Zanskar Traverse Trek
zanskar trek
  • Season : Mid June to September
  • Duration : 19 Days Delhi to Delhi
  • Region : Ladakh and Zanskar

Detailed itinerary

DAY 1: Arrival in Delhi
Transfer to and O/N in hotel (depending on time of arrival of international flight).

DAY 02: Explore Delhi
After breakfast, tour of Old and New Delhi, visiting Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Shanti Van, Raj Ghat, Humayun Tomb, Qutab Minar. You will pass by India Gate and the architectural buildings of President House, and Parliament. O/N in hotel.

DAY 03: Delhi to Leh (3500 m)
Transfer to domestic airport, flight to Leh. Transfer to hotel. In the afternoon visit Tsemo Gompa, Shanti Stupa and old fort of Leh. O/N in hotel.

DAY 04: Around Leh
Full day sightseeing of Shey, Thiksey, Hemis, the famous monasteries of Ladakh. Back to Leh. Afternoon free to visit the town. O/N in hotel.

DAY 05: Leh to Kargil (2750 m): Drive: 230 km/7-8 hrs.
Early morning start from Leh toward Suru Valley via a winding road. Visit to Lamayuru monastery en route. Kargil district is Muslim-dominated, and soon after Mulbek you will see the change from a Buddhist culture to a Muslim one. Kargil town is spread out on the left bank of the Suru River. O/N in hotel.

DAY 06: Kargil to Rangdum (3700 m): Drive: 120 km/6-7 hrs.
Full day driving in the Suru Valley, through some beautiful and difficult terrain. The route is along vast stretches of uninhabited land and close to the glacier of Nun-Kun, affording magnificent views of the peaks of the Zanskar Range. You are soon in Buddhist territory again. The broad, edelweiss-carpeted meadow of Rangdum (Juldu) is perfect for camping. Camp O/N.

DAY 07: Rangdum to Karsha (3600 m): Drive: 114 km/6-7 hrs.
Visit Rangdum gompa in the morning. Continue over the Pensi La (4400 m), the gateway to Zanskar, which provides spectacular views of the Darung-drung Glacier and the Zanskar Range. Slopes teem with immense varieties of herbs. The road goes by several villages to reach Karsha. Visit the Karsha monastery, a beautiful Gelugpa monastery dating from the 15th century. O/N camp. (If attending the Saini festival, the campsite will be in Saini or Padum.)

KARSHA MONASTERY : It is situated on the western bank of the river of Zanskar, on the opposite bank where is situated the capital Padum. It is linked with the monasteries of Likkir and Kamoling close to Leh. He owes allegiance to Kushok Ngari Tsang who sits in the Tibet.

DAY 08: Karsha to Reru (3750 m) via Stongde and Padum: Drive: 30 km/full day
Leave for Padum, and visit Stongde village and monastery (of Gelugpa order perched high on the village and dominating the valley). Back to Padum and moving ahead toward Reru, with visits to the monasteries of Bardan and Mune en route. O/N in beautiful campsite just outside the village of Reru.

DAY 09: Reru to Pipula (3600 m): Trek Day 1: 5 hrs
On the first day of the trek, descend to Reru village, cross the bridge over the Tserap River, moving to Ichar. Visit village and small gompa, descend again to the riverside, and join the main trail between Reru and Pipula. Campsite beside river.

DAY 10: Pipula to Purni (3800 m): Trek Day 2: 5 ½ hrs
We start as early as possible due to the scarcity of camping space in Purni, with most trekking groups staying two nights here for the side trip to Phuktal gompa. Pass two villages Abnop and Dorzong, green oases in the monotonous gray brown. From the confluence of two rivers, keep on the left down to Purni, a pretty campsite by a tiny hamlet.

DAY 11: Visit Phuktal/Phugtal gompa and back to Purni: Trek Day 3: 2 hrs one way
Leaving the camp in Purni, go up by the left bank of the Tserap along a gorge. Soon you will see a most spectacular sight – Phuktal (or Phugtal) gompa, perched on a cliff. Its name “Phugtal” (through cave) derives from the fact that the monastery has been built inside a huge cave. There are about 60 monks in residence; every year sacred dances are performed during the Guster festival, which occurs on the 18th and 19th days of the Tibetan 12th month.

