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Zanskar Valley - A view from our expert author


Padum, the main base for treks through the spectacular Zanskar Valley, Kashmir, India by Natalia Davidovich, ShutterstockWith its perfect location nestled against the mountains, Padum is the main base for treks through the spectacular Zanskar Valley © Natalia Davidovich, Shutterstock

If you want to trek or climb in the Indian Himalayas, but are frustrated by the overly popular routes in Nepal and Ladakh, replete with queues of tourists and their rubbish, Zanskar is the perfect antidote. A subdistrict of Kargil, right in the heart of J&K, it is sufficiently inaccessible that first-time visitors to the region rarely make the eff ort to get here, preferring the quicker routes into and out of the Markha and Nubra valleys, but providing you are not in a rush, it is well worth the effort to get here.

Trek through the epic wilderness of the Zanskar Valley, the perfect antidote to the busier routes through the Himalayas elsewhere. 

Treks in the valley vary from easy day treks, such as the route across the valley floor from Zanskar’s administrative centre, Padum, to Karsha, to numerous opportunities to create routes that have never previously been recorded. There are still places where even the trekking guides haven’t been, and a single monk may be the only source of information that can supplement your map. In winter when the road is closed due to snow, the only way in and out of Zanskar is by doing the arduous Chadar Winter Trek along the frozen Zanskar River, providing insight not only into the challenges of living in this landscape but the lengths that local people will go to in order to ensure that Zanskar’s children receive an education.

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