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.
1. An aerial view of the Himalayas as the flight from New Delhi prepares to land in Leh.
2. A vendor of dried fruit and nuts sits at the Leh market wearing the traditional Brokpa costume and headgear, waiting for customers.
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.
4. Changla Pass, at 5,360 meters, is proudly proclaimed the third-highest motorable pass in the world.
5. A young Ladakhi woman carries her small daughter in the customary manner.
6. This little Ladakhi girl smiles from a distance but is shy when it comes to posing for the camera.
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.
8. Reflections of the mountains on a dull grey morning near Pangong Lake.
9. Young monks in training during an early morning prayer session at the Thiksey monastery near Leh.
10. A solitary monk walks in for his morning prayers at the Thiksey monastery.
11. Traditional painter Norboo Sonam works at his home in Likir, a couple hours' drive from Leh.
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.
13. An old woman wearing protective sunglasses against the harsh mountain light at the main market in Leh.
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.