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  • Writer's pictureYogesh Kardile

Silence of the Zanskar valley

Towers penetrating the sky with their sharp cliffs. Glaciers tumbling down dragging ice and boulders along with them. In a far away monastery a solitary monk lighting the ghee lamp and reading a scripture. The biting cold and spray of snowfall gives me no option but to clutch my jacket.

Drang Drung Glacier from Pensi La

There is no music but the silence here. I felt the vibrations of the mountains in the air. There's so much grandeur yet the feeling of isolation and wonder entered into me at the same time. Zanskar is not for the faint hearted. What you see on the mountaintop changes drastically until your eyes touches the valley floor. It's a land of paradox or you can say contrast.

Rangdum village

I am standing among the giants. However I try to understand it I will never come to know anything. But yes the majestic silence, rugged mountains, gigantic glaciers, pristine rivers are heavenly. While writing this blog I can still feel the cold. Zanskar is really beyond my comprehension. This is not a post to guide you how to go to Zanskar. But a post to share my experience when I was awestruck. I will share the Zanskar guide sometime in the future.

Zanskar you are something that need to be experienced again and again without coming to a conclusion. You are like a river coming from the peaks and disappearing into the faraway ocean and again showering back on mountain peaks as a snowfall. I never saw such high peaks so up close. It was like almost rubbing shoulder with them. The play from dawn to dusk was dramatic. But what filled inside me was the silence and the evening glow of the sun.

View from Pensi La view

If you really want to experience mountains you can experience in any hilly area. Because nature is always beautiful everywhere. What's so striking about Zanskar is you can't express but to experience. Go there at least once. Go with open mind and with full of winter wear of course !

Karsha monastery region from Padum

If you are looking for specific activities then you will be disappointed. Look at the mountains, glaciers, streams that will suffice. It will fill your heart with joy and tears will stream down on your cheek. The dust flyings in the environment when sheep and yaks returns creates a cinematic view when sunlight enters into it. Children and elders socialising on the streets , the warmth in the kitchen will entertain your mind and soul. You will see the human life without the pollution of the outside influences just like the good old days.

View from Stongde monastery

Monasteries parched atop the mountaintops will provide you views that you only see in the movies. absorb as much as you can so that the memory will elate your mind in the future. If you are planning to visit Zanskar I will recommend you to visit in the summer like from June to September. Greenery from Kargil to Suru valley will amaze you. But if you want to experience the autumn beauty October is the best. Last week is of course not recommended. We experienced heavy snowfall at that time.

Drang Dung glacier

Zanskar region is know by the Zanskar river and it's tributaries. It is also famous because of Chadar trek done in the winter. Till now there are very less tourists due to the remoteness. It is a part of Kargil District and Ladakh U.T. Zanskar holds many secrets from the outside world and beautiful monasteries. Ancient Buddhists paintings, scriptures are kept in various monasteries. This is very less populated region in the world. So hardly any noise you will ever heard here except Padum.

On the way to Pensi La from Padum

Regarding choosing a tour agency you need to be cautious. Hire only the experienced driver and healthy vehicle that will not breakdown on the way. Roads are manageable. So don't worry about that. Only issue is the dust on road while travelling. In 2022 it will be much better. The work is happening at rapid pace thanks to the government of India and the agency who is working here relentlessly. Regarding homestay there are few options especially in Rangdum. This is one of the best place to click pictures, meditate, eat local food, walk with the shepherds, visit monastery. But due to the height of this place acclimatisation is necessary.

The starting point is from Kargil and you can end it to Leh via Lingshed. Of course Padum is the centre place where internet and good hotels are available. Also this place is based on a flat ground stretched over miles and surrounded by high mountains. It looks even more attractive because of that.

If you are planning your Zanskar trip and need help regarding hotels / homestay / car feel free to connect with us. We can help you with the local team who can give personalised service as per your needs. one thing to understand that Zanskar is still remote and unspoilt. That means less tourists, less hotels and less fancy options. If you want to see the raw beauty. If you want to stand below the ice towers and observe glacier below you. If you want to see the purest water flowing beneath you. Then visit Zanskar.

The dark glacier and the sharp cliffs

Zanskar is the temple of nature. Visit it with pure intentions. Make friends and leave with whatever you brought here. Try to avoid anything that is packed in plastic. So that your next generation can also see this as it is.

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Stunning views and must read article... Photography is excellent

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