Ladakh, a land of rugged mountains, clear blue skies, and extremely cold weather holds a mystical and elusive fascination drawing people, especially adventure lovers from different parts of the world. While the whole world turns into one big party destination on New Year’s Eve, there are some who embark on the offbeat path and try and celebrate New Year in a unique manner. If you would like to live an experience that will be firmly etched in your minds for a lifetime, then celebrate your New Year in Ladakh this year. Scroll down to see what all you can do here to make your New Year the most exciting ever!
What Makes New Year In Ladakh Special
When it comes to celebrating New Year in Ladakh, you will have many options at your disposal. The highlight of New Year here is undoubtedly the Losar Festival. For 15 days you can join in the celebrations and ceremonies celebrated all throughout Ladakh. The Losar festival is primarily celebrated to usher in the new year with hope and positivity and ensures the complete wellbeing of all the people.
The Ladakh new year is all about a vibrant blend of cultures, customs, folk dances, and extravagant processions during this 15-day celebration. The people of Ladakh offer religious offerings to their deities accompanied by hours of chanting. Various prominent monasteries in Ladakh perform all the ceremonies and rituals associated with this festival celebrating good over evil. The celebrations often commence with the Metho ceremony with people in a procession carry flame torches and chant prayers.
The processions also include artists wearing masks and various interesting costumes and performing on the streets. If you end up wondering where to where to celebrate New Year in Ladakh, you can simply head to any monastery to witness the festivities.
Things To Do On New Year In Ladakh
If you are thinking of what to do on New Year in Ladakh, well you can start off by being a part of the famous Losar Festival and then follow it by visiting a host of other interesting places in and around Leh. Following is a brief overview of what you can expect from your New Year holiday in Ladakh.
1. Losar Festival In Ladakh
Without a doubt, Ladakh is one of the best places to go for new year in India. The soothing chanting of the prayers in the monasteries is one of the highpoints of this festival graciously welcomes the new year. Immerse in a peaceful sojourn, as you are spiritually led to explore the monasteries and become an inherent part of the sacred celebrations. On the third day of the festival, various performances take place and among them, the masked dance truly stands out. The main celebrations take place in the first three days, however, this festival is celebrated for the next 15 days. For the best new year party in Ladakh, you can visit Leh during this 15-day celebration.
What to do on Losar in Ladakh:
- Visit various monasteries
- Watch the colorful spectacle of large processions with artists wearing masks
- Burn firecrackers with the locals in the evening
- Try the drink Chhaang, a Tibetan substitute for beer
- Eat Guthuk, a soup dish prepared from potato, meat, wheat, and cheese
Duration: 15 days
Dates: 27th December 2019
2. Attend The Best New Year Party In Ladakh
You can dress up in traditional Ladhaki attire and become a part of the procession of Losar by dancing and singing with the locals. Or you can enjoy the best New Year party in Ladakh by attending various music concerts, live music gigs, and dances performed by various cultural troupes from the villages of Leh during these 15 days of Losar Festival. Stay tuned for any live music gig that may be happening in this city during that time!
3. Go Shopping
Visiting Leh and not shopping is totally unimaginable, as the famous street market of Leh with innumerable lanes and bylanes has plenty to offer. You can shop for a variety of handicrafts and interesting artifacts to take back home. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of purchasing locally designed prayer wheels, wall hangings, prayer flags, and Buddha figurines. You can even carry beautiful paintings for gifting purposes from this eclectic market. Made from a combination of copper, brass, and cymbals, sonorous bowls are also available in the markets perfect to take back as a souvenir or for gifting purposes.
Timings: 9 AM – 7 PM
4. Trek On A Frozen River
Serious adventure enthusiasts visit Ladakh in the winter months especially for the reason of trekking on a frozen lake. The Chadar Trek across the frozen Zanskar River is among the most challenging treks that you can undertake during the end of January and can go up to Feb end or even early March.
What you need:
- Trekking shoes with good grip
- A 40 to 60 liters backpack
- A 20-liter daypack
- Thermals and sufficient warm clothes
- Sunglasses (mandatory)
- Synthetic hand gloves
- Torch or headlight
- Trekking pole
Duration of trek: 6 days
Best time to visit: January-end to February
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5. Drive To Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake known for its spectacular and stark beauty can be found in a frozen state during the winter months, which makes it perfect to walk upon. Along with the shepherds who cross the Pangong Lake, you can also decide to accompany them, which would definitely be a unique experience as part of your Ladakh New Year holiday. There are many who even choose to play ice hockey on the frozen lake.
How to reach: The best way to reach Pangong Lake is to hire a taxi. If you are planning an overnight trip to the lake in an SUV, it would cost you around Rs.8000.
