Book Review | Sojourn in Sub-zero – An Entertaining and Informative Ladakh Travelogue


Author: Vasanth Gopalakrishnan

Ladakh is a beautiful place to visit in winters; and summers; and basically all seasons. Such is the essence of the inherent natural beauty and the local Ladakhi culture; along with the zing of adventure that it offers in the form of thrilling bike trips, river rafting trails and trekking tours- that it has become the go-to location for anyone wanting to go on an adventurous vacation to a scenic and serene place in the mountains. The author Vasanth Gopalakrishnan comes with up the book “Sojourn in Sub-zero”, which is a travel memoir detailing his trip to Ladakh in winter, and his experiences there in sub-zero conditions.

The front cover of the book is excellent, and shows the author and his wife jaunting in a car on a road in Ladakh. There is also a Buddhist monastery on the mountains, and the tranquil blue of the sky and the greenish hues of the mountains- the exquisite dash of pastel colours used- gives the book cover a soothing and vivacious appeal. The blurb at the back cover details some of the quirks experienced in the extreme sub-zero conditions of Ladakh, but there is also a mention of life over the edge experiences, and travel aficionados will surely pick up this book for reading the many escapades that the author experienced vacationing in Ladakh.

The book describes the story of the eight beautiful days that the author Vasanth and his wife Sumathy, a run-of-the-mill Delhi couple spent in Leh. The book is full of humorous anecdotes- of pouring hot tea inside the radiator to melt the frozen diesel, of no water in the commode because it was frozen, and many more- and due to this; the book has a breezy narrative. The visits to Losar, the Gompas-Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Zanskar have also been described; along with the local life and its idiosyncrasies.

This is a book that should be read for its excellent portrayal of how a trip to Ladakh unfolded for the author, and what experiences people wanting to vacation during winters in this unmatched haven for nature lovers and adventure aficionados should be ready for. Such travellers will certainly benefit from the anecdotes described in the book; and will learn many things from the problems that the vacationing couple faced, and the innovative solutions that they adopted. For those who have not been to Ladakh yet but are looking forward to it, this book is a good way of familiarising with how a Ladakhi vacation is like; and for those who have, it will be a nostalgic stroll down the rugged and picturesque landscapes of Ladakh. Also, this travelogue is a compelling and satisfying outing for armchair travellers and people not intending to travel to Ladakh soon, owing to the fascinating information packed in about 80 pages, the author’s personal touch and lively writing.




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