Zanskar valley lies to the south west of Leh, surrounded
by the Himalayan and Zangskar ranges, which is the most
isolated of all the trans- Himalayan valleys.
Zangskar comprises of two main valleys of Stod (Doda chu)
and Lunak (Tsarab chu), which converge below at Padum. The
valley has an area of about 5,000 sqr. Kms. and an
elevation of 13,154 ft. The area remains inaccessible for
nearly 7 months in the year. All the high passes are close
in the winter and the river freeze on the surface.
Zanskaris walk along the frozen river to reach the IndusRiver in Nimoo village, which is
known as the Chadar trek.
The route from Kargil to Padum via Penzi La is the only motorable
road to reach Zangskar valley, which remains open from June
The Kargil to Padum Road was completed in the late 70ís. Even
today this road is not mettaled and has been neglected.
BROhas start construction of
road from Nimoo to Padum, which would be the shortest route
Padum is around 464 Kms. from Leh and 234 Kms. away from
Kargil. Once the Capital of the Zangskar valley, today it
is the administrative headquarter of the region and
probably the most populous settlement of Zanskar. There is
a small market along the main road with hotels,
restaurants and many shops. The town has a newly
contructed Mosque and Muslim community. Stakrimo Gompa is
on a hill side and the 10th century monument carved on a
huge rock near the river bank, provides epigraphic
evidence that the region was influnced by Budddhism since
Zanskar has lot
of beautiful Buddist monasteries like Zongkhul, Bardan,
Stongde, Karsha, Phuktal and Sunni Palace and most of
monasteries and be visited in a day or two by Jeep from
Padum is the head
quarter of Zanskar Valley and it provides Hotels, Guest
Houses and couple of restaurants. Jeep is available for
the sight seeing of nearby monasteries.