Category: Demanding Adventure
The ancient Buddhist kingdom of Zanskar is hidden deep in the western reaches of the great Himalayas. For most of the year the high passes are inaccessible because of snow, making the deep gorge of the frozen Zanskar River the only way of transport by walking. Villages nestling high up on cliffs, the greenest fields where peas and buckwheat are grown and ancient monasteries, are just some of the attractions on this spectacular Ladakh trekking tour.
- 50% advance payment confirms your booking
- We will transport all your belongings for you so that you only have to carry your day pack with camera, water bottle and jacket
- We serve three meals a day including snacks and drinks. We provide a variety of tasty healthy food including Indian, Chinese and Western meals with lots of vegetables and fruit
What is included in the tour
- Road transportation from Leh to Leh by car
- Accommodation in tents on twin share basis during trekking
- All meals (Day 1 Lunch to Day 10 Lunch)
- All camping gear including tents and sleeping mattress. Kitchen, Dining and toilet tent
- Permits and Entrance fees
- Good English speaking guide, cooks and porters, mules
What is NOT included in the tour
- Accommodation and Meals in Leh
- Personal Insurance
- All alcoholic beverages and personal expenses
- Good down sleeping bags can be provided at an additional cost of Rs. 200 per day
- 7 high passes above 4000
- Lingshit and Karsha Monastery
- Padum and Kargil Town
- Interaction with locals and insight into their lifestyle
- Highest point 5400m
Drive to Photoksar 4000 (5-6 hrs):
After breakfast, we jump into our jeeps and head for Photoksar, start point of our trek and one of the most picturesque villages in Zanskar. On our way to Photoksar we pass Spitok Gompa and Basgo, a 500 year old World Heritage Monument situated spectacularly above the Indus, if we have time, we'll stop for a visit. After driving for about 5 hrs we reach Wanla and visit its ancient monastery, built on a mountain top flanked by two shattered tower remnants of a now-destroyed 14th-century fortress. After visiting the Wanla Monastery we continue towards Photoksar on a recently built dirt road that crosses over the 4900 m Sirsir La and winding down to the village.
Photoksar - Base of Singge La (5-6 hrs):
After crossing the small pass of Bumiktse La (4200), we enter into the broad and lush Photang Valley. A gentle trail leads us through this enjoyable landscape, where the villagers keep their yaks and horses grazing. One of the most fascinating things about the Zanskar trek is the ever-changing landscape. Every time you turn a corner or cross a pass, a new world will appear in front of you: the deepest gorges, the greenest fields, the majestic Zanskar River giving formations and life. Slowly we ascend towards our camp at the base of Singge La (4600 m).
Base of Singge La - Gongma via Singge La (6-7 hrs):
A steep ascend will lead us to Singge La (5090m), meaning the "Lion Pass." The last few hundred meters are steep, but the top of the pass presents a rewarding view. From the pass a steep descend for few hundred meters. We follow the trail high above the Zanskar River, the mountains having taken a greener and gentler formation, before ascending gradually to Kiupa La (4400 m). From the pass the trail down is steep zigzag to the village of Gongma (3840m).
Gongma - Lanang via Lingshed (6- 7 hrs):
From Gongma, we climb up the gentle trail to the Margum La (4400m) from where we can see Lingshed an hour or so away. The monastery is founded by the Gelugpa order and gives home to around 60 monks. The village itself is spread out over a big area, enclosed in green fields of barley. After visiting monastery of Lingshed we will continue towards Lanang.
Lanang - Zingchen via Hanumur La (6-7 hrs):
A steep and long ascent will take us to the pass of Hanumur La (4950m). Once there, the views of north to Singge La and the snow capped peaks of the Ladakh range are spectacular. From the pass it is an easy descend for an hour before a steep descend down to Snertse. Just above Snertse, there is a herders' camp, and sometimes fresh cheese, milk and curd are available here. Down in the riverbed it's possible to go hunting for fossils, and the locals sometimes show a nice collection of what they have found. When the Indian plate slammed into the stationary mass of Asia some 50 millions years ago, the Great Himalayas were formed. The Zanskar range consists of layers of sediments from the ocean floor while the Ladakh range consists of granite, born in the immense heat generated by the friction between the two plates. After resting for a while at Snertse we will continue towards Zingchen, where we can take a bath in Oma Chhu river.
Zingchen - Hanamur via Parfi La (4- 5 hrs):
In the early morning we head for our last pass before Padum, Parfi La (3950m), juniper covered trail zigzagging up to the pass. This area is also home to the Himalayan brown bear, as well as blue sheep. From the pass we descend down to the banks of the Zanskar River and to the village of Hanamur (3380m), which will be our camp for the night.
Hanamur - Pishu (4-5 hrs):
This is a relatively level stage along the Zanskar River. On the way we will pass Pidmo (3420m), a small village with a few families. It is another 2-3 hours journey to Pishu, (3470m) which is a scenic village located on the west side of the Zanskar River. Hanamur, Pishu and Pidmo together with Tsazar and Honia on the other side of the river, constituted the former kingdom of Zangla. The entrance to Pidmo is marked by a long mani (stone plate) wall and chortens (Buddhist saint's tomb), from where we find our way to a grassy campsite.
Pishu - Padum (6-7 hrs):
We have another quite easy day ahead of us along a dry, dusty jeep road. From Pishu the trail leads to Rinam (3550 m), following the banks of the Zanskar River. Arriving at Karsha (3600m) we can visit the famous monastery. After visiting the monastery we continue towards Padum (3531m), the capital of Zanskar and a major trade center in the valley.
Padum - Kargil (234 kms):
We begin our safari toward Kargil, passing Sani monastery (6 kms) turning west, crossing the Doda River at Dhungri, we will drive along the right bank of River. Further ride will lead us to the beautiful valley covered with comprehensive green patches. Between Padum to Aksho, we will come across few small villages of Dhungri, Phay and Hamuling. Here we can see slowly leaving Zanskar valley and Drang Drung Glacier beside the Penzila. In the middle of the valley, next we can see Rangdum monastery situated on a rock hill. Then come the villages of Shakar, Parkachik and Panikhar. Before reaching the Panikhar about 12 kms at Thangbu village, we can have an incredible photographic view of Nun (7135 m) and Kun (7080) mountains before reaching Kargil.
Kargil - Leh via Sham valley (230 kms):
Today will be our last day to travel before coming back to Leh, passing some of the most beautiful monasteries and villages of Sham.