Village Life in Winters

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6 Days
Sham Valley & Changthang

Immersive travel in offbeat villages of Ladakh

See the frozen Indus River, do indoor pottery with artists, & experience the charm of winters in offbeat villages

Why this experience is unique?

  • Stay by a frozen Indus River
  • Indoor pottery with artists
  • Meet Changpas with Pashmina Goats
  • Organic meals & warm stays
Winter Life in Ladakh

After the busy months of summer in the farms, Ladakhis start preparing for the harshest time of the year. Every house makes sure the winters pass comfortably by drying fresh vegetables, roasting barley and grinding it in a watermill to make sattu (barley flour), preparing yak cheese, and stocking up lots of dry wood for the bukhari (local indoor heating system) well in advance. As winter sets in, each village reveals itself in its most natural, most authentic form. Women dust out their looms for weaving, elders and monks plan the season’s festivities and prayer meetings, yaks and Pashmina goats return to their pens after grazing in the highlands, and every family gathers together around a bukhari to stay warm. Rivers and lakes freeze in the peak season! So much so, that villagers arrange Ice Hockey tournaments, gliding at great speed across these makeshift ‘rinks’ of Ladakh. If you are an avid traveller with a penchant for all things real and remarkable, experiencing this raw, rural, snow-covered Ladakh should be on top of your bucket list! 

Immersive Experience of Village Life

Village walk & Pottery

  • Arrive and acclimatize
  • Walk & talk with locals

Day 1Acclimatize in Leh

Arrive in Leh (11,500 ft) and relax in your homestay for a day. You will be resting today and acclimatizing yourself to the High-Altitude environment amidst the picturesque Himalayan landscape.

Day 2Village walk with local lunch

Let villagers take you to the monastery of Alchi and explain Buddhism from their own perspective. After seeing a usual tourist spot, enjoy a authentic lunch with a local family over an endless folklore and trivia about Ladakh. Continue the village exploration and visit a majestic Manyu Village situated amidst snow clad mountains. Stay in Mangyu where you might want to join hands in local beer making.

  • Indoor hands-on pottery
  • Prayer morning with monks

Day 3Indoor pottery with artists

Wake to the Buddhist Chants played in the monastery next to your homestay. Go for a morning walk in the beautiful lanes of the village while the voice of prayers is blessing the entire village. Leave from Mangyu post breakfast to meet another family in Likir to join hands in pottery making. Sit in a local, cozy workshop where artists keep making pots for monasteries and upcoming festivals. Spend a day with artists, enjoy lunch with a family, and visit nearby hidden monastery. Come to Phayang Village to stay overnight.

Day 4Meditative morning with monks

Wake up early and visit Phayang Monastery. Join the monks in their daily morning prayer and see the rituals they do everyday in the monastery. Continue your journey to Ikk Village situated in Changthang region that is home to nomadic communities. Stay with a old couple who enjoys hosting and sharing lot of folklore. The old gentleman is everyone’s favorite Ladakhi Singer in the Kungyam Valley of Changthang. Learn archery from him. Sit with family around Bukhari in the evening to hear folklores, songs and spend time late night over sipping hot tea.

Archery & Pashmina Goats
  • Folklore night around Bukhari
  • Meet Changpas & Pashmina Goats

Day 5Pashmina goats in hidden village

Start a day post breakfast to see the real nomadic life. Drive to Kungyam where a family keeps Pashmina Goats. The goats come back to their sheds called as Lekha in the village. See the goats in their sheds and observe the natural undercoat of hair that develops on their skin during winters. This undercoat eventually becomes a source of Pashmina wool. Come back to Ikk to stay warm and comfortable along the frozen Indus River.

Day 6Back to snowy lanes of Leh

Drive back to Leh town. Enjoy the charm of winters in the main market of Leh. Spend an evening in one of the cozy cafes and conclude the day in the homestay.

What it includes?

– Stay in homestays
– All transportation in the destination location
– Local activities
– Breakfast and dinner
– Entrance Fees
– Responsible Traveller’s Kit

What it excludes?

– Air fare
– Travel visa and insurance
– Bottled water
– Room service
– Any private expenses

Is this Experience right for you?

Are you travelling because you need some time away from your urban life? Does living a village life in the mud house in the mountains excite you? Are you ready to truly live the local lifestyle? If your answer is yes, take up this experience that will transport you to a different world. You might not get the internet here but you will also not feel the need for it as you will be busy exploring the unique sites, mountain views, and village life. The luxury here is living at the beautiful mountain destination, getting freshly cooked organic food at every meal, and having happy locals offering their warm hospitality.

Hear from communities

  • Guests like to eat our Ladakhi food. They say it is delicious, even when it is prepared by an elderly ama (mother) like me. I always make sure I serve them the cleanest and healthiest food. My husband is a copper artist. When guests leave us, they say ‘Julley’, and hug us. It makes us feel happy.

    Tsering Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Sumda Chun
  • I became a Mountain Homestay Host in 2018, and I have hosted many travellers since then. Running a homestay has helped me and my family a lot. Not only is the solar set up in our house useful for us, but even travellers prefer to stay in our homestay because of it.

    Rigzin Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Photolalok
  • The training we got in astronomy turned out to be a life-changing experience for our village. I felt happy and proud while mapping the position of the planets and sharing the secrets of the universe with the tourists. Tourists told me that even they didn’t know so much about the dark skies!

    Tsewang Dorjey
    Astropreneur - Maan
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