So far this winter central Zanskar appears to be enjoying sunny, cold weather, with little to no snow, a marked contrast to this time last year when snow was waist deep. It is however very cold and ice build up on roads, especially in the vicinity of nullahs and natural springs, continues to be an issue. A BRO/Beacon truck recently slid off the new road near Ichar, injuring labourers and one Beacon official who was airlifted for treatment.
The rumour from Zanskar is that snow will arrive on January 11th, 2011. I enquired as to how this date was fixed, expecting some reference to an almanac. However, I was informed that Zanskaris, certainly in Padum, no longer rely on such things. Instead, satellite forecasting and Dr Sonam Lotus, Director of J&K Meteorological Dept., have surpassed local astrologers (who's consultation is now largely restricted to matrimonial and funeral business).
Although I have little meteorological background I know that even with the best meteorological resources and understanding predicting snow on Jan 11th is a long shot, but stranger things have happened I'm sure. Time will tell.
I suspect this will be the last update before Christmas. Happy Holidays and all the best for 2011.
I've just heard that a taxi is making the run from Kargil to Padum today - given that it is mid-December it is quite something that the Pensi La is still open to traffic. The general consensus is that this will however be the last taxi this year, but who knows what 2011 will bring. Friends in Padum are enjoying nin-lok an intensive period of reading religious texts, eating well and enjoying copious cups of chang. What better way to relax, stay warm and enjoy the enforced winter break.