6. Ride A Bike To Khardung La, The Top Of The World
To experience the sensation of being on the top of the world, visit Khardung La Pass for your New Year in Ladakh, which is one of the highest motorable roads at 17,600 feet. Khardung La Pass provides access to the Nubra and Shyok Valleys. Adventure enthusiasts usually prefer riding their bikes, which can be quite an exciting and exhilarating ride.
Tip: The weather can be really unpredictable and therefore the pass can be closed in case of extreme weather. One can even suffer from mountain sickness, therefore, it best to leave after a short duration.
What you need:
- Waterproof backpacks
- Sunglasses and sunscreen lotion
- Sturdy trekking shoes
- Woolen clothes
- Medical kit
- Chewing gum, energy bar, and chocolate
- Alternatives for oxygen such as camphor and portable oxygen cylinders
Ideal for: Adventure buffs
7. Experience Local Hospitality
The best way to experience the true essence of Ladakh is to stay with the locals. Live the way the locals live and get an insight into their lives, which is definitely not easy considering the terrain and the extreme weather. You can feast on an array of delights when staying with the locals as they prepare and serve you native Ladakhi dishes. Experience the joy of staying at home away from home.
Suggested Read: 8 Tourist Circuits To Cover The Best Of Ladakh
8. Attend The Morning Prayer At A Monastery
Your celebration of New Year in Ladakh can never be complete without visiting the famous monasteries and spending moments of peace and calm amid the atmosphere of complete serenity and holiness. You can choose to stay at Hemis Monastery situated around 45km from Leh City. Founded in 1630, Hemis monastery is known for its striking architecture and there is even a museum that displays a large collection of Buddhist relics. The early morning prayers at the monastery do bring a sense of calm and stillness much required in today’s chaotic world. Do stay overnight at the monastery to experience and be a part of the devotion early in the morning.
When: 8 AM
Tip: Enjoy a meal with the lamas in the monastery, where the food served is simple yet extremely delicious.
9. Spot Snow Leopards And Asiatic Ibex
Wouldn’t it be exciting if you could make your New Year in Ladakh an extraordinary holiday by sighting wild animals from close quarters at the Hemis National Park? Well, this can be a reality when you get to see snow leopards at a short distance under the guidance of professional Snow Leopard experts. You get to trek on the mountains of Ladakh, also known as Snow Leopard Capital of the world.
Best time to visit: December to March
How to reach Hemis National Park: When you reach Leh, it is important to spend two days to acclimatize. It takes a two-hour drive to reach Hemis National Park from Leh. The trek from the gate of the park to Rumbak Village is around 4 hours. Alternately, you can even hire a mule to take you to the village.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Year In Ladakh
A. The best time to visit Ladakh is in the month of June. The weather is cold yet not too cold and just perfect. Along the roads, you can still see snow, which usually starts to melt by mid-June. For adventure enthusiasts, visiting Ladakh between mid-November and March is also an option. Being the coldest season, it does attract die-hard adventurers keen on attending Chadar Trek, which involves walking on the frozen Zanskar River.
A. Ladakh being extremely cold, you would need heavy woolen clothes to keep yourself warm. One is advised to wear heavy woolen jackets or windproof parka, thermals, fleece jacket, woolen socks, heavy woolen clothes, warm hand gloves, trekking boots or warm insulated shoes.
A. Yes, it is definitely worth visiting, if you are a keen adventure enthusiast and love the mountains. The stark and raw beauty of Ladakh is truly spellbinding and it is worth visiting at least once.
A. Losar is undoubtedly one of the most famous festivals that ushers in the New Year. Besides, Losar, other popular festivals include:
1. Hemis Tsechu
2. Ladakh Festival
3. Sindhu Darshan
4. Phyang Tsedup
5. Thiksey Gustor
6. Matho Nagrang
7. Stok Guru Tsechu
8. Saka Dawa Festival
9. Tak Tok Festival
A. Losar Festival is a popular Tibetan festival that attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. This joyous festival marks the beginning of the New Year and is an unmissable experience.
A. Ladakh is undeniably the most famous for its rugged scenic landscapes, breathtakingly beautiful mountain views, clear blue skies, Buddhist monasteries, and festivals.
A. 8 to 10 days is required for a holiday in Ladakh, which excludes the travel time to reach Ladakh.
A. Losar is a three-day festival and is one of the most widely commemorated Tibetan festivals. During these three days, people get together to celebrate various ceremonies, prayers, folk dance, and parties.
A. Performed by both men and women in all the important festivals is the community dance form of Jabro. Belonging to the nomadic people residing in the high hills of the Changthang area, this dance is a major part of the Losar celebration.
A. Indian citizens do not require a passport to visit Ladakh. In some instances, permits may be required to visit restricted areas.
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