Extreme Adventure Zanskar
Rafting in Ladakh probably is the most indulging activity in Zanskar travel. Rafting is done in the highly challenging Zanskar River. The rafting experience takes you through one of the most breathtaking gorges of the World. The water in the river is freezing cold and it is advisable that you take this ride only with a wet suit on. This exhilarating adventure through the entire river takes around four days and in between, you will spend the nights in camps set up on the rocky banks itself.
Apart from river rafting, trekking also attracts huge number of adventure lovers to these lands. Zanskar has few of the highest mountain passes in the country. The trek routes through them are surely enthralling but trekking here requires ability to take immense physical strain. The most famous trek route is named Chadar Trek. The trek is carried out on the frozen Zanskar river during the winter season. You will have to take extra precautions and clothing as you will be literally walking over ice. Other breathtaking treks are Padum to Lamayuru which takes around 12-16 days and Padam to Leh which is 15-17 day long trek.
Day 01 to Day 08: Hanupatta – Karsha trek (8 days)
Day 01: Leh - Lamayuru (3-4 hrs drive)
We leave Leh in the morning for Lamayuru. Along the way, we come across some of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Ladakh, founded around 11th century by Lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo. Lamayuru, Likir and Alchi are truly worth visiting for their age and historical background. From Lamayuru we will drive towards Hanupatta via Wanla and we will spend the rest of the day exploring and prepare for the trek next day.
Day 02: Hanupatta – Sir Sir La 4850m - Photoskar (6 - 7 hrs)
We follow the river and the wide valley for some time before we cross the river and start the long and gradual ascent to Sir Sir La (4850m). From the top of the pass we can get panoramic views of the main Zanskar range as well as our next pass, the Singge La (5090m).
It is another 2 – 2 ½ hrs of walk down to the village of Photoskar (4200m), situated in the cliffs of mountains virtually piercing the sky and surrounded by green fields. The trail towards Sumdo disappears in the deep gorge down to the right of the village. We spend the night close to the village and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Day 03: Photoskar – Singge La 5090m – Foot of Singge La (7- 8 hours)
After crossing the small pass of Bumiktse La (4200) in the morning, we enter the broad and lush Photang valley. A gentle trail leads us through this beautiful landscape, where villagers graze their yakdzo and horses. One of the most fascinating things about the Zanskar trek is the ever-changing landscape. Every time you turn a corner, or cross a pass, a new world appears in front of you. Passing through the deepest of gorges and meandering through the greenest of the fields, the majestic Zanskar River assumes a fascinating form and life of its own. With colors and shadows changing with the sun, one never gets bored! There after we ascent towards Sengge La, or the "Lion Pass". The last few meters are steep, but will give us an incredibly rewarding view on the top. From the pass it is an easy walk down to our campsite.
Day 04: Foot of Singge La – Lingshed (5 hours)
We follow the trail high above the Zanskar River; the mountains take a greener and gentler formation, before we descend from Kiupa La (4400 m) down the steep zigzag trail to the villages of Gongma (3840m) and Skiumpata. From here we climb up a gentle trail to the Margum La (4400m), from where we can see Lingshed an hour or so away. The campsite in Lingshed is just by the monastery belonging to the Gelugpa order and housing around 60 monks. The village itself is spread out over a big area, enclosed in green fields of barley.
Day 05: Lingshed –- Snertse via Hanuma La 4950 m (8 hours)
A long day, we walk through the green fields of Lingshed early in the morning. It takes some ups and downs before we reach the base of the Hanuma La, from where we start climbing the many steep zigzags that lead to the top of the pass. The walk down is gentle before we enter a rocky, spectacular gorge and soon the valley flattens out, the trail following a lush riverbed with rosebushes. Just above the campsite of Snertse, there is a herders' camp, and sometimes fresh cheese, milk and curd is available here. Down in the riverbed it is possible to go hunting for fossils. The locals sometimes show a nice collection of their findings.
When the Indian plate slammed into the stationary mass of Asia some 50 million years ago, the Great Himalayas were formed from the base material of the Indian plate. The Zanskar range consists of layers of sediments from the ocean floor and the Ladakh range is granite born out of the immense heat generated by the friction between the two plates.
Day 06: Snertse – Hanumil via Purfi La 3950 m (5 hours)
On this day we head for another pass: Parfi La. A short walk after Snertse, there is a wonderful lookout from where we can see the pass and, down the valley, the Oma Chu River. We follow the trail 500m down the valley, cross the bridge and start on the juniper covered zigzag trail up to Parfi La. Red alert! If fortune strikes, we may come across a rare species of the Himalayan region: the majestic brown bear. We may also see herds of attractive Himalayan blue sheep. Here we walk down to the banks of the Zanskar River and follow it all the way to the village of Hanumil (3380 m), where we will camp for the night.
Day 07: Hanumil – Pishu (4-5 hours)
We will start with an easy walk on plain and barren land along the Zanskar River and follow it all the way to Pishu (3470 m), passing Pidmo (3420m), an exotic landlocked hamlet of 8-9 families leading a simple traditional life. Pishu is located on the west side of the Zanskar River and opposite of Zangla (formerly a tiny kingdom). Here we will come across a 55m hanging bridge, the longest on Zanskar River. Our day will end at a lush green campsite with a spring situated nearby where we can quench our thirst.
Day 08: Pishu – Karsha (4-5 hours)
After a hearty breakfast we will begin our day with another effortless stride towards our next destination. From Pishu the trail ascends gradually to Rinam (3550 m.) along the bank of the Great Zanskar River. We will have a view of the stunning monastery of Tongde. Once reaching Karsha (3600 m), we can reinvigorate ourselves at the bank of Zanskar River.
Karsha monastery: Karsha monastery is one of largest monasteries of Gelukpa sect, located on a hillside with an imposing view of the entire valley. Believed to have been founded around 10th century A.D, a visit to the monastery to get its blessing is recommended
TREK ENDS HERE
Day 09: Stongde and Zangla Sightseeing
One extra day in Zanskar that's optinal, but we can discuss for some sightseeing around Stongde or around Padum Zangla
Rafting from Reymala To Nimo 04 Days
Day 10: Karsha To Pidmo
After a late morning start, we raft from Karsha up to Honyo / Pidmo (3361m; 11,025 ft; 3 hrs). This stretch is approximately 25 km with Class II and III rapids. Another easy day to get used to the river, the altitude and hone our paddling skills
Day 11: Pidmo to Neyrak
After packing camp, we raft 25 km to Nyerak (3286m; 10,780ft; 3 hrs) a Class III section. The gorge narrows in on the river - this indeed is a Grand Canyon in its own right. We stop for the day to pitch camp in a gorge below Nyerak village.
Day 12: Nyerak to Lamaguru
This day’s 35 km rafting section takes us from Nyerak to Lamaguru (3190m; 10,465ft; 5-6 hrs including scout and lunch) through the core of the Zanskar A classic white water day with continuous Class III rapids, and a few Class IV rapids where the river squeezes between a gap of about 18ft. We stop for lunch near a huge waterfall and continue to camp at the confluence of Markha river with the Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of colors add to the trip.
Day 13: Lamaguru to Nimu & Dvive back to Leh.
We raft 40 kms of Class III/IV white water from Lamaguru to Nimu (3154m; 10,345 ft; 3-4 hrs) on this day. We raft past the village of Chilling and exciting rapids as the Zanskar plunges out of the canyon to meet with the Indus at Nimu. We end our trip at the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus. Drive an hour back to Leh. Last minute retail therapy and a hot shower! Stay overnight at the hotel.
Size: Min 3
Duration: 12 or 13 Days