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Metamorphosis

Sreedeep | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on December 08, 2017

Devoid of selfie-seeking tourists, post-October Ladakh is a sight to seek out

It is that time of the year in Ladakh when the plunging mercury necessitates the departure of tourists. The subzero temperature discomfits those who seek creature comforts.

In the last half-decade, the number of tourists in Ladakh has increased by almost 500 per cent. And the rampant construction of hotels and restaurants, along with the proliferation of travel agencies and car rentals, has mangled the fragile ecology of this high-altitude mountain desert terrain.

Nonetheless, the arrival of winter still grants a few moments of peace and quiet

If one seeks silence, post-October is the best time to enjoy a Ladakh sans selfie-seekers. There are no local tourists hunting down the shoot locations of the popular Bollywood film 3 Idiots, constantly leaving behind traces of their self-indulgent holiday.

The cold pierces the bone, but many prefer it to braving the crowds. It might be windy, but it is free of diesel fumes. To discover oneself in the vast emptiness devoid of noisy herds is also an adventure.

Most importantly, one can see the glorious waterbodies surrendering and succumbing to the cold as they turn into vast expanses of ice.

Matter changing form evokes surreal visual and sonic effects, which add to the experience of travelling in Ladakh. The half-solidified chunks are transparent — revealing what lies underneath and yet creating a shield from above.

Sreedeep is a fellow at C-PACT at Shiv Nadar University

Published on December 08, 2017