Ladakh is one of the most sought after tourist destinations for all who love the mountains across the world. A picture postcard landscape, surrounded by the snow-capped Zanskar and Karakoram ranges, Ladakh just raised the bar in tourism with the Khelo India - Zanskar Winter Sports and Youth Festival 2021, where Yak riding is one of the key activities. "This area used to remain cut off from the rest of the world for five/six months due to heavy snow but no more now," union sports minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted, adding tourists can now "experience the beauty of Zanskar" and the warmth of the Ladakhi people.
In Ladakh, this is the first big Khelo India event, the sports ministry's flagship programme to encourage sporting activities as part of daily fitness. The 13-day festival includes ice climbing, trekking on the frozen Zanskar River, ice hockey and snow sculpture. An ethnic food fest is an added attraction.
Here's a look at what Yak riding at nearly 12,000 feet and minus 20 degrees can be:
With temperature at minus -20°C at day-time and -32°C at night it is chilling but the ambience and the spirit of people are making the Khelo India Winter Sports Festival at Zanskar a colorful and memorable. The beauty of Zanskar is mesmerizing! https://t.co/rTNqONI8Alpic.twitter.com/8WhrS1A96C— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) January 22, 2021
Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, a sports enthusiast and BJP MP from Ladakh tweeted a video and photos of the winter sports fest. "I was fortunate to get the opportunity to lead a three-day Chadar trek," he wrote on Twitter. The Chadar trek mostly covers the frozen area of Zanskar river and throughout the route trekkers walk on the rugged and icy terrain.
Correction: at 3,657 metres (11,998 feet) altitude.— Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (@jtnladakh) January 22, 2021
ज़ांस्कर विंटर स्पोर्ट्स एंड यूथ फेस्टिवल 2021 के पहले कार्यक्रम का उद्घाटन 18/01/21 को लेह में निमू गांव के पास सिंधु नदी और ज़ांस्कर नदी के संगम पर किया गया था जो बकुला गुफा से शुरू हुआ। मेरा सौभाग्य था कि मुझे तीन दिनों तक चलने वाले यह चदर ट्रेक का नेतृत्व करने का अवसर मिला। pic.twitter.com/F9QeyE4wox— Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (@jtnladakh) January 20, 2021
Addressing the inauguration of the Khelo India Zanskar Winter Sport and Youth Festival, Mr Rijiju said his ministry will promote Ladakh as a centre for ice hockey and soon a centre for archery and polo will also be opened here. Leh, in Jammu and Kashmir, is the biggest city in Ladakh and one of the coldest deserts in the world. The terrain and the rivers attract trekkers and climbers from across the world.