$500.00 – $4,250.00
Join Mike Shipman and Lalit Deshmukh exploring the stark and wondrous beauty of the highest plateau in India. The region of Ladakh, Tibetan for “Land of High Passes”, ranges in elevation from 8,370 ft (2,550 m) at the Indus River to 25,400 ft (7,742 m) on the top of Saltoro Kangri, Ladakh’s highest mountain peak. Most mountain passes are above 16,000 ft (5,000 m), living up to the name. The average elevation of Ladakh is nearly 11,000 ft and features some of the most stunning mountain scenery on Earth.
Ladakh is also known as “Little Tibet” and medieval Islamic scholars called it, گرات تبت, the Great Tibet, or Great Highland. Since at least 200 BC the region has been a crossroads rich in culture and spirituality brought to people across Asia via the Silk Road. The exchange of commodities and culture in the markets of Leh, Kargil, and others in Ladakh are where traders from south and central Asia mingled, introducing one another to new languages, foods, ideas, and beliefs. “…there is such a motley collection of types and various costumes, and such a babble of different languages, as it would not be easy to find elsewhere…” wrote explorer E.F. Knight in his 1905 memoir of the Leh bazaar. Buddhist monasteries, or gompas, with their distinctive architecture, stand watch on mountain tops and catch the sun as it rises and sets.
The stark landscape is lined with green along the Indus River, for which India derives its name, and the river plain, shores of high elevation lakes, and steep granite cliffs are home to over 700 bird species including the Himalayan griffon, Lammergeier (bearded vulture), golden eagle, black-necked crane, bar-headed goose, and black drongo. Mammals range from the desert lowlands to the highest peaks; Argali and Ladakh urial sheep, Ibex, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan donkey (kiang), woolly hare, Tibetan fox, and the rare snow leopard and Himalayan brown bear.
Ladakh, and the town of Leh, is very much like my second home for almost the last 12 years, and I can’t wait to return. Barren mountains, glistening in the golden light of the setting sun, shadows formed by the surrounding peaks or the clouds. I have spent countless hours watching the light and shadows take different shapes and forms, transforming the scene into so much new! Many monasteries here are architectural masterpieces, and are decorated attractively inside. They are so ancient, seeing them and learning about them makes us want to travel in the past. There are special moments when it comes to making pictures; when the sun accelerates on its path to the horizon and the soft golden glow falls on the Mother Earth as the sunset nears, or when a single candle or light pierces the dark interior of a monastery, when the river meanders and creates a lovely composition or a nesting pair of bar-headed geese glide over the gentle waves of the lake. And not to forget the vast universe of stars and the Milky Way in the night sky along the shores of Pangong Lake. What a perfect photographic opportunity!
We welcome you to travel with us to this amazingly scenic and spiritual place for an adventure you will always remember and to make photographs and friendships you will always cherish.