Ladakh is one of the most amazing and scintillating destination in the world to bring the highly agitating experience of adventurous trekking in different Himalayan ranges. And while talking about the ranges of Zanskar and Ladakh for trekking tours these could be considered as the most classic destinations in the world for a complete bewilderment. The Zanskar Ladakh trekking is a 14 to 20 kms per day of tough trek to take the trekkers towards the western Himalayas for a premier long distance footpath to connect Darcha in Ladakh with Padum in Zanskar.
This trek includes a fascinating drive towards Darcha (3,360m) over Rohtang Pass (3,978m) which is the gateway to Lahaul, Spiti, Pangi and Zanskar valleys. Lying amidst the two incredible valleys namely the Indus Valley and the main crest of the Indian Himalaya, this remote and inaccessible setting is being well constrained by snowy mountain passes with Darcha being the starting point of the trek. The areas of Ladakh and Zanskar are being allured with the most erstwhile Buddhist lineaments and still have kept alive an archaic form of Tibetan Buddhism. These cultural Tibetan alignments can best be found here which flourishes in chain of the far-flung monasteries, most of which occupy spectacular fortified locations, high on rocky ridges in isolated valleys.
Interestingly, on the way to this trek, the trekkers can find around 10-15 high passes to cross the major areas of Zanskar and Ladakh. While heading on towards Shingo La (5,090 m) to get into Zanskar, one can meet many ancient Gompas on the way to include Phugtal Gompa, built under a huge cave to provide one of the fantastic view of the snow capped coldest regions and Karsha Gompa which is the biggest Gompa in Ladakh. Other mesmerizing monasteries in the region to be visited during the trek are Sani Gompa, Mani Gompa, Bardan Gompa, Karsha Gompa, Lingshed Gompa and Lamayuru Gompa.
Interestingly, this rugged trekking tour to Lamayuru from Darcha will also acquire different high passes including Shingo la 5100 mts, Parfi la, Hunuma la 4800 mts, Sengge la 5060 mts, Sirsir la and Prinkiti la. The trekking routes also require crossing magnanimous rivers like Chandra, Doda, Bhaga, Tsarap, Zanskar and Indus.
Some of the other major attractions of Ladakh Zanskar trek that can be experienced throughout the journey are:
The perfect season to experience this astonishing and tough trekking tour is between the months of mid June to October.
In the evening drive to Manali by AC Volvo Coach at 18:00 hrs. Overnight journey.
Arrival at Manali by morning and then transfer to hotel. At leisure or a tour of attractive places like Hadimba Devi temple, Vashisht Hot Springs, Club house etc. can be taken. Overnight in the hotel.
In the morning after breakfast drive along the Beas River upstream long the true left bank through the several villages to the Rohtang pass (4050 m). Down hill drive to the Gramphu and passport check point at Koksar. Reach Keylong the tribal dist. headquarter, 35 kms a head campsite at Darcha. We will camp near the river at Darcha. Overnight in the tent.
Get ready for your day one trek to Palemo. After 30 minutes walk check post is established, visit the tiny hamlet and continue high over the Zanskar Chhu River through the last village of the valley (Rarick and Chhika) after few hour walk camp site is visible on the right side of the Zanskar Chhu (river). Overnight in the tent.
Gradual walk through the boulders and meadows, shepherds from the Kangra valley can be seen with their flocks. We also have to cross streams twice or thrice enroute. Arrive Zanskar Sumdo (4000 M), a good camping ground for the overnight in the Tent.
Today it’s trekking high up on mountain side. First cross the river by a hanging bridge and then steep climb up for about an hour and then follow the trek on a narrow valley until you reach Ramjak, a small meadow. Thereafter to Chuminakpo (4800 m). Overnight in the tent.
Path leads over moraines, ice chilled stream may have to crossed, over snow and glacier, suddenly prayer flags can be seen flattering over the pass. Descend to the Zanskar valley, before arriving at campsite one have to wade through Kargyak Chhu, beautiful campsite on the bank of Lhakhang Chhu. Overnight in the tent.
Easy trek beside the right bank of Kargyak Chhu and foot of the Gumboranjom tower; a chilled stream has to cross. An opportunity to see closely the herds of yaks, Marmots are whistling around the meadow and plays hide and seek. Long series of Mane wall and Chhorten are a symbol to reach Kargyak village, it houses a small Gompa on the top of village. Overnight in the tent.
Trail goes through Tanze, Kuru, Testa and Yal. Villages Farmer can be seen cultivating their fields with melodious song of Zanskar. Reached Purni, situated on the confluence of the Tsarap and Kargyak Chhu. Overnight in the tent.
