturesquely on the hillside



A bit outside of Shakti village - it is one of the possible ways to Nubra Vallay 



Moon Landscape shortly before Lamanyuru



View from Fatu La, the highest point of the Srinagar-Leh highways, at 4,108 meters above sea level  



Sunrise with golden colored mountains on the horizon in the Suru valley



The Parkachik glacier



Drang-Drung Glacier on the Pensi La - a pass of 14,000 feet, that is 4,267.20 meters



The view from the Stongday Monastery into the Zanskar Valley and the surrounding mountains was breathtaking



People of Zanskar







Naro-Nasjal festivals at Sani Monastery in Zanskar






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@Botswanadreams: What a refreshing trip report!! I am glad that it covers the landscape, people and cultural aspects. I will be looking forward to see more here..

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Gorgeous photos---I've dreamed of going to see the snow leopards but would hope to experience the culture as well...stunning...

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Thanks very much @xnegvx and @gatoratlarge for your nice replays. I think there is no problem to join one of the monastery festivals in the wintertime. 


An example:

"Spituk Gustor Festival is an annual winter celebration in Ladakh. It is the perfect occasion to cheer you up in the harsh winters. Gustor in the local language means 'Sacrifice of the 29th day' and is a traditional ritual to the monasteries of the reformist Gelukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The two day festival is to be celebrated on 22th Jan to 23rd January 2020 in the Spituk Monastery. Held in the 28th and 29th days of the 11th month of the Tibetan calendar, the festival celebrated since the 11th century symbolizes victory of good over evil. The main purpose of the festival is for world peace, happiness and for the welfare of all beings."


Please be aware that the day changed every year to our calendar. There are a lot of websites showing the exact days for every year. So you can plan your snow leopard trip exactly around one of this winter festivals. You only would need to be very warm dressed because it is always outside.  

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I think it's time for a bit wildlife.



Our first mammal in Ladakh: The beautiful Long-tailed Marmot - you can't miss them in the Suru Valley. They are everywhere but most of the time a bit far.  


If you travel with CB Singh, the formal Guide from WWI, now with his own company "Comfort Bird Tours India" you can't avoid to look for birds the whole day. That is a very good thing. 



Eurasian Magpie bactriana - our welcome bird in the garden of Saboo Guest house 



Rock Pigeon



Hill Pigeon © CB Singh



Snow Pigeon



Red-billed Chough



Yellow-billed Chough or Alpin Chogh © CB Singh



Horned Lark (female)



Common Rosefinch



Great Rosefinch © CB Singh



Rock Bunting



Green Sandpiper © CB Singh



Black Redstart



Eversmann's Redstart or Rufous-backed Redstart



Black-headed Mountain-Finch or Brandt's Mountain-finch



A jung Horned Lark



Fire-fronted Serin © CB Singh



Domestic Yak - Wild Yaks haven't seen in Ladakh for a long time  


This is a selection from our first 10 days.

If you like more than please feel free to take a look at our homepage. This is the link Ladakh 2019.








Edited by Botswanadreams
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  • 2 weeks later...

The scenery is other-world, so are those costumes!  And a snow leopard yet to come.  Excellent start!

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fabulous sceneries. 


My friend who organises similar tours has been pushing me to go, but I worry about altitude sickness.  Was it a major issue for you? and did you choose the dates based on the festivals? 

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11 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

And a snow leopard yet to come.


Unfortunately no snow leopard. We traveled in the wrong time of the year for this beautiful cat. It wasn't our focus in Ladakh. Thanks very much for your interest. 


10 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

My friend who organises similar tours has been pushing me to go, but I worry about altitude sickness.  Was it a major issue for you? and did you choose the dates based on the festivals? 



The first day in Leh you shouldn't do anything. The next two days you shouldn't go higher than 3,600 meter. If you would like to go to Changtang than put it at the end of your trip.

I hadn't any problem on the trip. My husband and CB had Headache the fist days but our travel pharmacy has always good pain stopping pills. On the over 5,000 meter passes we felt a bit like drunk but you only stop for photos and than you go down again. Changtang, ok it was much more hard to breath with any movement. You need to drink more water than normal. Special water to wet your nose or your eyes is helpful too. A good Ladakhi guide has a breathing apparatus for emergency in the car. 


You should go. Our birding list was around 70 species in the high attitude on this trip but of course not all with pics.


Our trip was build up with the date of Sani Festival in Zanzkar. Dak-Thok was a plus but not really plant. Thanks very much too.



There will be more in the future but I have another 2500 pics to go through. 



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With 2500 pics, you did see lots of good stuff.  Had I read more carefully, I would have seen the "don't follow us" comment.  I just focused on the snow leopard sentence. 

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@Atravelynn To see a snow leopard you shouldn't go to Ladakh before November as our Guide said. But than it's getting cold. In August they are high up in the mountains. No way to go there and of course we don't do any kind of tracking. 

