- Lake Tsomoriri Changthang
- Ladakh Prayers Book
- Indus River Nubra
- Leh–Manali Highway
- Prayer Wheels Dharamsala
- Pangong Tso Lake
A Different Zanskar
From 2285 $ per person
The landscape of Ladakh-Zanskar has been described as a bare lunar world. But the ecological balance here is remarkably healthy. Enclosed by the Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges, Ladakh - Zanskar certainly deserves its name, Little Tibet. This former kingdom used to be attached to India and its history has been inextricably linked with that of Tibet. Today the upper valleys of Ladakh -Zanskar serve as one of the most active bastions of Tibetan Buddhism.
The route, which takes us from Padum, in the heart of Zanskar, to Martselang on the Indus river, goes through wild, untouched countryside. For almost a week you will see neither village, monastery nor other sign of human habitation. The path takes you into an area considered off the beaten track by even the Ladakhis and the Zanskaris. Given the degree of isolation, this is an ideal itinerary for spotting wildlife. And on top of this there are about sixty gushing brooks and rivers to cross!
The trek is stunning - but challenging due to the altitude! There are several fords and probably some neves to cross but these do not present any particular difficulty. There is strenuous high altitude walking, involving the crossing of several passes, including one at 5650 m. You acclimatise gradually to the altitude.
A truly beautiful trip for those who wish to explore another side to the Himalayas, and experience a place which is lost in time.
Day 1 : Arrive in Delhi
Airport pickup and transfer to hotel in central Delhi. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2 : Delhi - Leh (3500 m)
Early but unforgettable flight to Leh over the Himalayas, then transfer to hotel. (NB This flight is subject to weather conditions. It may be delayed if the weather is poor). First experience of "Little Tibet" and the altitude. Spend afternoon relaxing. Because of the altitude (3 500 m), you are advised to get plenty of rest on arrival. Overnight in guest house*.
Day 3 : Indus Valley (3500 m)
Day to acclimatise. Visit eastern part of the Indus valley in a private vehicle: Tikse, Chimre, Hemis. Return to Leh at end of day. Night in guesthouse*
Day 4 : Leh - Kargil (2817m)
Long drive to Kargil (second largest town in Ladakh). En route we visit the monasteries of Phyang , Alchi and Likir. Arrive at end of afternoon. Overnight in guest house*.
Day 5 : Kargil - Parkasheek (3800m)
We leave Kargil for Parkasheek, travelling through the lush, green Suru valley, dotted with villages inhabited by Muslim Ladakhis. Overnight in campsite near Parkasheek village, at the foot of Nun-Kun, the two highest peaks in Zanskar (over 7000m high).
Day 6: Parkasheek - Pipiting (3600m)
Magnificent countryside with a view of Nun and Kun. We then cross an extensive no man’s land which marks the border between the Buddhist and Muslim worlds. The first Zanskar monastery comes into view at Rangdum. After this we cross the pass at Pensi La (4400m) and drop down to Padum plain. We continue on to Pipiting and camp next to the river Zanskar. Here we meet the team of mule drivers.
Day 7: Pipiting - Zangla (3369m)
Short hike to Karsha Gompa, which we visit. Continue on to Zangla (2 hours by jeep). Overnight in campsite.
Day 8: Zangla - Zumlung Sumdo (3780m) (5 hour walk)
TREK The path climbs through the village of Zangla on the right hand bank of the river. We are surrounded by clumps of willows and the trail disappears but we continue climbing and criss-crossing the river for another 20 minutes. The campsite at Zumlung Sumdo is in a small clearing where a rushing stream joins the river.
Day 9: Zumlung Sumdo - Taktok Sumdo (4231 m) (6hour walk)
TREK The climb begins just after the stream joins the river. Two hours later the zig zags start. A three hour ascent takes us to the Charchar La pass (5210m) which is marked by a chorten. We descend gradually to the Zumlung stream and reach the Taktok Sumdo campsite.
Day 10: Taktok Sumdo - Tilut Sumdo (3810m) (6 hour walk)
TREK We have to cross the Zumlung by rope because it is such a fast flowing river. After walking for 6 hours we reach the spot where the Zumlung joins the Kharma. This brings us to the campsite at Tilut Sumdo which is on a ledge just above the camp. The whole day is spent walking through gorges where you can only see the sky when you put your head right back. Every sound, including your footsteps, produces an echo.
Day 11: Tilut Sumdo - Zalung Karpo La base camp (5198m) (7 hour walk)
TREK Climb the right bank of the Kurma. After three quarters of an hour the path crosses to the left bank when the river meets the mountain and makes a sudden bend to the left. We enter a side valley. Our path climbs steeply into a gorge, occassionally disappearing. But the valley soon starts to widen out and two hours later we reach a fork where two rivers join. We walk upstream to the campsite.
Day 12:Zalung Karpo La base camp (5198m) (6 hour walk)
TREK Day to relax or walk through high mountain pastures to see ibex and bharals.
Day 13: Zalung Karpo La base camp - Langtang Chu campsite (4328m) (5 hour walk)
TREK Early morning departure in order to cross Zalung Karpo pass by the end of the morning. The trail climbs through the valley which bends to the right to join the Markha valley. There then follows a series of zigzags up a steep slope. The climb brings us to Zalung Karpo La (5197m). We drop down into a wide valley and follow a steep path to the campsite at Langtang Chu.
Day 14: Langtang Chu campsite - Nimaling (4650m) (6-7 hour walk)
TREK An hour after leaving the campsite we reach a rock face where the trail divides in two. We climb a steep slope to the western ridge of Kang Yurze then descend the other side of the valley. We reach the high pasture of Nimaling, at the foot of Kangmaru La, one of the great mountain pastures of Ladakh.
Day 15: Nimaling - Shang Sumdo (3850m) (3 hour walk)
TREK A series of long zig zags bring us to the summit of Kangmaru La (5200m), the red clay pass. All around us the mountains are in shades of ochre and brown. The Karakorum is now more clearly visible with Saser Kangri dominating the range. A steep descent brings us to the source of the Martselang. We arrive in Shang Sumdo campsite.
Day 16: Shang Sumdo - Martselang (3414m) - Leh (2-3 hour walk)
TREK A short walk along the Martselang brings us to the banks of the Indus. Return to Leh in a private vehicle. Overnight in guest house*.
Day 17 : Leh (3500m)
Day at leisure in Leh. Overnight in guest house*.
Day 18 : Leh - Delhi
Early morning transfer to airport for flight to Delhi. Airport pickup and check into hotel in central Delhi. Free afternoon for sight seeing (supplement for guided tour in a private vehicle - ask us for details). Overnight in hotel.
Day 19 : Delhi - international airport
Day at leisure in Delhi. We keep on a single room in the hotel in the afternoon to leave our things and have a shower before the late evening transfer to the airport. Shanti Travel says ’au revoir’