Region: Manali, Lahaul, Zanskar, Padum, Ladakh.
Season: First Week Of July to Mid September
Max. altitude: Shingo-LA (5100m.) Sengge-La (5000m.)
No. of days: 22 days trek.
High passes: ‘Over 5 strenuous stages Hampta, Baralachala, Shingo-La, Parfi-La (3900m.), Anuma-la (4710m.), Sengge-La, Sirsir-La (4805m.).
Gradient: In the beginning its about three hours drive up to Rohtang Pass and one gets acclimatized easily generally hard trek over six Western, Northern Himalayan high Passes. Difficulties are not there, of course ups and downs.
Grading: A reasonable degree of physical fitness is needed for this Himalayan trek and a one day acclimatization at Manali is recommended.
Special interest: Excellent view for photographers, ideal place for nature lovers and best spot for adventure lovers.
The area of Kullu and Manali
The hauntingly beautiful Kullu district lies in Himachal Pradesh, a tiny hill state in the North of India between north longitude 32-26 and, and east longitude 76-59.To its west lies the Bara Bhangal range of mountains, and to the south west are the peaks are Dhauladhar, separating it from Kangra district.
Kullu Manali is the source of river Beas and its tributaries, the Parvati and the Sainj. On the north east and east lay the Central Himalayan Range and beyond them are the border of Lahaul and Spiti.
The magical region comprises a total area of 1924sq miles, an eighty-mile strech of varying width, running north to south along the western side of the great snow range known as the Mid Himalaya.
The Lahaul, the Himalayas can be seen in all there mighty splendor. The valleys lie at a height of 2745m.above sea level. The barren landscapes oasis vegetation and dazzling mountains are magnificent. The Lahaul is also a fascinating area for Buddhist art and culture. The people of the Lahaul have their small Mongol eyes; prominent cheekbones and cheerful smiles give visitors an enthusiastic welcome.
India's link with the exotic past, when lengthening caravans plied the ancient‘Silk route' and lingered long at Leh to rest, to buy, to plan, or just to visit. What Hong Kong is to the Far East Leh, was in the so ancient times, to central Asia. In the north lay the Lhasa, the holy city, in the west is Baltistan and Kashmir and to the south lays Himachal Pradesh.
Situated at the apex of a triangular plateau formed by the Indus at an altitude of 3368m.it is a small town of narrow intersecting lanes and Main Street leading to the old palace of the Rajah (King) of Ladakh.
Situated at 4000 meters of altitude, between the Himalayas and the Indus valley and to the west of the Rupshu region can be found the isolated valleys of Zanskar, the population of which is Buddhist. Zanskar extremely rugged is full of medium- sized glaciers. Here the large village of Padam, on a river junction, is a route center. Other villages in the valley are situated along the banks of the Zanskar River and its tributaries, which meet at Padam and then flow northward to join the Indus at Nemo a little beneath Leh. Closely united to the west of Ladakh, both Physically and relationship through race, closely knit in religion and speech, zanskar was a part of the Ladakh territories before its conquest, and was governed by Rajah who was a vassal of the Gyalpo at Leh. Covered by the Nun and Kun peaks of the Great Himalayas, Zanskar, the area lying between the two branches of the river, was once known as Zangaskhar, or the ‘ place of white copper". Bounded by Rupshu, Lahaul and the various mountain ranges of the Himalayas. It remains cut off from Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh during its, grim, icy winter.
Three passes, Lachalang, Shingo-La, Pensi-La, at an elevation of 4876 m penetrate the snowy peaks. Zanskar can be approached from Kishtwar, Kargil and Himachal Pradesh. The route, via the banks of the river Suru, Sanku and finally reaches Padam, the main town of Zanskar.
Day to day description:
Day 01: Manali - Rarik through Jispa/Darcha (3460m.) 8 hrs.drive. By transport to Darcha today leaving the lush green countryside of Manali, we cross the Rohtang Pass to enter in to another world of solid barren rocks and hills, behind which loom mighty snow peaks. We drive in to Darcha crossing Tandi bridge meeting point of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers the commencing point of out trek to Padum. During this drive one can enjoy viewing the mountainous landscape and Monasteries on the hills in a way this is the beginning of what we are going to see and experience for next sixteen days. Over night at camp.
