Day 18 to 23: Kargil to Zanskar & Suru Valley

Karsha monastery, Kargil to Zanskar Valley

Drive from Kargil to Zanskar Valley

Kargil is also known as the Gateway to Zanskar Valley. This trip from Kargil to Zanskar involves a 247km drive on an unmetaled road with a reasonable surface, from Kargil to Padum, the administrative headquarters of this sparsely populated region. The journey is best broken with a stop at Rangdum on the outward journey even though the accommodation is not great. Before planning your trip you need to ascertain the status of the Pensi La pass- this normally opens in the second half of June. Allow a minimum of five to six days for this region that can be accessed by road for only four months of the year.

Zanskar is surrounded by high mountains, deep gorges and dramatic glaciers. Be assured if you make the journey to this isolated valley that you will be rewarded with natural beauty on an even grander scale than you have been exposed to in the Leh regions. There are numerous magnificent gompas and a mix of Buddhist and Muslim population that lives in perfect harmony with its austere environment. Heavy snows close in the region for almost eight months of the year and this isolation has helped preserve this microcosm of Ladakh.

The Mulbek and suru valleys are popular trekking destinations nearby, offering breathtaking views. These are fertile regions, with fruit orchards and poplar and willow trees creating a greener, softer landscape than Ladakh is known for. Mulbek (45 kms from Kargil) has two gompas, one belonging to the Druk-pa and the other to the Geluk-pa sect. Also here is a 9-m tall Maitreya Buddha carved in relief on a single rock. Popularly known as the Chamba statue, this carving has been dated to between the 2nd and 8th centuries AD. Nearby, there are ancient edicts inscribed on the mountain in Kharoshti script. Those interested in more recent history could drive west to Drass and visit sites of the 1999 conflict, such as Tiger Hill, which the Indian army recaptured from Pakistani forces.

Read More: Zanskar Valley : An Introduction

Kargil to Zanskar Distances

The total distance between Kargil to Zanskar is approx 247km which we have divivied into two parts and can be done in two days with a stay at Rangdum for the first night.

Destination
Distance
Kargil to Panikhar
65 km
Panikhar to Rangdum
62 km
Rangdum to Pensi La
26 km
Pensi La to Padum
78 km
Padum to Karsha
11 km
Padum to Zanskar
18 km

Kargil to Zanskar Map

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Day 18 to 23: Kargil to Zanskar & Suru Valley
Kargil is also known as the Gateway to Zanskar Valley. This trip from Kargil to Zanskar involves a 247km drive across Rangdum, Pensi La and Padum.
Leh Ladakh Travel Guides

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