At a dizzying altitude of over three thousand meters above sea level lies Gupuks, a natural pond that freezes over during peak winter months. Friends, teammates, and soon to be competitors abandon the warmth of their homes to occupy pieces of this frozen water and ready themselves for Ladakh’s ice hockey season.
Seasoned players mingle with beginners as their skates cut through the ice and their hockey sticks dance across the glistening surface. Droves of people, bundled up in several layers of clothes, brave the chilling outdoors to cheer them on during tournaments.
In the few short decades since ice hockey was introduced to Ladakh, it has become the central winter sport in the region. In fact, the Indian ice hockey team is comprised almost entirely of Ladakhi men and women, who proudly represent their country on an international stage.
Photo by: @indrarajkhowa