Zanskar Jeep Safari



Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days
Best Season: July to September
Destination: Leh - Zankskar - Lamayuru monastery – Kargil
- Suru valley – Leh


Leh, the capital of Ladakh is situated at a height of 3505 meters and is towards the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The region is watered by the Zanskar River, which flows into the Indus River just below. Spilling out of a side valley that tapers north towards eroded snow-capped peaks, the Ladakhi capital sprawls from the foot of a ruined Tibetan style palace - a maze of mud-brick and concrete flanked on one side by cream-coloured desert, and on the other by a swathe of lush irrigated farmland. As one approaches Leh for the first time, via the sloping seep of dust and pebbles that divide if from the floor of the Indus Valley, one will have little difficulty imagining how the old trans -Himalayan traders must have felt as they plodded in on the caravan routes from Yarkhand and Tibet: a mixture of relief at having crossed the mountains in one piece, and anticipation of a relaxing spell in one of central Asia's most scenic and atmospheric towns. Leh is a beautiful destination with so many attractions and is the center of Tibeto-Buddhist Culture for ages. Its colorful gompas have attracted the devout Buddhists from all over the globe. Besides, it is also a favorite hiking locale and is known for some of the best hikes in the country.


It is the most important town in the Suru Valley. It is the headquarters of Kargil District and has the most modern amenities, although not of the level of those found in the plains of India. There are a number of other settlements of significant size in the Suru Valley. Kargil is a fairly busy town servicing the villages of the surrounding region. The important Srinagar-Leh road passes through Kargil.


About 20 Km south-east of Rangdum stands the Panzila axis, across which lies Zanskar, the most isolated of all the trans-Himalayan valleys. The Penzila pass (4,401m) is a picturesque tableland surrounded by snow-covered peaks.As the Zanskar road winds down the steep slopes of Penzi-la to the head of the Stod valley, the majestic " Drang-Drung" glacier looms into full view. A long and winding river of ice and snow, "Drang-Drung" is perhaps the largest glacier in Ladakh, outside the Siachen formation. It is from the cliff-like snout of this extensive glacier that the Stod or Doda tributary of the Zanskar River rises.
Zanskar is a tri-armed valley system situated between the Great Himalayan Range and the Zanskar mountains, the three arms radiating star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse. Here the Zanskar River comes into being by the confluence of its two Himalayan tributaries, the Stod/Doda and the Lingti-Tsarap Rivers. It is mainly along the course of this valley system that the region’s approximately 14,000 strong, mainly Buddhist population, live.

Day 01: Leh

A rrival at Leh airport, to be received by me our representative and transferred to the Hotel. Check in to the hotel for a complete day of rest wherein welcome tea and coffee will be served by the Hotel. After lunch visit Leh Market, Leh Palace, Hall of Fame and Shanti Stupa. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02: Leh - Alchi - Lamayuru

Leh to Lamayuru to Ule (125 Kms) After breakfast drive to Lamayuru enroute visit Liker Monastery and Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. Check in Camp at Alchi or Ule and enjoy your hot Lunch. After Lunch drive to visit the mesmerising Moon landscapes and the Lamayuru monastery (Oldest Monastery in Ladakh). Overnight Camp or Hotel.

Day 03: Lamamyuru - Suru valley

Early morning drive from Lamayuru to Suru valley enroute visit some interesting places Mulback chamba.

Suru valley:

The landscape of the Suru valley is wonderful, especially when it gets dotted by flowers in the summer. It expands from Kargil town upto the Penzi La watershed, from where the Suru River rises. The Suru valley has a large population, mainly of Tibetan-Dard Muslims, who converted to Islam in the 15th century. The beauty of the region is enhanced by the peaks of Nun (7,135m) and Kun (7,035m) Massif.

Kartse Khar:

The Kartse Khar an ancient village with a 7m tall rock carved statue of Maitriya Buddha. All this is evidence of the presence of Buddhist community in the valley in the past. There are other rocks carved statues and stupas are to be seen in Suru valley, if any one wishes to explore.

Day 04: Suru valley - Rangdum


Panikhar is the best station for undertaking mountaineering expeditions to the various Peaks surrounded the valley. Tanyol, the approach base for climbing Mt. Nun, is just 6 Kms. further up the valley along the road. A short walk up the hill slopes from here takes one across the Sentik Ridge to the base camp on the rim of the ice plateau. Another very interesting hike is to the Nun- Kun view saddle (3810m) in the Parkachik ridge. This requires 3 hours of walking along verdant slopes over looking the fertile valley below.

