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Photographer's Note

This photo was taken while Free Wheeling on my bicycle down the Lachulung La on Manali-Leh road. The small stream that you see in this picture is a tributary of the river Indus and the white path that you can see along the base of the mountain is the so called motorable road that connects Manali to Leh.

I have been asked quite a few times on TE about why this area is so dry. So I am going to try my hand on the explanation with this post. There are two main reasons for the dryness of this area

1. Ladakh is in the rain shadow area. Himalayas are spread in East-West direction and the Monsoons hit the region from South towards the North. So due to the physiography, all the clouds have to shed the moisture on the shouthern side of himalayas, nothing escapes the himalayas. Most of the regions in the south of Himalayas recieve in excess of 2500 mm of precipitation while in the north of Himalayas it is less than 100 mm.

Himalayas also protect the India from the cold Siberian currents, ensuring a warm climate. The temperatures in the north of Himalayas can drop to as low as -30C whereas it will drop to only -10C on the southern side at the same altitude.

2. Altitude: Due to high altitude (3500-4000 meters), the temperature gets substantially low and there is very little Oxygen/CO2 (pointed out by David) for the plants to grow.

I hope my explanation was helpful.
Thanks for your visit / Merci pour votre visite.
Cheers / a bientot

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Additional Photos by Sarju Sooch (sarju) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1045 W: 50 N: 1260] (5324)
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