Zanskar Valley

The Zanskar Valley is noted for its high ranges, fine gompas and gentle people. The most isolated of all Himalayan valleys, inaccessible for 8 months in a year, it is now a popular destination with trekkers. Set in a wide plain where two swift flowing tributaries join to form the Zanskar River, is Padum the main habitation and the subdivisional headquarters. Close to the town are a set of ancient rock carvings and two picturesque monasteries, the Stagrimo and Pibiting gompas. A two hour trek from Padum takes one to Karsha with the largest and most wealthy gompa in the region. It dates back to the 16th century. Other interesting monasteries include the castle - like gompa at Sani (6 km from Padum) , the splendid Stongdey (18km) perched on a rocky outcrop, Bardan (12 km) and the spectacularly located Phugtal just off the Padum-Manali trail.