Today we visit Phugtal Gompa, one of the oldest monasteries in Zanskar and spectacularly located. Passing through a narrow valley and the splendid gorge we cross the bridge and come to a small plateau sprinkled with Chorten and religious banners. From here we see one of the most spectacular sights of the Phugtal Monastery built in a cave. The monastery belongs to the tradition of the Gelugpas (Yellow Hats). Back to Prune and further trekking up on the left bank of Tsarap river after crossing the bridge. Arrive Gyalbokh village. Overnight in tent. (6-7 hrs).
Several difficult stretches for the horses and mules. A gradual climb before coming to small plateau and the gradual descending towards to Raru village. Overnight in Tent. (6-7 hrs)
It’s an easy trekking down on motorable road. After an hour's trekking we come to a small village called Mone. Visit a Gompa there. Further enroute after two hours is Bardan Gompa, situated on mountain plateau. Arrive Padum (3650 m), the capital of Zanskar where two rivers Doda and Tsarap join to form Zanskar River. Overnight in Tent. (6-7 hrs).
Padum the day is free to acclimatise.
From Padum head towards Pipiting and follow a dusty plain towards the Doda River and reach bridge. Cross the bridge to reach Karsha Monastery dating back to the 16th century. It is the largest and the wealthiest of all monasteries in Zanskar. Further trekking down on the plain path is Rinam. Overnight in Tent. (6-7 hrs).
Flat trail beside the Zanskar River, visit Zangla village a ancient capital of Zanskar, ruin of castle and Nunery can be visited, small Gompa in the village in family house shifted from the old fort houses some old Thanka and statues. After visiting this village back to the beautiful camp site of Pishu. Overnight in the tent.
Moranic track leading up and down, Crossing a bridge over stream. Colorful Chorten appear before arriving in the village, explore the Pidmo village. 2 hours walk till campsite of Hanumil. Overnight in the tent
Now onwards the path leads us away from Zanskar River. Climb up to Parfi-La (3950 m) and then steep descend until reaching the Oma-Chu River. Crossing over the bridge and further climb up a 500 m sandy slope we reach the sheepfolds of Snertse.
Long gradual ascend towards Hanumil-La (4877 m). Reach the top of Hanumil-La and then steep descent about 1000 meters. Again climb about 400 meter up along the mountain side, cross a small pass and then easy descent to Lingshed (3800 m). Overnight in Tent. (7-8 hrs).
Gradual one hour climb to the Margum La (4200 m) then pass an escarpment, go along the slope. Gentle descent towards the villages of Gongma and Skiumpata. Steep climb to Kiupa-la (3850 m) and then gradual climb along mountainside to the foot of Shinge-la. Overnight in Tent.
About one to two hours steep climb to Shinge-la (5060 m) and then descending to a broad valley. Again gentle climb towards Bumiktse-la (4200 m) and descending towards Photoskar (3750 m), a splendid village. Overnight in Tent. (7-8 hrs)
From Photoskar it's gentle climb up to a large Chorten, then long ascent of SirSir-la (4990 m). An easy descent to the river and village Hanupatta (3450 m). Overnight IN Tent. (6-7 hrs)
Trek down the slope until entering the gorge and the bridge at the junction of the two rivers. Some easy some difficult stretches of fallen rocks until Phenji La. Afterwards it’s trekking on motorable road up to Wanla (3245 m). Overnight in Tent. (5-6 hrs)
Last day of our trekking. We pass the Shilla village to cross Prinkti-la (3726 m) to reach Lamayuru (3 hrs). Visit monastery and drive to Leh (3500 m). Overnight in hotel.
On this day you will go a sightseeing trip to some ancient monasteries in this area.
Shey Gompa is about 15 kms from Leh. It used to be the summer palace of the kings of Ladakh. There are lots of Stupas and Gompas built around the palace. Shey palace was built by Deldan Namgyal in the beginning of 17’Th century AD. Main attraction in Shey is the 12m Shakyamuni Buddha statue inside the Dresthang Gompa.
Thiksey Gompa, close to Shey is about 17 kms from Leh. The monastery is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Ladakh and belongs to the Gelukspa order.
Hemis, about 45 kms south of Leh it is one of the most famous and largest monastery in Ladakh. It belongs to the Drukpa order and was founded in the early 17’Th century. The setting is perfect with the monastery cradled in a lovely valley, surrounded by streams and fronted by long Mani walls. Overnight stay at the guest house.