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Zanskar - The Destination


About 20 km south of Rangdum stands the Penzi-la watershed across which lies Zanskar, the most isolated of all the trans-Himalayan valleys.

The fertile region of Padum and its outlying villages and gompas form the nucleus of this Little Tibet called Zanskar. Zanskar comprises a tri-armed valley system lying between the great Himalayan range and the Zanskar mountain. It is mainly along the course of this valley system that the region's 10000 strong, mainly Buddhists, population lives. Spread over an estimated geographical area of 5000 sq km, high-rise, mountains and deep gorges surround Zanskar. The three arms radiate star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse where the region's two principal drainages meet to form the main Zanskar river.

Zanskar Valley


The hill resort of Zanskar is one of the isolated and scantly inhabited Himalayan Valleys. Zanskar is wrapped in snow-covered peaks and boats of two small alpine lakes. But there is nothing comparable to the wonderful view of the largest glacier in Ladakh, Drang-Drung glacier. Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with, of all settlements of Ladakh, and one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. Within the mountain ramparts of this lost Shangrila stand a number of ancient yet active monastic establishments. Some of these religious foundations have evolved around remote meditation caves believed to have been used by a succession of famous Buddhist saints for prolonged meditation in pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment.


Virtually untouched by the winds of change and modernization till then, Zanskar is now a favourite destination for trekkers and rafters. Rivers are ranked from I to VI - the lowest being a pool of placid water, the last a suicide mission! This rafting through Grade III / IV rapids enhances the experience of journeying down this otherwise untrekkable gorge and provides an ultimate combination of outdoors, adventure, culture and sheer fun.

Zanskar - Facts at a Glance

State : Jammu and Kashmir
Area : Main valley is almost 300 km long
Temperature : 25°C - 15°C (Summers)
5°C to -30°C (Winters)
Best Season :
Since Zaskar is frozen for almost seven months, owing to severe Winters, the ideal time to visit would be mid June – mid October.

History of Zanskar


Zanskar’s history has been linked to that of Ladakh from the time of Sengge Namgyal, one of whose sons became the ruler of Zanskar. Thereafter the fortunes of Zanskar followed those of Ladakh, although the former’s remoteness meant that it resisted encroachment better than its northern neighbour. Under the Dogras Zanskar was divided into two puppet kingdoms, and there remain two kings to this day.
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