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Lamayuru Darcha Trek

Duration : 15 Nights / 16 Days Region: Lahaul, Zanskar, Ladakh,

Grade: Moderate to strenuous

Maximum Elevation: Shingo - la (5090mt.), Best Season: Mid June to September end

Over view:
After exploring leh and surroundings, highlight of the trip will be experience the unique culture of some of the remote villages and monasteries of Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahul. Cross over high passes of Zanskar and Trans Himalayan ranges. Your trip starts at Lamayuru, this historic place where once the great saint Naropa meditate in 11th ce. You will be hiking through remote villages and get ino the Padum the capital of Zanskar, your trek will end at Darcha a small village on Leh Manali highway, and from here you will drive to Manali which will take about 6 to 7 hrs.

Day 01: Arrv Leh
A thrilling early morning flight to Leh. The crisp air of Leh when you disembark from the aero plane welcomes you to this unpolluted Himalayan destination. You will be welcomed and escorted to our hotel where room has been booked for your ready occupancy. A little briefing on the day’s program and a breakfast, you are advised to rest for the first half of the day. After lunch we will go for an easy and relaxed orientation drive of Leh market.
Overnight in the hotel

Day 02: Excursion to Shey, Thiksey, Hemis
Today we proceed for Indus Valley monastery tour. We start with a visit to Shey the ancient capital of Ladakh. The monastery here has a huge gold-gilded statue of Buddha Sakyamuni with a large silver lamp burning in front of the statue.

Then we visit Thiksey Gompa an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village. The monastery has a beautiful 30 m high gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future. Drive further to visit the famous Hemis Gompa founded in 1630's by Stag-tsang-ras-pa under the royal patronage of Sengge Namgyal. Hemis is one of the largest and richest gompa of Ladakh. The two-day festival of monastic dance in June-July has raised the reputation of Hemis particularly high. The festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as second Buddha and responsible for spreading Buddhism in the Tibetan world.
Later in the evening we drive back to hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Leh

Day 03: Leh – Lamayuru (3-4hrs drive)
We leave Leh in the morning for Lamayuru. Along the way, we come across some of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Ladakh, founded around 11th century by Lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo. Lamayuru, Likir and Alchi are truly worth visiting for their age and historicity. After reaching Lamayuru (3420m) we will visit the monastery and then drive to Wanla village.
Overnight in camp

Day 04: Wanla – Hanupatta (6 hrs)

An easy walk towards Phanjila (3410m) will lead us to a beautiful valley. From here we descend a pass beyond which the valley starts to narrow, with mountains towering above our heads and the Zanskar River making its way deep down in the gorge. In this barren, harsh landscape, beautiful rosebushes give your senses an unforgettable experience. We camp close to the river, just after the village of Hanupatta (3760m), where we have a great view down the valley.

Day 05: Hanupatta – Sir Sir La 4850m - Photoskar (6 - 7 hrs)
We follow the river and the wide valley up for some time before we cross the river and start the long and gradual ascent to Sir Sir La (4850m). From the top of the pass we can get panoramic views of the main Zanskar range as well as our next pass, the Singge La (5090m). It is another 2 – 2 ½ hrs of walk down to the village of Photoskar (4200m), situated in the cliffs of mountains virtually piercing the sky and surrounded by green fields. The trail towards Sumdo disappears in the deep gorge down to the right of the village. We spend the night close to the village and enjoy a well-deserved rest. Day 06: Photoskar – Singge La 5090m – Foot of Singge La (7- 8 hours)
After crossing the small pass of Bumiktse La (4200) this morning, we enter the broad and lush Photang valley. A gentle trail leads us through this beautiful landscape, where villagers graze their yak/dzo and horses. One of the most fascinating things about the Zanskar trek is the ever-changing landscape. Every time you turn a corner, or cross a pass, a new world appears in front of you. Passing through the deepest of gorges and meandering through the greenest of fields, the majestic Zanskar River assumes a fascinating form and life of its own. With colors and shadows changing with the sun, one never gets bored!

Slowly we ascent towards Sengge La, or the “Lion Pass”. The last few meters are steep, but will give us an incredibly rewarding view on the top. From the pass it is an easy walk down to our campsite.

