Lofty ranges and high passes make three-armed Valley of Zanskar a dream destination for trekkers. Extreme climate and strenuous and difficult trails make for exciting trips from Pensi La to Padum; Karsha to Lamayaru via 5060 ft high pass Shingo La and 16th century Gelupga Monastery; Padum to Leh that passes through streambeds and wilderness; and Padum to Darcha that covers interesting stupas and idols of Bardam and 11th century monastery at Purni. Other attractions at Zanskar are ancient monastic establishments, river rafting challenges that range from easy and placid waters to stormy and treacherous rapids, and alpine lakes.
Places to See
Zanskar is basically an adventure destination in isolation. Here, you must see:
- Drang-Drung Glacier
- Old Castle, Nunnery, and Monastery at Zangla
- Stongdey Monastery
- Cave Monastery in Zongkhul
- Stongdey Monastery
- Fort of Zorawar Singh at Panikhar
- Camping site at the Penzella Pass
- Gelugpa Monastery at Karsha
In Zanskar Valley, you can shop at Leh where you can find some of the best Ladakhi and Tibetan handicraft items, jewelry pieces and Thangka paintings as well as fine woolens.
Where to Stay
Zanskar offers several stay options ranging from good and comfortable budget hotels to irresistible camping sites to luxury accommodations. You can also find good and affordable stay facilities in monasteries and private residences. You can try:
How to Reach Zanskar
- Hotel Shambha-La
- Hotel Sun-N-Sand
Flight offers convenience while drive to Zanskar offers thrill and adventure.
Srinagar-Leh route is 434 km long and has regular bus services. It features 11,500 fr high Zoji-La Pass and a night halt at Kargil, famous for Indo-Pak conflict. Several tourists prefer Manali-Leh route as it features upland desert plateau of Rupsho; a number of high passes including 17,469 ft high Taklang-La Pass, world's second highest motorable pass; and a night halt at Serchu or Pang. Manali is 473 km from Leh.
Zanskar Valley does not have a railway station of is own. The closest one is at Jammu, 690 km away. Jammu has several express trains that connect it to all the major Indian cities.
Leh, the capital of Ladakh and main connecting link to Zanskar, has the nearest airport and offers regular daily Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, and Kingfisher Airlines flights to Delhi. Less frequent flights are also available to Chandigarh, Srinagar and Jammu from here.