Zanskar

Zanskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum. Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet.

The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that separates Zanskar from Ladakh. Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya, an approximately 100-km-wide synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricated, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is about 6,000 m (19,700 ft). Its eastern part is known as Rupshu.

North of the Great Himalaya Range, amongst a tangled knot of jagged mountains, lies the once independent kingdom of Zanskar. Sandwiched between the Indus Valley and the main crest of the Indian Himalaya, this is a vast area what at over 3000 square miles, is larger then the Indian state of Sikkim. In its remote and inaccessible setting, well guarded by snowy mountain passes, zanskar has kept alive an archaic form of Tibetan Buddhism which
Ladakh Zanskar Trekking Tour

flourishes in a chain of far- flung monasteries, most of which occupy spectacular fortified locations, high on rocky ridges in isolated valleys. These isolated valleys are linked across high passes by a number of long established pathways, which also give access to the many picturesque villages of the hardy and cheerful Zanskari people.

Trans Zanskar Expedition in its scope and overwhelming in its sheer grandeur. Starting at Lamayuru gompa, the most ancient monastic site in all of Ladakh, we cross 4 high passes to reach Zanskar's capitol of Padum. From Padum, we continue ever deeper into the wonders of Zanskar, including a diversion to the famous Phugtal gompa. Our departure from Zanskar is over 17,000 foot Phirtse La to the vast plain of Sarchu.

Towards the western end of the Himalayas a series of continuous mountain ridges, comprising scores of 6000 metre (20000 foot) peaks, forms an effective barrier between the Indian provinces of Lahaul and Ladakh. Linking these contrasting mountainous regions is a trekking route that provides one of the great challenges of the Indian Himalaya. Transferring by train and car from Delhi, we pass through the lush Kulu Valley and cross the Rohtang Pass to reach the start of our trek at Darcha. From here, we head north across the Shingo La (c.5100m./16000ft.) into the ancient kingdom of Zanskar, famous for its hardy inhabitants and starkly beautiful landscape. En route, we encounter a succession of isolated villages and several wonderful Buddhist monasteries, notably at Phuktal, Lingshet and Lamayuru. As a finale to what is unquestionably one of the world’s classic trekking experiences, there is also time to explore the fascinating Ladakhi capital of Leh.

Ladakh is both historically and culturally Tibetan. Its ancient monasteries and villages have remained unchanged over the centuries. Even if Zanskar had only got a handful of Gompas and settlements that lie within striking distance of the road or hidden away in the remote valleys, it offers glimpses into Tibetan Buddhism and the colourful lifestyles of this isolated region