Ladakh is one of the most beautiful places in the world and even though it is barren, the effects of the different seasons are strikingly apparent. Making it a wonderful choice for travel, no matter the time of year (provided you can withstand bone-chilling winter of Ladakh).
Yet, when it comes to photography, there is one season which rises above all else and presents you with views, unlike any other.
Not only that, it also ensures you get fewer people in your photographs than in the peak summer season and you do not have to withstand the extreme cold of winter.
The Autumn Season in Ladakh is beautiful, and it also signals the end of the tourist season and closure of the majority of hotels and restaurants. Leaving only the locals and a few hardy souls like you to explore the beautiful landscape.
From last week of September to around middle of November, leaves on trees turn various hues of yellow and orange, beautifully contrasting with the barren mountains, deep blue sky, and crystal clear lakes/rivers.
Even though it is cold at this time and temperature can easily dip below freezing. It is still possible to do early morning and late night photography, without your hands and feet feeling completely numb due to the cold weather (under the protection of warm gloves and boots of course.)
If you’re traveling to Ladakh around the end of September, then you have the option of exploring Suru and Zanskar Valleys as well, although mid-September is a better time to explore these.
And until the Middle of October, you can even take the Manali – Leh Highway with a certain confidence, that the road will be kept open by the BRO and at least basic accommodation will be available at Sarchu and Pang. After that, it is safer to take the aerial route or the Srinagar – Leh Highway.
As far as Ladakh is concerned, pretty much all of it is open during this time, including the Wari La (until around the middle of October.) Hence, there shouldn’t be any impediment to your photography and apart from an occasional snowfall temporarily blocking the road and adding colours to the landscape, there isn’t anything you need to be worried about.
Yes, only basic and limited accommodation is available around Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri at that time. However, it is more of an annoyance than an impediment to anyone visiting Ladakh for photography.
And in the end, it is all going to be worth it.