Zanskar, Zanskar valley one of the remotest and beautiful tourist destinations in India, is a sub-district (tehsil) of the Kargil district. It lies in the eastern half of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Padum is the administrative center of Zanskar. The entire region covers an area of 7,000 sq km at an elevation of between 11,500 -23,000 feet from sea level. Zanskar River, which flows through it, joins the Indus a little below Leh.
Having divided into three sub-regions of (i) Sham, (ii) Stod and (iii) Lungnak, Zanskar preserves the archaic form of Buddhism in its rich monasteries. Once lost world or isolated region, Zanskar has become one of the most popular trekking regions since the 20th century.
BARALACHA LA ZANSKAR VALLEY
A high mountain pass in Zanskar region of Jammu and Kashmir, Baralacha La means the pass where many roads meet. The pass connects Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Baralacha La is better described as a plateau where three mountain ranges meet (Pir Panjal, Zanskar and the Himalayas). The Baralacha La towers over three valleys that meet at a height of over 16,000 ft.
- Baralacha La is at a high altitude so brace for high altitude sickness.
- Carry adequate water and medicine to combat altitude sickness.
Address: Himachal Pradesh, India.
One of the oldest monasteries in Zanskar valley Ladakh, Lingshed Monastery located in Zanskar region of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. Surrounded by mountains, the Lingshed Monastery is situated in Lingshed village about 224 km southwest of Leh on the trekking trail from Lamayuru to Padum Zanskar. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Zongkhul Monastery also spelled Dzongkhul, is one of the spectacular cave monasteries in Zanskar region of Ladakh. Situated in Stod Valley, it looks like a swallow’s nest on the rock face of Sting gorge from a distance.
The monastery belongs to the Drugpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. With no road access, trekking is the only way to reach the monastery. It lies on the Padum-Kishtwar trek route.
January to December: Open all days 06:00 am to 05:00 pm
Address: Jammu and Kashmir, India.
DRANG DRUNG GLACIER
The Drang-Drung Glacier (also called Durung Drung Glacier) is a mountain glacier near the Pensi La mountain pass at the Kargil – Zanaskar Road in the Kargil district of Jammu & Kashmir in India. The Drang-Drung Glacier is likely to be the largest glacier in Ladakh other than the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram Range, with a maximum length of 23 kilometers (14 mi) at an average elevation of 4,780 m (15,680 feet). The glacier lies in the northeastern Himalayan Range known as the Zanskar Range 142 kilometers (88 mi) south of Kargil and 331 kilometers (206 mi) east of Srinagar, the capital of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Drang-Drung Glacier is a long river of ice and snow, a source of the Stod River which is a tributary of the Zanskar River and the Zanskar River is a tributary of Indus River. Doda Peak with an elevation of 6,550 m (21,490 feet) rises from the glacier.
Nimu is a village in the Leh district of Jammu & Kashmir, India. It is located in the Leh tehsil in the south-east Ladakh Region and is 35 km from Leh.
Nimu is a stop for all the river rafting groups and is the main starting point for the annually-held all-India river rafting expedition, which is done in the Indus River.
The temperature here varies from +40 °C in summer to −29 °C in winter.
The ever so scenic Panikhar is part of the equally stunning Suru Valley. At a distance of 75 km from Kargil, this beautiful destination is an ideal halt for tourists visiting Padum and other places in Zanskar. The place is also said to be the most beautiful inhabited areas in the Trans-Himalayan region and refreshing stopover on the route to Padum. From the nearby Parkachik La, one can enjoy the panoramic view of the glacier and that of the mighty Nun-Kun mountains. Further, Panikhar is a hub for the trekkers as it is a major point for a number of trekking routes including the Loveland Gali Pahalgam Trail.
Padum Trek Located about 240 km away from Kargil town via the link road, Padum is the only town in and the administrative center of the Zanskar sub-district
Padum is named after Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and serves as the starting point for several treks in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir. Located at the center of the tri-armed Zanskar valley, the average elevation of Padum is 3,657 meters and there are several villages to its northeast leading to Karsha Monastery.
Stongday Monastery is the second largest and the oldest monasteries in the Zanskar region. Its beauty captivates the beholder with sprawling whitewashed complex soaring above the Rocky Mountains. This 11th-century old monastery is a must visit attraction located about 20 kilometers away from Padum.
It displays several artistic works in the seven temples inside the monastery. Amongst the temples Tshogs-Khang is beautifully decorated with exquisite paintings of the deities, the paintings are made with a black background which is outlined with gold. Stongday is also a home to over 60 Gelukpa monks. Famous for its wealth of Buddhist relics, the monastery showcases it to the visitors to admire. The auspicious time to visit this popular tourist attraction is during the Gustor Festival which is held on the 28th – 29th day of every eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar in Stongdey monastery.
The Phuktal Monastery is built around a natural cave, which is believed to have been visited by numerous sages, scholars, translators, and monks around 2,550 years ago. The remote location of the monastery was ideal for monks looking for peace and solitude to meditate. The present Phuktal Gompa, of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, was established in the early 15th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo, a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa. Tsongkhapa was the founder of Gelug, which is one of the newest schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Phuktal monastery is located at the remote Lungnak Valley, south of Zanskar. And the uniqueness of this monastery is that the structure is built on the cliff. From here, the view is breathtaking; it gives a panoramic view of the adjoining mountains and lustrous greens and Lungnak River.
A small picturesque place in the Zanskar region of Zanskar valley of Ladakh, Zangla is known for being the base or an important point of major treks in the Zanskar region. As of attractions, the place has an old castle, which is almost in ruins, there are a nunnery and an ancient monastery in a nearby village of TSA Zar which are worth seeing. The view from the castle is simply spectacular, and thus one must not miss visiting this tourist attraction. Zangla has located some 35 km from Padum.
Zangla is an ideal destination for trekking enthusiasts, apart from this, the place has attractions like an old castle, monastery, and nunnery.
Chadar trek is one of the most adventurous and most difficult treks in the Zanskar valley of a country. The distance that is covered on foot is approximately 105 km and on an average, a trekker covers 15 to 17 km every day. The temperatures are usually 15 to 20 degrees during the daytime and plummet to -25 to -35 degrees during the night in this region.
The Zanskar River freezes in the winters. The entire river looks like a sheet of ice and hence is referred to, in the local language, as Chadar. From a tourism point of view, this trek has been popularized as the frozen river expedition and draws in several amateur and professional trekkers from different parts of the country and the world.
Karsha monastery is the largest monastery of Zanskar valley in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir. It is located in the Padum Valley above the Stod River in Zanskar valley and is also known as Karsha Gompa. The 14th Dalai Lama’s younger brother looks after the monastery.
Karsha monastery was founded by the famous translator, Phagspa Sherab in the 11th century. It was constructed on the steep mountain above Karsha village. The monastery is a complex comprising eight temples, chapels, chortens, residential rooms for 150 monks and assembly halls. These assembly halls are in the central part of the monastery and are surrounded with three chapels that have a number of statues and beautiful artworks.