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Zanskar Tourism And Travel Guide
3.8° C / 38.9° F
June to September
2 to 3 Days
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (450 kms)
Jammu Tawai (750 kms)
Located in the eastern part of Jammu & Kashmir, in the remote corner of Ladakh is the enchanting valley of Zanskar. Blessed with pristine beauty, it has amazing crystal clear sparkling rivers, magnificent glaciers, beautiful ancient monasteries, picturesque villages and gorgeous open vistas. Over the years Zanskar Valley has become a popular destination among trekkers and tourists. It is reached through Kargil by road and a trekking route over Shingo La pass to Darcha in Himachal Pradesh. Tourism in Zanskar Valley has much to offer its tourists in terms of beauty and entertainment. Here is a snippet of travel guide to see in this distant valley.
How to Reach
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh is the closest airport to Zanskar Valley. Located 450 km from the valley, tourists can hire a cab from the airport. Leh is well connected by flights to cities like Srinagar and Delhi.
The closest railway station to Zanskar Valley is Jammu Tawai in Jammu. The station is located 750 km away from Zanskar and tourists can take a bus or hire a cab to reach their destination.
Owing to its altitude, Zanskar Valley does not have air or rail access. It is only accessible by road. From Leh, the tourists have to hire a cab to reach Kargil. From Kargil it is an 8 hour drive to Zanskar (230 km). There are also weekly bus services plying between Leh and Padum in Zanskar with a night halt at Kargil.
Remote location and treacherous roads render Zanskar quite inaccessible. Travelling to the valley and moving around the region is difficult. For travelling to Padum and for sightseeing, people have to rely heavily on taxis. Taxis from Leh and Srinagar cannot be used. Cars with only Kargil registration can be used in Zanskar.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (June to September):
Summer is considered the best time to visit Zanskar Valley. The weather is perfect, mild and tempered. It is ideal for exploring the rustic beauty and charm of the stunning place. Summer is also the season when the monasteries celebrate their annual festival. It is a cultural delight comprising of singing, dancing and merrymaking.
Winter (October to May):
Winter in Zanskar is extremely harsh and prolonged. Winter lasts about six months from October to May. Temperatures dip well below freezing point and rivers freeze completely. Winter is also the best time for trekking. The famous Chadum and Padum treks are undertaken during winter and are considered among the best winter treks in the country.
Things to Do
Zanskar Valley can easily be called the trekking capital of India. With a major part of the place still inaccessible by road owing its high altitude, exploration by foot is considered the best option. It has some amazing trekking trails. There are high altitude multi-day treks to Parkachik and Rangdum in the Suru Valley and to Lamayuru. Chadar trek in winter is considered as one of the very best in the country. Trekking is certainly the most lucrative activities in indulge in during one’s stay in the valley.
Attending Monastery Festivals:
Zanskar boasts of a number of very ancient 10th and 11th centuries monasteries. These monasteries celebrate festivals every year that are marked by beautiful music and dances. The devotional music of the lamas fill in the entire valley creating an enchanting atmosphere. Those visiting the valley should not miss the opportunity of being a part of these festivities.
River Rafting in Zanskar River:
The river waters of Indus and Zanskar offer brilliant opportunities for rafting, particularly from June to August when water levels remain high. While it is an activity that can get the adrenaline pumping high, rafting also allows a spectacular view of the fascinating landscapes of the valley.
Jeep Safari is the recommended way to visit and explore popular destinations in the valley like Leh, Kargil, Rangdum, Karsaha, Padum, Stajrimo, Zungkul, Sani-Stongde and Bardan. It allows a fascinating view of the surroundings. The safari also includes a 35 km drive along River Zanskar which is an amazing experience.
Eating in Zanskar Valley
Owing to its high altitude and by virtue of being located in one the remotest corners of the country, Zanskar has no fine dining options. Eating is all about enjoying the local flavours at roadside dhabas and eateries. The steaming hot thukpas and momos which they serve are among the best and most popular in the valley.