About 20 kms.
South of Rangdum stands the Pazila watershed
across which lies Zanskar, the most isolated of all the trans Himalayan
Valleys. The Panzila Top (4401 m) is the picturesque tableland adorned with
two small alpine lakes and surrounded by snow covered peaks. As the Zanskar
road winds down the steep slopes of the watershed to the head of the Stod
Valley, one of Zanskar's main tributary valleys, the majestic "Drang-Drung"
glacier looms into full view. A long and winding river of ice and snow, the
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 River, the main tributary of river Zanskar, rises.
Zanskar comprises a tri-armed valley system lying between the Great
Himalayan Range and the Zanskar mountain; The three arms radiate star-like
towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse where the
region's two principal drainage's meet to form the main Zanskar River. It is
mainly along the course of this valley system that the region's 10,000
strong, mainly Buddhists population lives. Spread over an estimated
geographical area of 5000 sq. kms. High rise, mountains and deep gorges
surround Zanskar. The area remains inaccessible for nearly 8 months a year
due to heavy snowfall resulting in closure of all the access passes,
including the Penzi-la. To-day, Zanskar has the distinction of being the
least interfered with microcosms 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.
How to Reach ?
240 km long Kargil-Padun road, of which the first 90 km stretch is paved,
remains opened from around mid July to early November. The J&K SRTC operates
a thrice weekly B-class bus service from Kargil. However groups can charter
A-Class or even Super-Deluxe buses to visit Zanskar, including the interior
places of interest like Strongdey, Zangla and Karsha. Jeeps and Gypsy taxis
can also be hired at Kargil. During June and early July, prior to opening of
the road, it is recommended to walk into Zanskar from panikhar or Parkachik
onwards. In June, the summer is at its height in the region and the climate
is ideal for trekking along the route free from vehicular traffic of any
kind and when the countryside is freshly rejuvenated into life after months
of frigid dormancy.
Places of Interest (Visit
Leh is nested in a side valley just to the north of the Indus Valley.
Until 1947 it had close trading relations with Central Asia yak trains would
set off from the Leh Bazaar to complete the stages over the Kaakoam Pass to
Yarkand and Kashgar.
Administering the Valleys of Suru , Drass, Wakha and Bodkarbu, Kargil
lies midway between the alpine valleys of Kashmir and the fertile reaches of
the Indus Valley and ladakh
Thak Thok gompa
shelters a cave in which the apostle Padmasambhava is said to have meditated
during his epic eight-century journey to Tibet.
Dhahanu is situated to the south west of Leh,
around 163 Kms. passing through the beautiful villages of Kaltsey, Domkhar,
Padum is 240 km to the south of Kargil, comes as a bit of an anticlimax
Rangdum is an elliptical expanded plateau surrounded by colourful hills on
the one side and glacier encrusted rocky mountains on the other.
The Suru Valley
Diving two of the world's most formidable mountain ranges, the Suru
Valley winds south from Kargil to the desolate Pensi La the main entry point
the Nubra valley - nubra means green used to be on the trading route
connection Tibet with Turkistan, Also Now as the Valley of Flowers
Drass (3230 m), 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar, is a small township lying in the centre of the valley of the same name
The Shyok River receives the waters of the Nubra and Changchenmo rivers. It rises from the Khumdang glacier, which can be approached from
Pangong Tso, 15km to the southeast of Leh, is one of the largest
saltwater lakes in Asia, a long narrow strip of water stretching from Ladakh
east into Tibet.
Tso Moriri or "Mountain Lake" is Famous for the large herds of
king, or wild ass, which graze on its shores, the lake of Tso Moriri.