Charukesi Ramadurai travels to northern India and returns with these images of the mountainous land and its people.

Ladakh — or La-Dags, meaning “land of high passes” — attracts travelers from all over the world, who come seeking glimpses of a life ordered by Himalayan Buddhism. Some go so far as to describe it is as the last Shangri La. A land of ancient monasteries, austere Buddhists, friendly locals, and stunning landscapes, Ladakh remains cut off from the rest of the world during the winter months.


Himalayas, aerial

1. An aerial view of the Himalayas as the flight from New Delhi prepares to land in Leh.


Indian vendor

2. A vendor of dried fruit and nuts sits at the Leh market wearing the traditional Brokpa costume and headgear, waiting for customers.


Vegetable vendors

3. Vegetable vendors display their wares in the main market of Leh. During the harsh winter months, supply of fresh vegetables and poultry to Ladakh is completely cut off.


Changla Pass

4. Changla Pass, at 5,360 meters, is proudly proclaimed the third-highest motorable pass in the world.


Mother and daughter, Ladakh

5. A young Ladakhi woman carries her small daughter in the customary manner.


Ladakhi girl

6. This little Ladakhi girl smiles from a distance but is shy when it comes to posing for the camera.


Pangong Lake

7. Cloudscapes at Pangong Lake, situated at an elevation of 4,250 meters and stretching 134km -- only a third of the lake is in India, with the rest in Tibet.


Mountain reflection, India

8. Reflections of the mountains on a dull grey morning near Pangong Lake.


Indian monks

9. Young monks in training during an early morning prayer session at the Thiksey monastery near Leh.


Buddhist monk

10. A solitary monk walks in for his morning prayers at the Thiksey monastery.


Indian painter

11. Traditional painter Norboo Sonam works at his home in Likir, a couple hours' drive from Leh.


Indus River

12. At the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers, near the village of Nimmo, an hour's drive from Leh. From here the blue green waters flow to Pakistan.


Indian woman

13. An old woman wearing protective sunglasses against the harsh mountain light at the main market in Leh.


Tso Moriri, India

14. The other high-altitude lake of Ladakh, Tso Moriri, whose waters change color with the whims of the sunlight.


15. A Ladakhi grandfather walks with his young grandson on the streets of Leh.

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