Day 02: Rarik - Zanskar Sumado (3600m.) 5hrs. Early walk through the boulders it takes five hours to get to Zanskar Sumdo you have to cross a small river on the way just before reaching the camp. Camping site is splendid.
Day 03: Zanskar Sumdo - Chumiknakpo (4460m.) 6hrs. Comparing to our previous walks it is bit hard walk considering the fact that today you have to climb almost 800m.of height in high altitude conditions to reach to our next camping site the base of Shingle pass called as Chumik-nakpo which means black spring. Over night at camp.
Day 04: Chumiknakpo - Lakang (4060m.) 6hrs. Today one has to be very much prepared for the steep as well as gradual climb to reach to the top of Shingo -la Pass that is at the height of 5100m. Here you will exactly in the heart of Great Himalayas. And at the foot of 6000mts.summit's. Looking at the other side of Shingola Pass you will be completely different world the magnificent view of mammoth granite rock. Zanskar have a legend that this no sheer rocks but instead a monastery where monks live and pray. During the New Year according to the Tibetan Calendar the lucky few can hear low drum beats and also glimpse tiny lamps. The rock known as Gumburanjon. Over night at camp.
Day 05: Lakang - Kargyak (4010m.) 6hrs. Today you will walk through the plains of Zanskar Gumburanjon looks majestic and it will be visible till Kargyak the first village of Zanskar. Where you will meet the warm and friendly people of Zanskar welcoming you. This will be the first habited campsite of your trek.
Day 06: Kargyak - Purni (3700m.) 8hrs. Till lunchtime we walk along the Kargyak River. On the right side stretch long many walls. After crossing Tanze (another village of Zanskar) bridge walking along the left bank of same river till we reach Teta village and from here leisurely walk for about three hours to Purni. Overnight at camp.
Day 07: Purni - Phuktal Gompa-Purni (5hrs.) Around two and a half hours walk from Purni takes you to the magnificent monastery of Phuktal. Do not forget to take torch to view the magnificent frescoes inside. Built in to huge rock, this Gompa was built by Naropa along the trail to Phuktal follows the Niri Chu stream return to Purne campsite.
Day 08: Purni - Pipula. Around 5hours walk along the Zanskar river. Today you will be walking through the gorge and the river will accompany you all the way. Camping side is different but beautiful it is right in the middle of the gorge and besides flows the Zanskar River. Here the river is wild and strong. It is bit hard to pitch the tents because the surface is hard there is a small teashop here. Over night at camp.
Day 09: Pipula - Raru (3600m.) 4hrs. It is wonderful walk through the village Ichar that is quite big as compared to the other villages of Zanskar. After crossing the river we get to the village Raru a fantastic probably the last best camping site of the trek along the lake, which is not always full of water. Over night at camp.
Day 10: Raru - Padum (3500m.) 7hrs. Walking further passing through the Mune and Bardan Gompa. Mune Monastery is a fine example of the Traditional Tibetan architecture where as Bardan Monastery is built on the huge rock along the river. Soon the wide plains of Ladakh are visible and finely we reach Padum. . Over night at camp.
Day 11: Padum - Pishu via Karsha/Rinum (6hrs.) Karsha is the largest and the most important monastery in zanskar region it lies North to Padum towards Yalang and can be reached after crossing uhe Dida river (Stood river). The monastery, which is picturesquely built on a rock high oboe the Doda River, can be seen fron a distance. The monastery houses more than 150 yellow capped monks who are headed by younger brother of Dalai Lama. The monastery was built in the 15th century and contains beautiful statues of Buddha,Shakyamuni, Tsongkhapa and Avolokeshwara. The wall paintings are very attractive and depict the life of Buddha and his disciples and number of Bodhisattvas. It also contains a big library. On the way to the monastery one passes the Chamber Ling temple, which dates back to 11th century. Over night at camp. Easy stretch on the often hot and dusty bank of the Zanskar River. Above Riman, small stream and shelter formed by the rocks. Before Pishu, make a little detour to see the longest handing bridge over the Zanskar. It leads to angle. From Zangla, a trail goes to Padum via Tsazar and Thongde. An attractive campsite below the village of Pishu.
Day 12: A day at leisure at Pushu.
