Zanskar is one of the ancient Buddhist Kingdoms located in the sub-district of Kargil district, of Ladakh. Zanskar valley is located in the interiors of the Ladakh region and is often flocked by biking enthusiasts for rides on wide roads set amidst vast landscapes. Apart from the bikers, regular tourists also love to travel here mainly for its natural beauty and monasteries. This valley is an unexplored place, that one would love to admire for the presence of high mountains, raw landscape and magnificent rivers. Zanskar has over the years become a perfect holiday destination for adventure junkies.
The best time to visit Zanskar valley is between July to August as the weather during this time is quite pleasant. The weather is clear and apt to explore and roam around in these months. Visiting the place in other months and especially between December and February is not a good idea because the valley receives heavy snowfall and at times the roads get blocked due to the accumulation of snow or severe climatic conditions.
History of Zanskar Valley
The valley is located at 7700 meters above the sea level and covers an area of about 7000 square kilometres. The oldest monuments present in and around the valley belong to the Kushan dynasty. The people of this dynasty were the followers of Buddhism; historians even claim that during the 8th century, Buddhism was at its peak in these regions. By the end of the 11th century, Zanskar had two monasteries out of which one was known as Phugtal while the other was known as Karsha.
Later in the 15th-century, it came under Ladakh. During and also after India’s independence, conflicts regarding the borders among India, Pakistan and China kept making headlines time and again. Amid this tensed scenario, Ladakh lost a major portion of its area to Pakistan and China.
Today, Zanskar valley is a popular tourist destination in the newly formed Union Territory Ladakh. People from all over the country arrive here to enjoy camping, trekking and other adventure sports. Apart from adventure enthusiasts, Buddhist followers, monks, and tourists in general also visit Zanskar to experience its pollution-free environment and its unexplored beauty.
Major Attractions in and Around Zanskar Valley
1. Nimu Village
Nimu is a beautiful small village that is located at a distance of approximately 45 km from Leh. One of the major attractions of this place is that it creates a mystic scenery with the confluence of River Indus and Zanskar. Tourists often sit here for hours to gaze at this beautiful union and feel the divine calm in the environment.
2. Drang Drung Glacier
Drang Drung is the largest glacier in Ladakh and is accessible by a road that lets you enjoy the spectacular sights covered with snow. The best time to visit this glacier is between June and August.
3. Phuktal Monastery
One has to travel on foot to reach the Phuktal monastery. The journey to the monastery is fun and refreshing because you get to witness the surreal views of the valley on the way.
The trekking lovers will love this beautiful place named Zangla. It is the major trek place that lets you explore your trekking mania.
5. Pensi La Pass
The pass has nature in abundance and it separates Zanskar valley and Suru valley. The pass is prominently known for being a campsite for trekkers. What makes this pass beautiful is flowing rivers and glaciers on both sides of the pass.
Zanskar is a heaven for tourists and specifically for the adventure seekers. Not just Zanskar, the entire Ladakh is identified as a heavenly place for adventure enthusiasts. Tourists often visit Zanskar to enjoy trekking in its raw and natural ambience.
How to Reach Zanskar Valley
Zanskar Valley is a very beautiful masterpiece of nature’s flawlessness situated in Ladakh. To reach here and witness the stunning views, you will need to cover a total distance of about 805, 2.081, 2,155, 2,828 km from major metropolitans like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Here are the following details on how you can reach Zanskar Valley.
Deboard at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh. After reaching the airport, you can take the regular local buses that will take you to the Zanskar Valley. Direct and connecting flights from all over India arrive at this airport, hence one will not find it difficult to find flights or make reservations.
From Pune - Board IndiGo, Vistara, Spicejet airlines from Pune Airport. The airfares will cost you between INR 5,000 - INR 12,000
From Chandigarh - Board Air India, Vistara, Spicejet flights from Chandigarh Airport. The air ticket pricing will cost you between INR 5,000 - INR 10,000
From Guwahati - Board Spicejet, IndiGo, Vistara flights from Guwahati Airport. The air travel will cost you between INR 5,000 - INR 10,000
You can consider deboarding at either Jammu Tawi or Udhampur Railway Station situated at an approximate distance of 700 -800 km from the valley respectively. From there, depending upon your budget and comfort, you can take a local/private bus or taxi to reach your desired location in Zanskar Valley. The Jammu Tawi train station receives trains from all major cities and states of India. For instance, from Delhi, board NDLS JAT SPL from New Delhi and deboard at Jammu Tawi.
It is best to reach the Zanskar Valley from Kargil. The distance between Kargil and Zanskar Valley is almost 250 kilometres. So, you can first reach Kargil and hire any SUV to reach Zanskar Valley. Biking enthusiasts from all parts of the country go on road trips to several tourist spots in Ladakh and Zanskar is one such spot.