KI - 28 Lamayuru - Padum Trek
Nestled in the Himalayan range lies a fascinatingly rugged land which was once an independent kingdom of Zanskar and even now can only be visited on foot. The area is still quite inaccessible and lies sandwiched between Indus valley and Himalayas there by gives the trekker the pleasure of wandering through some of the most remote regions of the world. However even in this remoteness the classic characteristic of Ladakh- the monasteries can still be found in abundance. In fact the trek starts from the famous monastery of Lamayuru, which is one of the oldest ones in the region.
Other characteristic of this trek include lovely high meadow camp sites on cold and dry desert land, the thrill of passing through high passes and the joy of espying snowcapped peaks amidst stunning scenery. Not to forget the Buddhist monasteries and picturesque villages replete with irrigated fields of barley and potatoes. Even chance encounters with the people of Zanskar make this journey a memorable one.
Day 01 :
Arrive Leh (3505 m). Our Representative will then escort you to your pre-booked hotel situated in the central part of the city. The day will be spent in complete rest to acclimatize you in this high altitude region. In the evening you will take a light stroll to the market. O/N in hotel.
Day 02 :
Today we visit the ancient monasteries of Shey, with its enormous statue of the Buddha and Thikse Monastery, known as one of the most important Gompas known in Central Ladakh. The monastery has some beautiful paintings and gilded statues of the Buddha. In the afternoon we drive down to the most wealth and famous monastery known locally as Hemis. Built in the 17th century, the monastery is tucked away in a secluded grove of poplars and is known for its interesting architecture and wall studded murals. We return back to the hotel in the evening. O/N in hotel.
Day 03 :
Drive to Lamayuru (04/05 hrs and trek to Phenjilla (05/06 hrs). We leave Leh in the morning for Lamayuru. Along the way, we come across some of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Ladakh, founded around 11th century by Lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo Lamayuru, Likir and Alchi offer truly memorable visits on account of their age and history. After reaching Lamayuru (3420m) we will spend the day exploring the ancient monastery and to prepare for the next day. O/N in Camp.
Day 04 :
Trek to Hanupata (04/05 hrs). Morning after breakfast start trekking to reach Hanupata (3770 M) by covering appox 12 kms in 4-5 hrs. A gentle climb upto a large chorten and then a long ascent to the pass. Overnight stay in tents.
Day 05 :
Trek to Photoskar (06 hrs – 4200 m). Morning after breakfast trek to reach Photoksar (4200m) via Sirsir-la (4850m). Today the trail is a slow and steady ascend and to the last point to Sirsir-la, it is quite Steep. From the top you can view the range of Singela and Photoksar village. From the top you will follow a steep descend till the other base and then an easy walk down till the camp. Over night in the tent.
Day 06 :
Trek to Singge La (07/08 hrs). After crossing the small pass of Bumiktse La (4200) this morning, we enter the broad and lush Photang valley. A gentle trail leads us through this beautiful landscape, where villager graze their yak/dzo and horses. One of the most fascinating things about the Zanskar trek is the ever-changing landscape. Every time you turn a corner, or cross a pass, a new world appears in front of you. Passing through the deepest of gorges and meandering through the greenest of fields, the majestic Zanskar River assume a fascinating form and life of its own. With color and shadows changing with the sun, one never gets bored! Slowly we ascent towards Sengge La, or the “Lion Pass ”. The last few meters are steep, but will give u an incredibly rewarding view on the top. From the pass it is an easy walk down to our camp site. O/N in Camp.
Day 07 :
Trek to Lingshe (06 hrs). We follow the trail high above the Zanskar River; the mountains take a greener and gentler formation, before we descend from Kiupa La (4400 m) down the steep zigzag trail to the village of Gongma (3840m)and Skiumpata. From here we climb up a gentle trail to the Margum La (4400m), from where we can see Lingshed an hour or so away. The campsite in Lingshed is just by the monastery belonging to the Gelugpa order and housing around 60 monk .The village itself is spread out over a big area, enclosed in green fields of barley. O/N in Camp.
Day 08 :
Trek to Hanuma La (4850 m/04/05 hrs). From the Oma Chu river is a steep ascent to the Parfi La (3900m) and a sharp descent to the foot of the pass. Walk up to the plateau taking the path that leads towards the edge of the Zanskar to Hanumil. Overnight at camp.
Day 09 :
Trek to Snertse (05/06 hrs). From Lingshed it is an easy ascent to the Hanuma La Pass (4700m), then a long gradual descent to the sheepfolds of Snertse. Overnight at camp.
Day 10 :
Trek to Hanumil via Purfi La (3950 m/06 hrs). In the early morning we head for our last pass before Padum, Parfi La (3950m). A short walk after Snertse there is a wonderful point from where we can see the juniper covered trail zigzagging up to the pass, as well as down the valley to the Oma Chu River. This area is also home to the Himalayan brown bear, as well as blue sheep. From the top of the pass we walk down to the banks of the Zanskar River and to the village of Hanumil (3380m), which will be our camp for tonight.
Day 11 :
Trek to Pishu (04/05 hrs). This is a relatively level stage along the Zanskar River. On the way we will pass Pidmo (3420m), a small village with a few families. It is another 2-3 hours journey to Pishu, (3470m) which is a scenic village located on the west side of the Zanskar River. Hanumil, Pishu and Pidmo together with Chazar and Honia on the other side of the river, constituted the former kingdom of Zangla. The entrance to Pidmo is marked by a long mani wall and chortens, from where we find our way to a grassy campsite. O/N in Camp.
Day 12 :
Trek to Karsha (04/05 hrs). We have another quite easy day ahead of us along a dry, dusty jeep road. From Pishu the trail ascends gradually to Rinam (3550 m), following the banks of the Zanskar River. Arriving at Karsha (3600m) the afternoon can be spent visiting the monastery. Karsha monastery: Karsha monastery is one of largest monasteries of the Gelukpa sect, founded around the 10th century A.D. and with 140 resident monks. It is situated on a hillside with an impressive view of the entire valley. O/N in Camp.
Day 13 :
Trek to Padum (02/03 hrs). From Karsa, we will follow a dusty road to Pipiting village. Padum (3531m) is the capital of Zanskar and a major trade center in the valley. O/N in Camp.
Day 14 :
Drive to Kargil (230 kms). Early morning drive to Kargil 10 hrs over the PENSILA PASS. En route visit the image of Maitriya Buddha near the Sanku village. Arrive late in the evening to the comforts of a hot shower & a hotel bed. Overnight will be at hotel.
Day 15 :
Drive to Leh enroute visit Alchi (235 kms). Post breakfast we drive to Alchi enroute visiting Lamayuru, Belongs to Dripung Kagyu (Red Hat) like Phyang. The oldest structure in Lamayuru is the Singey Lhakhang built by the founder of Alchi Lotsava Rinchen bzangpo in 11th century. After visiting Lamayuru we proceed further to Alchi enrote visiting Ridzong Gompa, known as the paradise for Meditation. O/N in hotel.
Day 16 :