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Darcha – Padum Trek and Monasteries Tour

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Area: Zanskar and Leh

Duration: 19 days ( 9 days trek + 10 days jeep Safari)

Max. Altitude: 5000m

Difficulty: Moderate

Best Time: June to September end.

Short description: Zanskar, inaccessible for centuries, in unlike anywhere else on earth; A high arid land with fortress like Buddhist monasteries steeped in myth and rich in imagery. It is also a world where the only way to travel is on foot or by pony. This trek takes us from the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh into the ancient kingdom of Zanskar, where we visit the remarkable cave gonpa of Phuktal. The two main routes leading in to Zanskar, despite the region’s isolation are those from Kargil and from Manali to Padum. The people, the scenery and the challenge make this a truly unique adventure!

Day 01: Arrival in Delhi, Fly Manali or Drive to Manali.

Arrival at New Delhi IGI airport, most of international flights arrive New Delhi by midnight. Drive to hotel from airport. We recommend at Pahar Ganj area. Close to railway station and close to Connaught. If you are arriving mid night fly to Kullu Manali airport or leave to Manali by overnight deluxe bus leaving everyday by 16:00 – 17:00 hrs from different locations in New Delhi. Book a hotel for half day to shower and relax.

Day 02: Delhi – Manali (2,040 m) Approx 10 hrs Drive.

Fly or deluxe bus or private vehicle. On arrival Manali Rest relax and acclimatize.

Day 03: Manali – Acclimatization.

Sight-seeing around Manali or day for final preparation before leaving to Zanskar.

Day 4: Drive to Rohtang La (3978m) – Keylong – Jispa (3300m) 6/7 hrs.

Acclimatize. 6/7 hrs drive over Rohtang pass (3978mt.), which is the gateway Lahoul and Spiti Pangi and Zanskar valley, overnight camp.

Day 05: Drive to Palamo (3825m) 1 hr, Trek to Zanskar Sumdo (4,100m) 5 hrs.

Drive to Darcha and to Palamo , starting point of our trek. We pass two villages of Rarik and Chikka. On the way, way pass a spectacular gorge. Continue along the left bank, and then cross a first ford. Gradual climb and good view of mountain, we continue on the left bank until reaching a second ford. 400mt.gradual climbs from Palamo to Zanskar Sumdo. Good camp aside a ford.

Day 06: Trek to Chhumik Nakpo (4670m) 6 hrs.

Today leaving Zanskar Sumdo we cross the second ford then go up the right hand valley following the stream, which comes from Shingo la. Streams in Himalayas should be cross carefully even if they look small, camp in the small meadow.

Day 07: Climb to Shingo-la (5090m) – Lakhong (4590mt) 7/8 hrs.

Today is an eventful day for those who have never climbed to this height. From the camp, climb moderate slopes to foot of the pass. Finally at the top of the pass of Shingo-la (5090mt.) see the view of various peaks. Walk over the glacier and fallen rocks. Finally reach Lakhong camp beside small stream.

Day 08: Trek to Kargyak (4230m) 5/6 hrs.

Cross the stream and come to the right side of stream. Walk on a mass of fallen rocks, then cross a small stream. After one hour, you pass beneath the face of the Gomborangjum, then an easy descent to the first village of Zanskar region Kargyak.

Day 09: Trek to Purne (3965m) 6 hrs.

Walking through the Buddhist regions means always go from the left side of Chorten (Stupa) and recite as OM MANE PADME HUM, Continue on the right bank along an easy walk. Reach Tanze a small village, gompa is in ruins a bit higher-up. A short distance beyond Tanze, there is a small bridge across to the left bank. Slight rise in terrain leads to Kuru, a major village of livestock breeders, then arrival in Testa, beautiful village. The path continues downward as near the river. Stay on the left bank, and then climb to Yal. Reaching Yal steep descent towards a large bridge, which you cross to go Purne

Day 10: Trek to Phuktal (4055m) and back to Purne 6 hrs.

Today leaving Purne we go up the right bank of the Tsarap River in to the splendid gorges. Cross a bridge in good condition, walk up for few minutes. A ledge leads to a small plateau sprinkled with Chorten and religious banners. From here see the most spectacular sights in the Zanskar regions, Phuktal monastery which is built under a huge cave. Phuktal belongs to the tradition of Gelukpas (Yellow section) visiting Phuktal we return back by the same route to Purne.

Day 11: Trek to Vipula (3865m) 5/6 hrs.

Today after breakfast from Purne we come back to the bridge, cross the bridge and then go up the left bank. There are frequent small canyons of pudding stones. Pass a bit above a hanging bridge, which leads to the village of Cha. 2hours later reach Kheydang, a small village in a poplar grove. Carry one until Gyalbo teashop.

Day 12: Trek to Raru (3960m) 6 hrs.

Today long way to Large bridge which leads to Ichar village, gradual climb before coming to a major tributary (bridge), then to the campsite of Raru, camp near the lake.

Day 13: Drive to Padum (3,530 m) – karsha (10,890 ft/3,320 m) 5/6 hrs.

Leaving the magnificent village and campsite at Raru we cross a beautiful plain covered with flowers. Watch the monastery of Mune. Go down a steep incline to the main trail. After two hours, arrive at Bardan Monastery, a Kargyudpa Monastery famous for its prayer wheel. There are several beautiful villages on the right bank of Tsarap River. Overnight at Padum.(internet works)

Day 14: Visit of Monasteries ; Karsha Gonpa, Stongde Gonpa and Tsezar(Nunnery)

Day 15: Drive to Rangdum,(105 km) Visit Rangdum Monastery enjoy the landscape and beautiful Nun-kun range. Overnight at fixed camp or Home stay.

Day 16: Rangdum to Lamayuru.(230 km) At arrival take a stroll in village and Gonpa..Overnight at Monastery guest house.

Day 17: Lamayuru to Leh: (120 km) enroute visit Alchi (for its famous wall paintings) and Saspol cave. Overnight in Leh.

Day 18: Relax and leisure, stroll in local market or you can buy souvenir.

Day 19: Fly back from Leh, leaving with best memories.

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