ZALUNG KARPO LA (5190m), KONGMARU LA (5150m), CHAR-CHAR (4950m)
PADUM TOWN AND VARIOUS MONASTRIES, THE HEART OF ZANSKAR
One of the most challenging treks through remote trails of deep gorges and over high passes linking two prominent valleys of Zanskar and Indus in Ladakh. At several points the trail leads over to around 5000m high passes. In between the absence of any villages until you reach the Markha Valley, deter all but the most adventurous trekkers.
Before heading on the trail, a day or two at Padum making arrangements and spending some time visiting the ancient monasteries in the vicinity, provides you with a convenient base. You’ll have ample opportunity to rejuvenate yourself at Padum. It is the administrative centre of the Zanskar Valley.
Padum is a paradise for any trekker. It is named after Lord Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche), the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Historically, the lineage of a royal family ruled over Zanskar from Padum as well as Zangla. However, consequent upon the conquest of Ladakh in 1834 by a general named Zorawar Singh of the Dogra army of Jammu, the powers of the royal families in both Padum and Zangla were reduced to a nominal status. Today Padum is inhabited largely by people who follow Tibetan Buddhism. A sizable Muslim community have also their presence being felt in Padum since the 17th century.
Living at the town of Padum is a magical experience. It transcends you out into a new reality away from the mundane chaos of modern life. It is scenic and known for its Spartan splendour. There are several monasteries and villages situated at the vicinity of Padum that acquire different hues with the change of season. The confluence of the Stod and the Tsarap Rivers at Padum forms the Zanskar River which ultimately drains in the Indus.