Day 05: Rangdum - Sani

Rangdum: It is situated almost halfway between Kargil and Padum and was founded in the 18th Century by Losang Geleg Yeshe Drogpa. The Dukhang or assembly hall holds many beautiful statues. There is a great statue of Buddha in the small temple just behind. Drive early morning About 20 Km south-east of Rangdum stands the Panzila axis, across which lies Zanskar, the most isolated of all the trans-Himalayan valleys. The Penzila pass (4,401m) is a picturesque tableland surrounded by snow-covered peaks

Day 06:

Sani castle, Karsha monastery, Tagrimo, and Pipiting Guru and back to Padum


This is believed to be the oldest Ka-ni-ka (named after the former king of Kashmir) Gompa in Zanskar. Unlike most in Ladakh and Zanskar, this Gompa is built like a castle in the village on flat ground, and involves no steep climbs, and so is more welcoming then the average Gompa. There is an impressive prayer room, full of Buddhist statues and plenty of frescoes and Thankas to delight. There is also a famous stone carving of the Maitreya Buddha on a large rock near the Gompa.


Padum is the administrative headquarters of the Zanskar region, but was once an ancient capital with very light population of Buddhist and Suni Muslim. Padum itself has little to offer, but serves as a good base for exploring near by villages, monasteries and treks.


Situated in Padum plain, is a Kagyupa monastery with about 30 resident monks. It was built in the 17th century. Among the paintings one can recognize Nawang Namgyal, founder of the Bhutanese theocracy.
Pipting: Is the north east of Padum. Stupa and a few buildings, including a temple are above the village. The temple has pictures of Avalokeshvara with eleven heads, Padmasambhava, Maitreya, as well as Vajrabhairava and Tsong Khapa. The last two indicate that this monastery belongs to Gelupatradition.


This is one of the most important Gompa in Zanskar, dating back to about the 11th century, and belonging to the Gelukpa order. A large white complex housing over one hundred monks, the Karsha Gompa holds pujas, often different from those in Ladakh, we should be witnessed, if possible. The three day Gustor festival held in July or August each year is particularly spectacular. There is also a five hundred year old nunnery.

Day 07:

Drive from Padum - Stongday Gompa, Zangla castle/also zangla the Zansker king palaces (4-5hrs .) e nroute visit some places.


On the way to Zangla is the gompa at Thonde, nearly 20 km from Padum. With about 50 monks of the Gelukpa order, Thonde is now the second largest gompa in Zanskar, after the one at Karsha. The village of Tsazar, half a between Thonde and Zangla, also has an impressive gompa.


The road continues past Tsazar to the village and gompa at Zangla, which belongs to the Drukpa. It is also where the king of Zanskar has his castle. Zangla is 35 km from Padum, and can be included in one of a few three or four day trek around the area. There is a small nunnery near by which is also worth exploring.


The remote gompa at Bardan is about 12 km south of Padum, on the trekking route to Darcha. It belongs to the Drukpa order, and was built in 17th century.


Is upstream from Bardan with in 2 1/2 hours walking distance. The monastery houses a small community of Gelupa monks. The murals have been repainted recently and portray subjects particularly venerated by Tsong Khapa's disciples, such as Yamantaka and the protector Chukden.


Two caves associated with the great Indian master Naropa (10 century) are the oldest religious center within the monastery. Two temples were built over the first cave with the monastery around. Temple walls are hung with beautiful Thankas. Unfortunately, there are only faint traces of the paintings which embellished the first cave, but Naropa's footprints are there. The second cave is above the monastery and houses statues of Naropa and Vajradhara.

Day 08: Padum

Full day rest at Padum for shopping and many more.

Day 09: Padum – Rangdum

Drive back to Rangdum. Overnight at Ramngdum camp (6-7hrs)

Day 10: Rangdum – kargil

Drive after breakfast Overnight at Hotel Kargil (5-6hrs)

Day 11: Kargil – leh

Morning after breakfast. Easily drive back to leh.(5-6 hrs)

Day 12:

Depart to airport



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Client Speaks.....

Motorbike Tours in India is amazing. Experience the highest motorable pass in the world, the Khardung La Pass, at the height of 18,370ft or Baralacha-la Pass (4,892 m) and Lachalangla Pass (5,065m) in Ladakh. Motorbike Tours in India is amazing. Experience the highest motorable pass in the world, the Khardung La Pass.....

Mr. Robert, California, US
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