Day 07: Foot of Singge La – Lingshad (5 hours)
We follow the trail high above the Zanskar River; the mountains take a greener and gentler formation, before we descend from Kiupa La (4400 m) down the steep zigzag trail to the villages of Gongma (3840m) and Skiumpata. From here we climb up a gentle trail to the Margum La (4400m), from where we can see Lingshad an hour or so away. The campsite in Lingshad is just by the monastery belonging to the Gelugpa order and housing around 60 monks. The village itself is spread out over a big area, enclosed in green fields of barley.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 08: Lingshad –Snertse via Hanuma La 4950 m (8 hours)
A long day, we walk through the green fields of Lingshad early in the morning. It takes some ups and downs before we reach the base of the Hanuma La, from where we start climbing the many steep zigzags that lead to the top of the pass. The walk down is gentle before we enter a rocky, spectacular gorge and soon the valley flattens out, the trail following a lush riverbed with rosebushes. Just above the campsite of Snertse, there is a herders’ camp, and sometimes fresh cheese, milk and curd is available here.

Down in the riverbed it is possible to go hunting for fossils. The locals sometimes show nice collections of their findings. When the Indian plate slammed into the stationary mass of Asia some 50 million years ago, the Great Himalayas were formed from the base material of the Indian plate. The Zanskar range consists of layers of sediments from the ocean floor and the Ladakh range is granite born out of the immense heat generated by the friction between the two plates.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 09: Snertse – Hanumil via Purfi La 3950 m (5 hours)
Today we head for another pass: Parfi La. A short walk after Snertse, there is a wonderful lookout from where we can see the pass and, down the valley, the Oma Chu River. We follow the trail 500m down the valley, cross the bridge and start on the juniper covered zigzag trail up to Parfi La. Red alert! If fortune strikes, we may come across a rare species of the Himalayan region: the majestic brown bear. We may also see herds of attractive Himalayan blue sheep. Here we walk down to the banks of the Zanskar River and follow it all the way to the village of Hanumil (3380 m), where we will camp for the night.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 10: Hanumil – Pishu (4-5 hours)
We will start with an easy walk on plain and barren land along the Zanskar River and follow it all the way to Pishu (3470 m), passing Pidmo (3420m), an exotic landlocked hamlet of 8-9 families leading a simple traditional life. Pishu is located on the west side of the Zanskar River and opposite of Zangla (formerly a tiny kingdom). Here we will come across a 55m hanging bridge, the longest on Zanskar River. Our day will end at a lush green campsite with a spring situated nearby where we can quench our thirst.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 11: Pishu – Karsha (4-5 hours)
After a hearty breakfast we will begin our day with another effortless stride towards our next destination. From Pishu the trail ascends gradually to Rinam (3550 m.) along the bank of the Great Zanskar River. We will have a view of the stunning monastery of Tongde. Once reaching Karsha (3600 m), we can reinvigorate ourselves at the bank of Zanskar River.

Karsha monastery: Karsha monastery is one of largest monasteries of Gelukpa sect, located on a hillside with an imposing view of the entire valley. Believed to have been founded around 10th century A.D, a visit to the monastery to get its blessing is recommended
Overnight stay at camp

Day 12: Karsha – Padum 3531 m (2hrs)
we will follow the route to Pipiting village on the dusty road from Karsha. Padum is the major hub of activities of the entire valley. The villagers gather here on every auspicious occasion. It is also a place to purchase our food supply for the remaining trekking days. The day can be used for sightseeing the famous Sani Gompa, located at a distance of 4 hours both ways. The Kanika Chorten, the oldest Stupa in the entire Ladakh region (dating from the first century BC) stands in the courtyard of Sani Gompa, belonging to Drukpa Kagyud sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Or simply stroll around the village or visit the nearby monasteries of Pipiting and Stakrimo.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 13: Padum – Mune (6 hrs)
From Padum we continue along a dusty Jeep track. En route, we’ll come across Shila and Bardhan villages. Bardhan is known for its valley monastery (3620m), which is closely associated with the Drukpa order of Hemis monastery. It is also famous for its huge and beautifully engraved (mantras) prayer wheels. From Bardhan it will take another 2-½ hrs (approx.) along the Tsarap River before we turn off to the Kangla, and mount to a plateau and the village of Mune (3900 m).
Overnight stay at camp

