Hidden between the formidable peaks of the Great Himalayan Range and the Zanskar trek
Day 1 : Travel from Delhi to Leh by air. Free for accalimazation.
Day 2 : This day is meant to provide an opportunity to get a feel of the place. Guests will be driven to the Leh Palace, which houses old relics that belong to the sixteenth century ruler of Ladakh. Later in the day a trip to the monasteries at Shey. Thiksey and Hemis will also be arranged.
Day 3 : Drive from Leh to Kargil (234 kms. / 10/12 hrs.) : Driving along the Srinagaer to Leh National Highway the route traces its way past the villages of Nimmu, Khaltsi, Lamayuru, Bodhkharbu and Mulbek. Kargil (2704m) is the second largest urban centre of Ladakh and lies on the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. We halt here for the night in a local hotel.
Day 4 : Drive from Kargil to Rangdum (130 kms. / 6 hrs.) : Rangdum (3657m) is almost midway between Kargil and Padum. It is a picturesque place, surrounded by colourful hills on the one side and glacier – encrusted rocky mountains on the other. Rangdum also has a 18th Century Buddhist monastery of the Geluks-pa order. We shall camp here for the night.
Day 5 : Drive from Rangdum to Padum (110 kms. / 5 hrs. ) : About 20 kms. southeast of Randum stands the Penzi-la axis across which lies Zanskar. The Penzi-la pass (4401m) is a scenic tableland surrounded by snow-covered peaks. As the Zanskar road winds down the steep slopes of Penzi-la to the head of the Stod valley, the majestic Drang-Drung glazier looms into full view. Drang-Drung is one of the largest glacier in Ladakh. Padum is just a scattering of small, white-washed buildings in a vast plain with a tiny population of about 1500. We shall camp here for the night in one of the many camping sites.
Day 6 : Today is a day reserved for some local sightseeing. On the banks of the Lungnak river is a set of ancient rock carvings which date to the 8th century. During the day we shall visit the monasteries of Tongde, Zangla and Karsha by jeep. These monasteries are located within 30 to 40 kms. of Padum.
Day 7 : Padum to Reru (5/6 hrs. ) : Today we begin our trek. The day’s walk is relatively easy. On the way our first halt is at Bardan Gompa which is worth visiting because of its enormous prayer wheel. Further ahead is Mune Gompa. The campsite at Reru takes another three hours to reach.
Day 8 : Reru to Changpa Tsetan (6/7 hrs. ) : The trail, today, follows the Tsarap River up and down through a dark, rocky landscape. There are some stream crossings. The campsite at Changpa Tsetan is located in the fields.
Day 9 : Changpa Tsetan to Purne (4 hrs. ) : The trail continues to follow the Tsarap River. We trek past the villages of Surle, Kalbok and Zantang to the confluence of Tsrap and Kargyak rivers. A little ahead is Purne Village.
Day 10 : Purne to Phuktal to Purne (4/5 hrs. ) : Today while keeping our base at Purne we shall visit the famous Phuktal monastery during the day. Phuktal is by far the most spectacularly located monastic establishments anywhere in Ladakh. The Phuktal complex spills out of the mouth of a huge cave high up in the vertical mountainside of the lateral Shadi gorge through which a major tributary of the Lung-nak river flows. The foundation of Phuktal dates back to the early 12th Century.
Day 11: Purne to Kargyak (6/7 hrs.) : It’s a long but easy day today. The trail follows the Kargyak River. On the way are the villages of Testha, Kuru and Tanse villages. Kargyak is four hours beyond Tanze. We shall camp at Sking Village which is just before Kargyak.
Day 12: Kargyak to Shingo La Base (5 hrs.) : The valley widens up here and the trail follows the traverse of the Karyak stream. After passing through an impressive rock face known as Gombu Rangjom, the trail lands to Lakhang (4470m). A little ahead is the Shingo La Base.
Day 13: Shingoha Base to Ramjak across Shingo La (7/8 hrs.) : Today is a tough walk. The ascent to Shingo La (5050m) takes two hours, and this is the highest point of the trek. The views are fantastic but the place is cold and windy. After the pass, the track goes on for half an hour at the same altitude crossing a torrent. This is followed by a steep descent on a path full of rocks and scree for two hours to Chumik Nagpu. Another three hours of walking brings us to Ramjak (4300m).
Day 14: Ramjak to Pal Lhamo (7 hrs.) : Today is the momentous day when we leave the rocky landscape of Zanskar and enter Lahul, the vista gradually becoming green. It is a gradual descent on an easy path southwards crossing a bridge at Zanskar Sumdo. The trail leads to Pal Lhamo, with a few stream crossings. We shall camp here for the night.
Day 15: Pal Lhamo to Darcha (3 hrs.) : The descent to Darcha is fairly easy. Within the first two hours of our walk we reach Chika Village where the road starts and the last stage is a straight walk into Darch (3300m). We shall all board a jeep that will drive us to Manali (190 kms.) through Jispa, Keylong, Khoksar and Rohtang. At Manali we shall check into a three/from star hotel to spend the night.
Day 16: Rest day in Manali.
Day 17: Drive from Manali to Kulu; where we catch a flight for Delhi.