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Things To Do In Zanskar
A huge valley with a sparse population in a remote corner of the country, this description makes Zanskar an indeal destination for exploring. It offers a unique and lucrative opportunity for becoming one with the nature and enjoying its barren beauty. The mighty mountain ranges, the sun kissed snow capped peaks, the crystal clear sparkling rivers winding their way their way through the valley, the majestic glaciers, the simple yet picturesque villages, the ancient monasteries have all come together to create a fascinating destination. It offers an opportunity to indulge in a range of activities, as described in this things to do article for Zanskar.
Zanskar can safely be termed as the trekking capital of India and is a paradise for trekkers. It offers some magnificent trekking trails. As one of the highest altitude places of the country, there is a large part of the valley that cannot be accessed by vehicles. Exploration by foot is the only option. There are some high altitude multi day treks to Parkachik and Rangdum in the Suru Valley and to Lamayuru. Chadar Trek in winter is considered heavenly. Trekking is undoubtedly the topmost activity to indulge in while in the valley and is certainly the finest way to enjoy its beauty.
Attending Monastery Festivals
Zanskar has a fair number of ancient monasteries dating back to 10th, 11th centuries. These monasteries celebrate festivals that are marked by a riot of colours, dances by the lamas and beautiful devotional music, all of which create an enchanting atmosphere in the valley. It is a cultural extravaganza in the valley that should not be missed as they give a peek into the life of the people of Zanskar.
River Rafting in Zanskar River
River Rafting is an adventurous sport which the more adventure inclined indulge in while in the region. The river waters of Indus and Zanskar offer magnificent rafting opportunities, particularly from June to August, when the water levels remain high. Rafting offers a fascinating view of the landscapes of the valley. They have some popular rafting routes running from Phey to the confluence of Indus and Zanskar at Nimo, before heading towards the monastic enclave of Alchi. The other rafting route is from Phey to Saspol.
While in Zanskar, it is recommended to take the customary jeep safari which covers some of the most popular destinations like Leh, Kargil, Rangdum, Karsaha, Padum, Stajrimo, Zungkul, Sani-Stongde and Bardan. The safari begins froms Leh and then proceeds to Alchi, with visits to monasteries of Spituk, Badgo and Alchi Gompa and then proceeds to Kargil. The jeep safari offers a stunning view of the surrounding landscape and is certainly the best way to cover some of the popular destinations of Zanskar and the adjacent areas. The safari also includes a 35 km drive along River Zanskar which is fascinating.
Discover the Simplicity of Local Life
Owing to its high altitude, Zanskar is tucked away in one of the remotest corners of India. It does not have the dazzle of city life, no five star accommodations or luxurious fine dining opportunities. In the absence of extravagance, it is the simplicity of life that becomes the major attraction in Zanskar. Anyone travelling to the valley has to make living arrangements with the locals, which is perhaps the best thing that can happen. It gives a rare opportunity to interact closely with the locals, witness their very basic ways of life, eat simple local cuisine. Their simple way of life makes a fascinating story and should not be missed.
Having Lunch with the Lamas
Reaching a monastery during lunch time comes with the assumption that you will be a part of the mid-day meal of the lamas. Get a place somewhere to sit and you will find yourself being handed a bowl of warm food and just like that you are part of their food service. Being a part of the daily ritual, partaking of their simple food is an experience by itself. Try not to miss this opportunity and it will be an experience that you will cherish for years to come.
Eating in Zanskar
Being in a remote part of the country, Zanskar does not boast of any luxurious fine dining options. There are no five star multi cuisine restaurants. Eating here is strictly restricted to some roadside eateries, dhabas that serve primarily local bread and soups. They are hot and full of flavours. There are some Tibetan and Chinese restaurants where tourists can try local dishes. Thukpa and momos are the most popular food in Zanskar Valley.