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 frozen Zanskar River the only way of transport by walking. Villages nestled high on cliffs, the greenest of fields where peas and buckwheat are grown, and ancient monasteries are just some of the attractions on this spectacular trek.
|Season||July to October|
|Total Duration||18 Nights /19 Day|
|Trekking days||10 Day|
|Total trekking hours||55 hours|
|Special Features||High Passes & Ancient Monasteries|
|Max Alt.||4950 m|
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Arrive in Delhi by International flight. After a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our representative would assist you at the airport and to our hotel for check-in. After some rest, breakfast at coffee shop in the Hotel. After breakfast we will go on a guided tour of Delhi at 1100 hr, beginning with a morning sightseeing trip to Old Delhi and followed by visits to the 1648 Red Fort, India's largest mosque -Jama Masjid and Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat. Afternoon tour includes visit to India Gate & President's House. Later on time we drive back to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 02: Delhi -Leh (BY 9W-609) Dep:0645hrs /Arr:0800hr
Early morning transfer to Domestic Airport to connect the flight for Leh. Upon arrival at Leh Airport our representative would assist you at the Airport and transfer to Hotel. Check into the hotel. Post breakfast rest of the day for rest for acclimatization. Later in the afternoon a walk around Leh town (3500mtr) includes a visit to Leh Market, Leh Palace , Shanti Stupa & Leh Gompa This walk shall help us in a getting acclimatized at this height. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 03: Leh -Lamayuru (3 ½ hrs drive)
We leave Leh in the morning for Lamayuru. Along the way, we come across some of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Ladakh, founded around 11th century by Lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo Lamayuru, Likir and Alchi offer truly memorable visits on account of their age and history. After reaching Lamayuru (3420m) we will spend the day exploring the ancient monastery and to prepare for the next day.
Day 04: Lamayuru - Wanla (3-4 hrs)
We pack our small backpacks, watch the horses get ready, and set off for this first day of our adventure. A gentle trail leads up to the small pass of Prinkti La (3750m) before heading down to the village of Shilla and the last 3 km to Wanla (3250m).Here we set up camp for the night and spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun or exploring the gompa in Wanla, before we gather around for a good dinner.
Day 05: Wanla -Hanupatta (6 hrs)
An easy walk towards Phansila (3410m) will lead us to a beautiful valley. From here we descend to a pass beyond which the valley starts to narrow, with mountain towering above our heads and the Zanskar River making its way deep down in the gorge. In this barren, harsh landscape, beautiful rosebushes give your senses an unforgettable experience. We camp close to the river, just after the village of Hanupatta (3760m), where we have a great view down the valley.
Day 06: Hanupatta - Sir Sir La 4850m -Photoskar (6 -7 hrs)
We follow the river and the wide valley up for some time before we cross the river and start the long and gradual ascent to Sir Sir La (4850m). From the top of the pass we can get panoramic view of the main Zanskar range as well as our next pass, the Singge La (5090m). It is another 2 2 ½ hr of walk down to the village of Photoskar (4200m), situated in the cliff of mountains virtually piercing the sky and surrounded by green fields. The trail towards Sumdo disappears in the deep gorge down to the right of the village. We spend the night close to the village and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Day 07: Photoskar - Singge La 5090m - Foot of Singge La (7-8 hours)
After crossing the small pass of Bumiktse La (4200) this morning, we enter the broad and lush Photang valley. A gentle trail leads us through this beautiful landscape, where villager graze their yak/dzo and horses. 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 appears in front of you. Passing through the deepest of gorges and meandering through the greenest of fields, the majestic Zanskar River assume a fascinating form and life of its own. With color and shadows changing with the sun, one never gets bored!
Slowly we ascent towards Sengge La, or the "Lion Pass ". The last few meters are steep, but will give u an incredibly rewarding view on the top. From the pass it is an easy walk down to our camp site.
Day 08: Foot of Singge La -Lingshed (5 hours)
We follow the trail high above the Zanskar River; the mountains take a greener and gentler formation, before we descend from Kiupa La (4400 m) down the steep zigzag trail to the village of Gongma (3840m)and Skiumpata. From here we climb up a gentle trail to the Margum La (4400m), from where we can see Lingshed an hour or so away. The campsite in Lingshed is just by the monastery belonging to the Gelugpa order and housing around 60 monk .The village itself is spread out over a big area, enclosed in green fields of barley.
Day 09: Lingshed -Snert e via Hanuma La 4950 m (8 hours)
A long day, we walk through the green fields of Lingshed early in the morning. It takes some ups and downs before we reach the base of the Hanuma La, from where we start climbing the many steep zigzag that lead to the top of the pass. The walk down is gentle before we enter a rocky, spectacular gorge and soon the valley flattens out, the trail following a lush riverbed with rosebushes. Just above the campsite of Snertse, there is a herder 'camp, and sometime fresh cheese, milk and curd is available here.
Down in the riverbed it is possible to go hunting for fossils. The locals sometimes show nice collections of their findings. When the Indian plate slammed into the stationary mass of Asia some 50 millions year ago, the Great Himalayas were formed from the base material of the Indian plate. The Zanskar range consists of layer of sediments from the ocean floor and the Ladakh range is granite born out of the immense heat generated by the friction between the two plates.