PHUKTAL GOMPA : The most Southern of the monasteries of Zanskar is installed(settled) in a taken(collected) side valley. This complex competes by its scale with that of Karsha, near Padum, rises in a grand site. The monastery, which belongs to the sect of tradition Gelugpas ( Yellow hats), would have been based(established) in 11th century. The dukhang shelters from very old tangkas. The the oldest temple, Tonpa lakhang, is decorated with frescoes indo-cachemiri very close to painted panels which decorate the ceiling of the monastery of Tabo in Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. The source(spring) which flows(sinks) into the cave is still forbidden the women.

DAY 12: Purni to Thangso (3900 m): Trek Day 4: 4 ½ hrs.
A short walk till the bridge over the Lung Nak Sangpo , and a steady climb to join the main trail. Just ahead you will reach Yal village; cross a clear water stream to Testa. The trail now goes through green fields (in Jul/Aug) to Kurru where farmers will be seen at work on their fields. Morainic terrain will bring you to a bridge leading to Tanze. Leave the main trail without crossing the bridge and continue to Ralta and then to Thangso village; camp near village.

DAY 13: Thangso to Kargyak (4060 m) via Shanka: Trek Day 5: 5 hrs.
After breakfast move toward Kye village, arriving at a tiny village of shepherds called Shanka after a 2-hour walk in a lovely valley; impressive views of the main Himalayan Range can be seen on this walk. Explore the village, interact with the villagers, and continue to the campsite at Kargyak, the highest permanent settlement in Zanskar.

DAY 14: Kargyak to Lhakhang (4300 m): Trek Day 6: 5½ hrs.
After breakfast leave toward west of Kye, and rest of the Kitchen team will leave to Kargyak. After two hours walk in one of the most beautiful valley reach to the tinny village of shepherds at Shanka, explore their life and continue to campsite via kye.

DAY 15: Lhakhang to Chhumik Marpo (4500 m): Trek Day 7: 7 hrs.
Leave early in the morning as you will be crossing a pass later in the day; a delay can be very dangerous for ponies due to snow on the pass. Cross a stream, go uphill to a meadow. After a short easy walk, a steady climb over moraine leads to the top of the pass Shingo La (5090 m). After enjoying magnificent views of snow-capped peaks of the Himalayan and Baralacha ranges, descend to the campsite at the foot of the glacier. Upon crossing the pass, we are now in Himachal Pradesh.

DAY 16: Chhumik Marpo to Zanskar Sumdo (3950 m): Trek Day 8: 5 hrs
Long descent along a stream by a narrow valley, accompanied by peaks on both sides, till campsite is reached. In summer, you will probably bump into shepherds with their flocks.

DAY 17: Zanskar Sumdo to Palamo and Manali (3250 m): Trek Day 8: 7 hrs + drive to Manali
On this last day of the trek, move along the Zanskar River following a large, rough road through boulders, meadows and fields of potatoes and peas. On reaching Palamo or the villages of Rarik and Chhika, you will be transferred by road to Manali. Passing by Darcha and Keylong along the Manali-Leh highway, you will move through the scenic Lahaul Valley, over the Rohtang Pass (3950 m) into lush green Kullu Valley, also known as “the valley of the Gods,” due to the proliferation of temples to different deities in villages throughout the region. O/N in hotel.

DAY 18: Explore Manali and Manali to Delhi: Bus: 570 km/16 hrs.
In the morning visit Old Manali village and Manu temple. Also Hadimba temple in Dhungri, a pagoda style temple dedicated to a demoness, in the middle of a cedar forest. Rest of the day free to visit town, till 3 pm, for departure to bus station. O/N in comfortable bus.

DAY 19: Arrive Delhi and Departure
On arrival in Delhi, transfer to hotel. Day at leisure (optional tour of Delhi can be arranged). Evening transfer to international airport for flight to onward destination.

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