Day 14: Mune- Ichar 3650m (5-6 hrs)
People consider the day ahead from Raru (3850m) onwards a bit tough. Till Raru, the dusty road trip is quite easy and relaxing. After crossing the main tributary beyond Raru, there is a short walk before a gradual descent to the main valley. Thereafter the trail begins alongside the river leading to Ichar village (3650 m), where we will camp for the night, near a dike.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 15: Ichar-Purne (5-6 hrs)
From Ichar the trail is sometimes quite tricky for the horses, but it’s really thrilling to be in the magnificent gorge. En route there are many climbs and falls as we cross some small side rivers leading to Surle and Cha village. From Cha, walking along the river amidst greenery till the crossing of the bridge with the mystical tune of flowing rivulet drives the exhaustion away. We will camp at Purne village (3700 m).
Overnight stay at camp

Day 16: Purne- Phuktal - Purne (4 hrs) side trip
The trail to Phuktal (3850 m) follows the right bank of the Tsarap River and enters splendid gorges for sometime before reaching a makeshift bridge. After a short walk we will come across a small plateau with sprinklings of chortens and prayer flags. Here we’ll have an amazing view of Phuktal monastery, one of the most fabulous sights in the Zanskar valley. The sight of the monastery leaves a lasting impression due to its unique creation. It is on a limestone cliff, with the main assembly hall carved out of a huge cave and the monks’ residences scattered down the hillside. The spring that gurgles deep in the cave is still out of bounds for women. Inside the monastery there is an inscription of Cosma de Koros (the Hungarian historian, 1825-26), one of the first Europeans to visit the Zanskar region. After visiting the monastery, we’ll come back to Purne for an overnight of rest.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 17: Purne- Tabley (6 hrs)
Now it’s time for us to start a fresh venture with the crossing of the bridge in the gorge. Before the steep ascent to the huge fertile plateau of Tetha village (3980), we keep to the trail along the right bank of the river. An excellent path with a minor climb and descent marked by a progression of well-maintained stupas of the village of Kuru (3990), a major centre for livestock breeding. After Kuru the trail descends back to the right side of the riverbank toward the village of Tanze (3850m). From Tanze, it’s an easy short walk to the route that joins up with hiking tours Darcha-Padum by the Baralacha & Phirtse la.
Overnight stay at campvv Day 18: Tabley – Lakung (7-8 hrs)
The trail from Table gradually ascends to the village of Kargyak (4050m) on the left bank, the highest permanent settlement in the Zanskar region. We climb up easily towards a majestic rock tower known as Gompa Rangjung. After passing the awesome rock-face, there are plenty of passages to the upper reaches of the Kargyak River. The path then heads to the beautiful yak grazing pastureland known as Lakung (4470 m). This is one of the most rewarding places for encampment.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 19: Lakung – Ramjak 4290m (6-7 hrs)
Today, we’ll have good breakfast to generate extra energy to meet the challenge of Shingo pass (5090m). Though not tough by Himalayan standards, it is a trying one and can be accomplished in a couple of hours. The gradual ascent leads to the top of the pass. The view can leave us aghast with its panoramic scenery, a backdrop of 6000mtr snow-capped peaks defining both the main Himalayas and the Baralacha Range. A series of prayer- flags mark the Shingo la.

The descent path is easy and well trodden. It starts with a small steep route leading to a slope to the right side of the valley; passes shepherds' huts at Chumik (4640m) and a further descend leads to the meadowland campsite of Rumjak (4290 m).
Overnight stay at camp

Day 20: Rumjak – Pallamo (5 hrs)
We continue on the right bank of the river, where the descent is rather gradual until the last section of the Zanskar Sumdo (3860m). Before reaching Zanskar Sumdo, the path is easy; but we need to be alert of the steepness. After a steep descent at the intersection, we cross the river on a manned pulley bridge. Further on, the trail runs along the far bank towards boulder fields until Pallamo. There, we will camp for the last night of our trekking, ending our thrilling adventure on prepossessing greenery.
Overnight stay at camp

Day 21: Pallamo-Darcha-Manali Drive (6 hours)
Adieus to the trek crew, we will drive past Lahaul into Pine forested Kullu valley to Manali over Rohtang pass. Shower and enjoy the evening.
Overnight sat at camp
Day 22: Depart Manali.
On time departure transfer to Manali bus stop board Volvo to Delhi / Chandigarh

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