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Zanskar-A word above imagination
Zanskar is a lonely place. Heavy snowfall for eight months in the year, makes it hostile territory. But come summer, the very ridges and uneven terrain, that made the place so unapproachable ,during the season of ice and snow ,now becomes challenging trekking routes. These treks can be very rewarding. for not only are they challenging, but also offer spectacular views. The gushing Zanskar River offers some of the most thrilling water sports, like river rafting and canoeing, making this quiet place uncharacteristically boisterous for portions of the year. All along the way, are beautiful, serene gompas, and snatches of the gentle, hospitable Buddhist culture,that are so much a part of Zanskar. Today, Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet.

Closely united to the west of Ladakh, in religion and speech,, Zanskar was a part of the Ladakh territories ,before its conquest, and was governed by a Rajah, who was a vassal, of the Gyalpo at Leh. It became an administrative part of Ladakh under Singe NamgyaI. This arrangement collapsed after Ladakh's war with Tibet. Later, he entered into a political alliance with KishtwarMirza Hyder Dughlat Singe Namgyal, grandson of the Muslim king, Ali Sher of Skardu, and son of Jamyang Namgyal, who annexed Zanskar, when he came to the throne of Ladakh in 1610. It became a part of Jammu and Kashmir when Wazir Zorawar Singh conquered Ladakh.

Its geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practised here, has enabled its inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity. Today, Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. Closer observation of the living conditions, evokes admiration for a people, who have learnt to live in perfect harmony with this unique environment. The Karsha Gompa, the Tongde Gompa that features Cham dancers with masks and the Zongkhul Gompa that does not include mask dancers, are celebrated with pomp, gaiety and splendour at different times of the year.

Climate & Geogaphical Location
Zanskar experiences drastic fluctuations in daily temperature, even during the height of summer. While the days are pretty warm, even hot at times due to the desert effect, the evenings can become quite chilly. Zanskar is in the area,lying between the two branches of the Zanskar river and is covered by the Nun and Kun peaks of the Himalayas. The Zanskar Range bounds it in the north, the main Himalayan range in the south and to the east and west are a series of high ridges that completely cut off the valley of Zanskar from the rest of the world.

How to Reach
Zanskar is well connected by rail, road and air. By air, the nearest airport to Zanskar is at Leh, which is well connected to and operates flights to Delhi, Jammu, Chandigarh and Srinagar during the season, usually from June to August. From airport bus service is available. By rail, the nearest railhead is at Jammu. One could probably get down at Jammu and then reach Zanskar by bus from Kargil. By road, Padum is linked to Kargil by a 234-kilometre-long fair-weather road, which remains open from early July to November. The Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation operates a bi-weekly bus service from Kargil.

Tourist Places :


Once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Zanskar, Padum is the present day administrative headquarters of the region. The small township clings to a hillock, and is the site of the ruins of the erstwhile palace and fort. Ancient rock carving, dating back to the 8th Century can be seen at the riverbank. There are several monasteries in and around Padum. Believed to have been founded by Kanishka (the ruler of the Kushan Dynasty) in the 2nd Century, the monastery at Saini is 6 kilometres from Padum.

Lying in the northern arm of the Zanskar Valley, Zangla, 35 km from Padum, is still ruled by a king. His castle stands sentinel over this isolated mountain community, where one can see. one of the last remaining suspension bridges - a rare feat of primitive engineering. It takes five hours to reach Zangla on horseback, and just one by jeep. The village is the take-off point for the Padum-Lamayuru and the Padum-Hemis treks.

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