Day 10: Snertse - Hanumil via Purfi La 3950 m (5 hours)
Today we head for another pass: Parfi La .A short walk after Snertse, there is a wonderful lookout from where we can see the pass and down the valley, the Oma Chu River .We follow the trail 500m down the valley, cross the bridge and tart on the juniper covered zigzag trail up to Parfi La. Red alert! If fortune strikes, we may come across a rare species of the Himalayan region: the majestic brown bear. We may also see herds of attractive Himalayan blue sheep. Here we walk down to the bank of the Zanskar River and follow it all the way to the village of Hanumil (3380 m), where we will camp for the night.
Day 11: Hanumil -Pishu (4-5 hours)
We will start with an easy walk on plain and barren land along the Zanskar River and follow it all the way to Pishu (3470 m),passing Pidmo (3420m), an exotic landlocked hamlet of 8-9 families leading a simple traditional life. Pishu is located on the west side of the Zanskar River and opposite of Zangla (formerly a tiny kingdom).Here we will come across a 55m hanging bridge, the longest on Zanskar River. Our day will end at a lush green camp site with a spring situated nearby where we can quench our thirst.
Day 12: Pishu - Karsha (4-5 hours)
After a hearty breakfast we will begin our day with another effortless stride towards our next destination. From Pishu the trail ascends gradually to Rinam (3550 m.) along the bank of the Great Zanskar River. We will have a view of the stunning monastery of Tongde. Once reaching Karsha (3600 m), we can reinvigorate ourselves at the bank of Zanskar River.
Karsha monastery : Karsha monastery is one of largest monasteries of Gelukpa sect, located on a hillside with an imposing view of the entire valley. Believed to have been founded around 10th century A.D, a visit to the monastery to get its blessing is recommended.
Day 13: Karsha - Padum 3531m (2hrs)
Our trail begins with the crossing of the bridge, where we inhale fresh air to gear up for a trip to the capital of the Zanskar valley .We will follow the route to Pipiting village on the unmetalled, dusty road from Karsha. Padum is the major hub of activities of the entire valley, whose population gathers here on every auspicious occasion. It is a high time to have a good rest on this short day before we begin a drive back to Leh.
Day 14: Padum - Kargil (234 kms)
We drive towards Kargil, passing Sani monastery (6 km ) after turning west and cross the Doda River at Dhungri .We will be driving along the right bank of the River. Further on, we will cross a beautiful valley covered with comprehensive green patches. Between Padum and Aksho, we will come across a few small villages : Dhungri, Phay and Hamuling. As we pass, we will be slowly leaving Zanskar valley and Drang Drung Glacier beside the Penzila. In the middle of the next valley next we can see Rangdum monastery situated on a rock hill. After that we will pas through the village of Shakar, Parkachik and Panikhar. At Thangbu village ,about 12 km before reaching the Panikhar, we can have an incredible photographic view of Nun (7135 m)and Kun (7080) mountains before reaching Kargil.
Day 15: Kargil -Leh Via Sham valley (230 kms)
Today will be our last travelling day before coming back to Leh, and we will pass some of the most beautiful monasteries and villages of Sham.
Day 16: Leh Sight seeing
Today we proceed for Indus Valley monastery tour. We start with a visit to Shey, the ancient capital of Ladakh. The monastery here has a huge gold-gilded statue of Buddha Sakyamuni with a large silver lamp burning in front of the statue. Then we visit Thiksey Gompa, an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village. The monastery has a beautiful 30 m high gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future. Drive further to visit the famous Hemi Gompa, founded in 1630's by Stag-t sang-ras-pa under the royal patronage of Sengge Namgyall. Hemis is one of the largest and richest gompas of Ladakh. The two-day festival of monastic dance in June-July has raised the reputation of Hemi particularly high. The festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as second Buddha and responsible for spreading Buddhism in the Tibetan world. Later we visit the Stok Palace t he Royal residence of the King of Stok &the Museum that has a rich collection of Ancient Ladakhi artefact including old Thangkas, precious stones, arm and armory, the Queen ' necklace and the crown of the King of Ladakh among others. Overnight stay at the hotel in Leh.
Day 17: Leh -Delhi (By 9W610)Dep:0840hrs /Arr:0955hrs
Transfer to the Airport to catch the flight for Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi we as assist you to check in at our Hotel. Later in the afternoon we depart for Delhi sightseeing that includes Humayun'Tomp, Lotus Temple and Qutub Minar . Later we drive back to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 18: Delhi -Agra - Delhi (220 Kms.-04hrs - One way)-Optional Tour
After an early breakfast, we drive at 0730 hrs to Agra, the erstwhile capital of India under the great Mughal and known for The Taj Mahal It has always fascinated Indians and foreigner alike. On the way we visit Sikandra(Tomb of Emperor Akbar). At Agra after lunch (own lunch) We visit the incredible architectural excellence of Taj Mahal, built by emperor Shahjahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Next we visit Agra Fort -Built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565, the red sandstone Agra fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan's time. Though the principal structure was built by Akbar, many more additions were made by his grandsons. This massive fort is 2.5 km long and is considered as the predecessor of the Delhi Red fort. After Visiting the fort we drive back to Delhi at 1700 hrs. Upon arrival in Delhi. Finally we will have farewell dinner and later we transfer you to the International airport.
Day 19: Depart Delhi
Our tour concludes: Hi-Life Tours thank you for your patronage and ensures a punctual transfer to the International airport for your onward travel to your next destination.