Day 13: Pishu - Hanumil 5hrs. Continue left bank. Easy going sometimes along the river, sometimes cross the moraine plateau. A bridge before Pidmu, then another 2hrs. Until to Hanumil. Very good campsite.
Day 14: Hanumil-Parfi-La (3900m.) - Snertse 6hrs. Still on a good and easy path 3-4 hrs. Beyond Hanumil small stream on the left. Take on supply water. The path leads away from the edge of the Zanskar, up to the plateau, then to the foot of the pass. Steep and difficult climb for the animals as far as the Parfi-La. Rather steep descent until reaching the Oma-Chu River. Good bridge, and then up a 500m. Sandy slope. Wonderful scenario. Then along the slope as far as the sheepfolds of Snertse (tent restaurant). Over night at camp.
Day 15: Snertse-Hanuma-la (4700m.) - Lingshed 7hrs. Ascent through gorges and then passing a sheep fold (milk is available) 2hours. Further two and half hours will take to reach Hanumala. Now after a kilometer of steep decent, climb for half a kilometer, along mountainside and then descent towards Lingshed (3800m.). Camp near the monastery.
Day 16: Lingshed-Foot of Shinge-La (5060m.) 6hrs. Around one hour easy climb up to Margum-La (4100m.), descent along the slope, beautiful landscape on the other bank of Zanskar River. View of Nierang valley is awe-inspiring. After passing the villages of Gongma (3840m.) and Skiumpata, a steep ascent will take you to Kuba-la (3800m.). Go on climbing up to the foot of Singe-la (5060m.) for overnight camp.
Day 17: Singe-la - Photoksar (3750m.) 7hrs. It takes about two hours to reach on the top of the pass, and then a short descent opens out in a broad valley. First easy walk, then climb the Boumitse-la (4200m.)-Not arduous. Now descent to Photoksar, a village at the base of huge mountain walks. An abandoned Gompa may be visited from here; it is only 15-20minutes away on a hillock. Camp near the monastery.
Day 18: Photoksar-SirSir-La (4000m.) - Hanupatta 6hrs.From the Photoksar, after gentle climb of one hour takes you to a large chorten after a long ascent is Sirsir-La, last ascent is steep. Now descent to river, cross bridge and after passing stony valley arrive at the campsite, little before Hanupatta (from above bridge one path leads to Sniugutse-la (5000m.), joining Shilla and Lamayuru without going through Hanupatta, it takes 3 days.
Day 19: Hanupatta - Wanla/Shilla 5hrs. From Hanupatta, continue across the slope until enticing the gorge following a path into the rocks to avoid difficult fords. At the junction of rivers, Chorten and religious banners on a flat. Pass the ridge, and then go down until reaching a good bridge across the Yapola. Then some easy and some difficult stretches (fallen rocks) until Phenji-La. A little beyond the village, cross again onto the left bank by bridge. Then on a flat to Wanla. A beautiful Gompa welcomes you here. Overnight at camp.
Day 20: Wanla - Lamayuru/Leh 7hrs. Go up the Shill Kong along the right bank, cross it then arrive in Shilla village. After passing this village you go to a broad chorten then follow and dry gorge as far as the Prinkiti-La (3762m.). Easy descents followed and then pass an escarpment. Cross the river and go towards the bill age of Lamayuru. Short climb towards the monastery, which is the most photographed in Ladakh. Drive same day up to Leh through the enchanting valley. Overnight at hotel.
Day 21: A day at leisure and sightseeing in and around Leh.In the morning visit Hemis monastery which is 45km.from Leh It is one of the richest Gompa in this region. Built by the inveterate royal architect, Singe Namgyal, after subduing Baltistan, Purig, Zanskar and Spiti in 1620,the Hemis, lies in a side valley, not visible at once, but looms suddenly a mass of splendid architecture, on a green hill, its white washed walls gleaming white, its brightly colored and fluttering flags a brilliant splash against the blue sky. En route to Leh visit Tiksey situated on a splendid hill top perch, overlooking the green valley of the Indus is the 12 storeyed Thiksey Monastery 800 years old. In the monastery there are 60 Lamas /Monks and a few nuns / Chomos and visit Shey and Shankar monastery. After noon free and overnight in hotel.
Day 22: Departure Leh - Delhi by Air.