14 Jan 2017

Leh and Ladarkh, Northern India

From The Weekend, 11:06 am on 14 January 2017

India is a land of contrasts. In most parts of this vast country, you can't escape the heat, but head way up north, to Ladarkh, and you're in Himalayan territory. You fly in over vast snowy mountains and when you land at Leh airport, there are warnings about altitude sickness.

The advice, to take it easy and drink lots of liquids, is sound. The air is really thin and the temperatures icy cold much of the year. Leh is the main centre of this part of India and is at an altitude of more than three-and-a-half thousand metres. It's also currently undergoing massive building and roadworks, in the hope of luring more tourists.

In Ladarkh, snow leopard tourism is a big if elusive attraction. Lynn Freeman spent time with the Snow Leopard Trust's Karma Sonam. The trust works with local farmers, villagers and schools to encourage people to care for the big cats, and to find ways to reduce the risk of them attacking local livestock.

More India:

Insight – Wildlife vs humans in India

The Weekend’s India coverage was made possible by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.