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Jeepsafari to Zanskar

 

The remote district of Zanskar is just perfect for an adventurous roadtrip. Starting from Kargil, we drive along winding mountain roads that bring us to green valleys, amazing glaciers and overwhelming passes. On the way we meet local shepherds and farmers in small villages or in their temporary summer camps. The final destination is Padum, once the capital of the Zanskar Kingdom, a small mountain town surrounded by white peaks. From there we explore some of the most authentic monasteries in the Indian Himalayas like Karsha and Stongde.

Suggested Itinerary Zanskar Jeepsafari

 

  1. After a couple of days acclimatising in and around Leh, we leave in the direction of Kargil, a merchant town at the crossing of several mountainroads. The drive goes along a winding road to the famous monastery of Lamayuru and past the large Buddha Statue of Mulbekh. As Kargil is just an overnight stop on our way to Zanskar, we have plenty of time today to stop for pictures and enjoy the landscapes. Overnight in Kargil.
  2. A little past the busy trading town of Kargil, the tarmac ends: through the idyllic Suru Valley with its  green orchards, we slowly make our way towards Zanskar. The people are still mostly Muslim, but every now and then Buddhist signs of life pop up like a giant Maitreya Buddha carved into the rocks. A little further on, the impressive twin peaks of Kun and Nun appear. A picnic lunch at Parkachik is followed by the highlight of the day: a drive along some impressive glaciers that stretch their tongues all the way to the road. At the end of the afternoon, the gompa of Rangdum appears, like a beacon in a wide alluvial valley. Overnight in a tented camp near Rangdum Monastery.

  3. We spend a day in Rangdum. Photographers can enjoy the ever-changing play of the sun on the colourful mountains. Marmots play on the high meadows. In nearby villages you will meet the Zanskari, who try to make a living farming and herding sheep during the short summer months. 

  4. From Rangdum the route gradually climbs to the top of the Penzi La, the highest pass of your route. Just over the top, the Drung Drung glacier unfolds in all its glory. From up close you can see how climate change also affects the Himalayas. Nevertheless, the 26km long glacier is still one of the largest glaciers in the Himalayas. In the late afternoon you finally arrive in the valley of Padum, the capital of Zanskar.

  5. We recommend to spent at least 3 days in and around Padum. From Padum your guide can take you on walks and excursions according to your wishes. There are a few nice and clean guesthouses in Padum (with ensuite facilities), all run by local Zanskari families.  A must-see is the whitewashed gompa of Karsha as well as the gompa of Stongde, close to the residence of the former King of Zanskar in Zanghla. Beautiful hikes can be made along the river to the monastery of Bardan perched on a cliff. If you don't care to drive a bit further the monastery of Zhongkhul with its meditation caves and Sani Monastery are nice excursions as well.

  6. Exploration of Padum and surroundings
  7. Exploration of Padum and surroundings
  8. Early morning you return back to Kargil: you will have a long driving day ahead but the landscapes and glacier views remain astonishing. 

  9. Drive onwards to the village Temisgam in the Sham Valley. A cozy family hotel is your base for an introduction to the life of the Ladakhi in the countryside. Together with your guide you make a nice walk in the area towards Ang and meet the Ladakhi in their small villages.

  10. Return to Leh with a stop in Likir one of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh. Likir is also known for its immense Buddha statue that stands outside next to the monastery. End of a fabulous roadtrip

 

Notes:

From Kargil you can extend your journey to Kashmir along one of the most adventurous roads in the Himalayas. You can also make a small 3-4 day trek from Temisgam that brings you back to Leh or make other cultural visits along the road.

This is just a sample itinerary. As we work completely tailormade, feel free to contact us for a longer or shorter itinerary according to your wishes.

 

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