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Beautiful photos of the festival and the incredible scenery.  How did you arrange your accommodations and guide?

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Thanks for this trip report @Botswanadreams.


In the photo of Zanskar Valley, are those rice paddies?  If so, they must be among the highest in the world.

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On 10/19/2019 at 6:21 AM, solpics said:

Beautiful photos of the festival and the incredible scenery.  How did you arrange your accommodations and guide?


CB Singh, the formal Guide from WWI, now with his own company "Comfort Bird Tours India" I mentioned in post 8 has planed our trip and accompanied us as Guide together with his Ladakhi friend Tashi. His web site is still under construction. If you interested, please sent me a PM.


On 10/19/2019 at 5:52 PM, offshorebirder said:

In the photo of Zanskar Valley, are those rice paddies?


No, they don't grow rice in Ladakh. It's corn and vegetables but all the little fields are walled with stones and connected with a spezial irrigation system from the glaciere streams. 


Thanks very much both of you to follow us throughout Ladakh. 

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I like to add a few pics from the last four days of our first circle in Ladakh. 



Villagers of Dha 



Himalayan Agama



Standing, ornate Maitreya Buddha at Mangyu Moastery 



Likir Monastery



The 32-meter high, golden Maitreya Buddha statue of Likir 



Basgo Monastery and the ruins of the old palace



Beautiful murals in one Basgo temples



Indus River Valley



Bazaar in Leh



Namgyal Tsemo Monastery



Shanti Stupa





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  • 2 weeks later...

The expressions of the people are captivating and the mask "expressions" are too.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for the big gab.


@Atravelynn we had the privilege to experience the difference between a monastery festival close to Leh and far away. For us it was amazing to be part of the Sani Festival in Zanzkar. To be in the middle of all the Zanzkari's and there spirit in the Buddhism believes was one of the highlights of this trip.


Let's move on to a few impressions of Nubra Valley.



Looking back to the Indus Valley



A view of the mountains 



The Khardung La is one of the highest motorable passes in the world.



Overlooking the small mountain that the Holy Lake "Yarab Tso" hidden in its interior  



The Nubra River 



The confluence of Nubra and Shyok River



Along the Shyok River to the west



A bridge over the Shyok River



A beautiful wooden bridge to the village Turtuk - the last outpost before the "Line of Control" to Pakistan



Water Redstar





Hundar Dog Valley



White Wagtail



32-meter statue of Maitreya Buddha at the Diskit Monastery



Nubra Valley but you see the Shyok River on image. The Nubra Valley is a three armed valley dominated by the rivers Nubra and Shyok and covered by the Karakoram in the north and the Ladakh Range of the Himalayas in the south.



Hundar Sand Dunes - the mountains and clouds reflected in the water of a wetland on the edge of the dunes



Bactrian camels at Hundar waiting for a camel safari 

Edited by Botswanadreams
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@Botswanadreams  wonderful additions to your report. Thank you for taking me back to the Nubra Valley, a really beautiful place shown of so well in your excellent photos. Good to see Leh and to see aspects of the Buddhist culture.

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Stunning landscape photography!

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Thanks very much for your interest and your flowers @TonyQ and @michael-ibk.


Lets start with the last part of our journey to Ladakh - Changtang.  



A portion of the slope along brittle rock with very frequent rock falls - luckily it was dry



Himalayan Marmot



A first look at a corner of the Pangong Tso



We were above the tree line in the Himalayas in a high mountain desert







Pangong Tso is located at an altitude of about 4,350 meters



Our first Kiang



The Pangong Tso facing China - behind the hill to the right is the border.



Upland Buzzard



He probably guarded his small herd







We never expected to see the so many Kiang



Another view of the Indus River



Horned Lark



Woolly Hare



 Our first Black-necked Crane on the way to Lake Tso Moriri



Edited by Botswanadreams
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We didn’t go to Pangong Tso - a shame as it looks really beautiful.

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What a stunning looking place.  Love all your landscape shots.

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Thank you @TonyQ that I'm able to show you a few unknown places from Ladakh. Changtang is very different from all other parts in Ladakh. 

@Zim Girl in Ladakh you can't miss landscape shots. You could stopp on each and every corner to capture this amazing landscape but than you wouldn't rich your final destination of the day. Thanks very much to take the time and follow us. 



A viewpoint at Tso Moriri





This is Tso Moriri at 4,595 meters, part of the Ramsar Site "Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve".



The Changpas are the nomadic herdsmen of Changtang region in Ladakh.



A carpet is created



The gentleman is preparing a skins of a lamb that had not survived.



Northern Wheatear © CB Singh



Tibetan Snow Finch



Brandt's Mountain Finch or Black-Headed Mountain-Finch



Brown-headed Gull © CB Singh 



Korzok Village at Tso Moriri






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