Zanskar Valley, Ladakh

by - November 03, 2020

                    Zanskar, Zahar (locally) or Zangskar, also identified as Janskar or Jangskar, is a sub-district of the Kargil, which falls in the Indian union territory of Ladakh. The administrative Point is Padum. Together with the nearby region of Ladakh, Zanskar was part of Western Tibet's Territory of Guge. Zanskar is situated 254 km south of the town of Kargil on NH301.

                In the union territory of Ladakh that divides Zanskar from Ladakh, which is a mountain range. The Zanskar Range is geographically part of the Tethys Himalaya, a synclinorium approx. 105 km wide, formed by a strongly folded and imbricated, weakly transmogrified sedimentary sequence. The Zanskar Range has an average height of about 6,000 m (19,700 feet). Its eastern portion is referred to as Rupshu. According to the year 2020, the town had a population of about 20,000.

                Border wars between India, Pakistan & China-led Ladakh & Zanskar to be closed to travelers in the mid-20th century. Ladakh lost 2/3 of its original territories during these conflicts, losing Baltistan to Pakistan & China to Aksai Chin. Ladakh and Zanskar have never abandoned their cultural and religious identity since the 8th century, amid a turbulent past of internal wars and foreign aggressions.

            Zanskar valley, with a recognized affinity for Buddhist beliefs, is a semi-desert. For its high snow-capped mountains and surrounding scenery, Zanskar Valley is eternally popular, having geographical features that are unique to this area. You'll be introduced to sparkling clean river waters and a friendly environment that makes it worth traveling to reach this location. Zanskar Valley has located 110 km from Leh and has gained renown among adventure enthusiasts. It is one of the most popular holiday locations for a host of activities that can be checked out in the valley.
Chadar Trek or Frozen River Trek :

                    One of the most special and difficult treks in India is the Chadar Trek, or The Frozen River Trek. In the latter part of January until the end of February, or perhaps even during the 1st week of March, depending on conditions, Chadar trek across the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh. Imagine walking through frozen chunks of ice, with snow-covered mountains on one side and a stream, freezing or melting steadily on the other side, as anyone walk alongside it.
Suru Valley :

                  The Suru valley is a valley that is drained by the Suru River, a strong tributary of the Indus river, in the Ladakh territory. The valley's most famous city in Kargil. The scenery of the Suru valley is wonderful, particularly in the summer when it is dotted with flowers. It extends up to the Penzi La watershed from Kargil town, from where the Suru river starts.
                  There is a huge population in the Suru valley, predominantly Tibetan-Dard Muslims, who converted to Islam in the 15th century. The Valley's beauty is intensified by the peaks of the Massif Nun (7,136 m) and Kun (7,040 m).
Phugtal Monastery, Ladakh :
            The Monastery of Phugtal (Phuktal) is a Buddhist monastery located in the south-eastern part of Ladakh's Zanskar region. It is one of the most remote monasteries in the area, built about 2500 years ago, at the mouth of a natural cave on a mountain. From a point, the Phugtal Monastery appears like a honeycomb.
                In the Zanskari language, Phuk means "cave" and tal means "at leisure." Only by walk can the monastery be reached and strenuous trekking is required. This would find trekking lovers a wonderful getaway full of delightful sounds of nature.

How to Reach :

  1. Airport : Reach the Kushok Bakula airport 🔜 Leh. Then hired a vehicle to get to Zanskar Valley. 
  2. By Rail : Reach the Jammu Tawi railway station and then hired vehicle 🔜Leh and afterward to Zanskar Valley. 
  3. By Road :

  • Shortest and safety route, reach first Srinagar 🔜 Leh 🔜 Kargil 🔜 Padum (via NH1 and NH301). The distance between Leh - Zanskar Valley is 460km (approx.) and will take 11/12 hrs.
  • Another route, Manali 🔜 Leh 🔜 Kargil, or reach Leh directly via air or train. From there, by road to Padum.
  • An alternative route runs from Leh 🔜 Nimoo 🔜 Chilling 🔜 Padum. Most of this route runs beside the Zanskar river and the famous Phugtal monastery on the way.

Best Time to Visit : 


            June to September. During this time, the weather is most decent for visitors.  If anyone plan to visit during the months of December to January or February, the only way for them to reach the Zanskar/Padum will be by walking over the Chadar trek, since roads are blocked during this time. It is totally snow-covered.

Hospital and ATM :

                Govt. Hospital is available only in Kargil and Padum. Only one ATM machine is available in Padum Market. So, everyone should carry sufficient cash with them and no mobile connectivity in this region.

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