Duration: 8 Days
Max. Altitude: 5150 mtr
Best Time: Mid May to October
Briefing of the trek:
The Markha Valley epitomizes the best of this scenery. It has giant rock pinnacles, beetling cliffs, narrow defiles, prayer-flagged passes and evidence of a much older civilization, The Markha River also passes to the south of the 6,153 m (20,182 feet) high Stok Kangri mountain. As you trek up the valley, ruins of many forts and castles can be seen. some built in some pretty unlikely places.
Day 01: Leh – Spituk – Phyang – Zingchen.
After breakfast we drive to Spituk Monastery and Phyang Monastery. (More than 500 year old) Ancient thankas are preserved there. After leaving the gompa, we cross the bridge over the Indus River. . Drive up to Zingchen. Overnight camp at Zingchen Village.
Day 02: Zingchen – Yurutse. (6 hours)
The trek begins here and striking out for the mountains. You will follow the trail beside the river till the valley widens at Rumbak, where you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Stok Mountains. Take the right fork of the river and continue to the very small village of Yurutse. The purple and green rock formations are quite impressive. Continue past the village to the base camp of Ganda La.
Day 03: Yurutse – Sku (9,900ft) (7hrs)
The climb over the Ganda la pass (4980 mtr) is not as steep as that up to the Stok La, but it is a bit longer. From the top of the pass there is a fabulous view of snow-capped peaks. The descent into the Skyu valley is steady. The wide pastures at the top of the valley close into a narrow ‘waist’ at Shingo, where there is a stream junction and a few houses and fields. From here the river swoops exuberantly down the tight narrow gorge choked with willow and wild rose, with the trail following, swapping from bank to bank as it goes. The village of Skyu is at only 9,900ft, and the Markha Valley here is narrow, so the temperatures can soar. We camp at Skyu, and at dusk it is worth climbing back up the valley to where the Skyu Nala meets the Markha River. Here there is a small monastery cared for by an old nun who comes every evening to light the candles at the altar of ‘Chamba’, the future Buddha.
Day 04: Sku – Markha (11,776ft) (6 hrs)
A very pleasant walk up one of the beautiful sections of the Markha valley. Woody bushes grow thickly along the river which is spanned by several bridges over which the trail marches.Camping beyond this small village on the right bank of the river, just before the village of Markha.
Day 05: Markha – Hangker – Thogchungtse (13,078ft) (5/6 hrs)
The trail continues eastwards climbing steadily up the valley through the picturesque village of Markha, which has a fascinating monastery well worth a visit. Coming in from the south is the trail from Rubering La, one of the routes from Zangla. From Markha the country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded section of the lower Markha is left behind. Between the twin villages of Lower and Upper Hankar is a ruined fort, the walls of which climb sharply up a crag to an aerie of a lookout tower – worth visiting for those with a good head for heights. Follow the Nimiling River up the narrow valley to the camp at Thachugtse. It will be considerably cooler here.
Day 06: Thogchungtse – Nimaling (16,097ft) (3 hrs)
The trail continues to climb up the valley to a picturesque lake with a reflection of snow-capped Kang Yatse, the highest peak in the Zanskar range. From here the Nimaling plain is a broad undulating meadow which slopes upwards to the base of the ice-clad Kang Yatse which dominates the area. Nimaling with tiny ponds and rivulets flowing all over its meadows provides pasturage in the summer for an astonishing number of animals; yaks, sheep, goats, dzos and horses, not only from the Markha but also from villages all around. Reach camp in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to relax and explore.
Day 07– Nimaling to Shang Sumdo (6-7 hours)
After breakfast start trekking to reach Kongmaru La (5100 M). The trek to Kongmaru la passes through narrow gorges. From the top of the pass, you can have a view of Ladakh ranges and the sight of villages to the north of Indus valley is excellent. Cross the pass and proceed to Shang. Overnight in tents.
Day 08-Shang sumdho to Leh, (By car)
En route visit Hemis monastery and Thiksey Monastery.