A trek that offers you glimpses into an amazingly diverse landscape. Range after range of stark barren mountains that magically change colours with the traverse of the sun; high snow covered mountain passes with breathtaking panoramic vistas; ancient monasteries and wizened monks living in a land that time seems to have forgotten; and the enormous sweep and space of the hi-altitude plateaus and grazing lands of the hardy Changpa nomads with their flocks of sheep and herds of Yak. That’s what this magical journey offers.
Duration: 17 Days
Day 01: We welcome you on your arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and escort you to your hotel where you stay overnight.
Day 02: Take the morning flight to Leh and check into your hotel. Afternoon free to wander around the bazaars and visit the Leh palace. A couple days in Leh is strongly advised due to the high altitude.
Day 03: Leh – Spituk – Zinchen – 3200m / 10,496ft. 4 hours. We leave after breakfast to the village of Spituk with its famous monastery. Pack ponies await to be loaded before we commence our trek to the small hamlet of Zinchen. The trail leads out of this small village and heads south west to the small village of Zinchen. Camp overnight.
Day 04: Zinchen -Yurutse – 3844m / 12,608ft. 5 hours. The trail ascends gradually following the Zinchen rivulet upstream. Near the river is one of the entry points to the hi-altitude Hemis National Park. Entering this rich national park we head south through a narrowing valley and then further on cross a tapered gorge towards the pasture lands near Rumbak village. The trail passes a water mill and then crosses a bridge to continue upstream to the one house stop of Yurutse near a freshwater spring. Camp overnight.
Day 05: Yurutse – Ganda La – 4900m / 16.072ft. to Skiu at 3510m / 11,512ft. 6 – 7 hours. It’s a gradual climb for about three hours to the Ganda la pass from where you get excellent views of the Zanskar and Stok mountains. From the pass the trail descends towards the village of Shingo and a bit further leads on to Skiu. Camp overnight.
Day 06: Skiu – Markha – 3850m / 12,628ft. 6 hours. A leisurely trek that involves a number of river crossings across the Markha river. At times the water may be low solely depending on the weather conditions. We camp near the Markha village with its green fields on the banks of the Markha river.
Day 07: Markha – Hankar – 4000m / 13,120ft. 4 hours. The trail involves a day of a few river crossings till you reach the Umlung Gompa high up on a hillside. The climb is stiff one but there are good views of the valley far below. The Umlung village is a little ahead and from here the walk is almost a level one to Hankar village. We camp at the foot of the soaring Kang Yaze peak – 6400m / 20,992ft.
Day 08: Hankar – Langthang Chu campsite at 4250m / 13,940ft. 6 hours. The trail now leaves the Markha valley and heads south alongside the Langthang crossing it several times before we reach the delightful camping site. Camp overnight.
Day 09: Langtang Chu – Yakrupal – 4700m / 15,416ft. 4 hours. The trail ascends through a valley and fords a stream emerging onto a moraine wall after which the valley narrows till we reach the base of the pass.
Day 10: Yakrupal – Zalung Karpo La – 5200m / 17,056ft. on to Sorra / Kurna Chu -4200m / 13,776ft. 5 – 6 hours. The trail goes uphill over the Zalung Karpo La pass and then slopes towards the west zigzagging its way down into the valley. Camp near the village of Sorra.
Day 11: Sorra – Dat – 4200m / 13,776ft. 5 hours. The trail goes along the river into a spectacular canyon with a small clear stream and a copse of prized willows. The valley widens out and then after a climb emerges into another valley which we follow upstream passing quite a few mani walls right up to Dat a fertile and green village in a landscape of harsh browns. Camp overnight.
Day 12: Dat – Yar La – 5000m / 16,400ft. to Lungmoche at 4010m / 13,152ft. 6- 7 hours. Today we cross over from the Zanskar mountains into the vast sweeping plains of the Rupshu valley. An easy climb takes us to the pass where a large Chortens stands adorned with prayer flags. Ahead stretch the undulating landscape of Rupshu as we head down to the abandoned village of Lungmoche. On the way there are chances of spotting a herd of Kiangs – the Tibetan Wild Ass which inhabit the rolling plains of the Rupshu and Changthang. Camp overnight.
Day 13: Lungmoche – Sangtha – 4300m / 14,110ft. 3 hours. The trail goes through a large stretch of desert and then tapers off into shrubby grassland. Further on Chortens and mani walls appear just as we enter the Sangtha village which may be deserted as it is the winter home of the Changpa nomads who travel long distances on the high plateaus grazing their livestock of sheep and Yak during the summer months. Walk through the barren landscape surrounded by distant hills to the Manali Leh Highway where a Jeep awaits to take us over the 5060m / 16,596ft high Lachlang La pass to the camping site at Sarchu. Camp overnight.
Day 14: Drive further south from Sarchu to Manali by jeep. The road passes – Baralacha La and Rohtang La two passes, before reaching the lush green Kullu valley and its northern most town of Manali.
Day 15: Rest day in Manali to take in the local sights – the 500 year old pagoda shaped Hadimba temple in a thick grove of gigantic Deodar trees; the hot healing sulphur springs of Vashsisht; and the meadows and ski slopes of Solang valley besides a stroll on the lively Mall road. Overnight in a comfortable hotel.
Day 16: A fifteen hour drive takes us to New Delhi where you check into your hotel for the night.
Day 17: Day at leisure in Delhi. Transfer to the International airport late night or early morning for an onward flight to your next destination.