The hidden kingdom of the hill resort of Zanskar is famous for its snow-white high hills and gorgeous Gompas or monasteries. The lovely and spectacular landscapes and the Buddhist culture heavily influencing the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Zanskar Valley instantly mesmerize one. The word 'Zanskar' literally means the Copper Star and it is so named because the various rivers flowing into Zanskar carry copper sediments. Situated across the Suru Valley and over the Pensi La in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, Zanskar is situated 235 km from Kargil. The high altitudes of the Zanskar valley make it inaccessible in winters due to the extremely harsh weather conditions and the water of the River Zanskar freezes to become the Chador road. However, one can visit the area in the summers.
One of the isolated and scantily inhabited Himalayan Valleys, Zanskar
not only boasts of snow-covered peaks and two small alpine lakes
but also the most breathtaking views of the Drang-Drung glacier.
Panikhar situated at the border of the Suru Valley is a
must-see, where the fort of Zorawar Singh is a major tourist
attraction. The Penzella Pass divides the Zanskar valley from
the Suru Valley and is an excellent camping site as it is a
vintage point offering excellent views of the majestic mountains and the
captivating countryside. Karsha is a typical human settlement
with just the basic facilities and the Gelugpa monastery, which
is a telltale of the importance of the religion in the lives of the
inhabitants of Zanskar. The mural art displayed at Labrang is
not to be missed too. Though the mountains seem isolated but there are
several places associated with the Tibetan Buddhists here that
are worth exploring. It is a place for the adventure enthusiasts who can
opt for river rafting from Serchu to Nyimu via Padam or trek
along to Panikhar or Rangdum over the Pentse La, into the
Zanskar Valley from Lamayuru, Leh or Darcha, from Padum to the
Markha valley and so many others. However, the climatic
conditions must be kept in mind while choosing the trek.
Zanskar is well known for its snow-white hills and magnificent monasteries.