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Zanskar Travel Information, Ladakh

It means "the land of White Copper". Zanskar is the most stunning and the most remote area of Ladakh. It has got a number of small mountain locked valleys. The area was opened for tourists only in 1995.The origin of Zanskar is the confluence of two rivers that flow towards each other along the northern flank of the Great Himalaya and meet in the broad plain of Padum. The region receives a lot more snow than Central Ladakh. The mid-winter temperature at this place drops to -40 degrees centigrade. It is treated as one of the coldest habitats in the world. The valley spreads to an estimated area of 5000 sq. kms. Most of the area cannot be accessed for around 8 months of the year.In regards to Public transport it is virtually non existence around Zanskar valley, the valley is well known for its religion with widely scattered gompas & settlements at striking distance from the main highway. Most of the settlements of the valley are so remotely that can be only reached after days or the weeks walking.

The Frozen Train of Zanskar

Ever fancied walking over the frozen river with ice cold water running below your feet. At some places the layer of ice is so clear that you can actually see the water running below it. If yes , a trek over frozen Zansakr river in winter will fulfill your fantasy. For few days you are away from civilization yet safe and secure. During winter Zankar river is covered with blanket of ice with water running below it. Trek along the Zanskar valley over the frozen Zanskar River , a must extreme adventure lovers.

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.

The 240 km long Kargil-Padun road, of which the first 90 km stretch is paved, remains opened from around mid July to early November. 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.

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