Trans Himalayan (Darcha Padum)
Route : Delhi - Chandigarh - Manali - Darcha - Palemo - Ramjak - Chumi Nakpo - Lakang Over Shingo La - Kargiak - Purne - Phuktal Gompa - Ichar - Mune - Padum - Karsha - Bardan - Parkha Chik (Suru Valley) - Parkha Chik - Uletkpo - Leh - Delhi
This outstanding trek, starting from Manali, via Darcha, crosses over the great Shingo La Pass (16722 ft.), into the hidden valley of Zanskar. It is a superb way of seeing this “hidden kingdom”, offering breath-taking panoramic views of the Himalaya and Zanskar ranges, amazing ancient Gompas, pure Lamaistic traditions, flora and fauna.
The Kingdom of Zanskar was founded in A.D. 930, and is the highest and still the most inaccessible valley of our planet. Two hundred miles long, the valley floor is at a staggering mean altitude of 13150 ft. and was cut by the meeting if the two rivers which flow into it, digging a canyon over 150 miles long with sheer walls giving no direct access to the valley. The only way to reach Zanskar is to travel over the high passes when the snows melt in high summer. The landscapes are open, big and sunny, often dominated by mountains of brown and grey rock. You will be charmed by the Buddhist villages, with their glistening white chortens gleaming in the high altitude sunlight, ages-old gompas and the irrigated fields, emerald oases in the barren desert and bright with geraniums, aquilegias and loosworts.
Our route is decorated with chortens, prayer wheels and fluttering coloured prayer flags carrying their messages on the wind to the four corners of the world. Via Purne we reach Phugtal monastery, one of the most spectacular sights in Zanskar, clinging to the mountainside and overlooking the village on another side of the Zanskar river. The pioneer of Tibetan studies, Kosmo de Koros also lived here during 1825/6. There is always the possibility of seeing blue sheep, stone marmots and brown bear on the trek. We will also see some Himalayan flowers like the fabled blue poppy, gentians and edelweiss.
On reaching Padum, the capital of Zanskar, we will visit Karsha – true monastic city-and Bardan. We may also meet the King of Zanskar for a brief chat and share a cup of rancid butter tea with His Highness – a truly memorable moment!!
Our waiting coach in Padum will take us on the exciting drive along the high and winding road, passing through Kargil on the border of Ladakh and Kashmir. On the way, we will visit Mulbekh and Lamayuru Gompa before arriving at the city of Leh, the capital of Ladakh.
EpiConic believes that this circular trek in this remote and unspoilt region offers everything a keen explorer or nature lover could look for.
Monks, Monasteries, Culture, High Passes, Crushing rivers, Flora & Fauna
See Full Itinerary
Arrival TimeMidnight or Late night
Dress CodeCasual, Warm and Sports Wear
Tour Itinerary : - Trans Himalayan (Darcha Padum)
Day 01 Arrive Delhi
Arrive at New Delhi International airport. After completing the immigration and customs, proceed towards the arrival hall. Meeting and assistance on arrival with a traditional welcome of garlanding and transfer to the hotel (the room being held from 1400 hrs).
Overnight in Delhi
Day 02, Delhi – Chandigarh drive 250 kms about 5 hrs
This morning after leisurely breakfast, drive to Chandigarh - India’s first planned modern city called “THE CITY BEAUTIFUL, with world-renowned architecture. The city is a rare epitome of modernization co-existing with nature's preservation. It is here that the trees and plants are as much a part of the construction plans as the buildings and the roads. The city with neatly laid out roads, parks divided into sectors was designed by French architecture Le Corbusier.
The afternoon is dedicated to the visit of this modern city includes the Capitol Complex with its elegant Secretariat building, unique double roof building, the High Court, the Legislative
Assembly crowned by a pyramid and the sweeping expanse of concrete forming the Esplanade. The famous Rock Garden, which is the work of a single man, Nek Chand Saini, consisting of ingenious formations from rock and scrap materials.
Overnight in Chandigarh
Day 03, Chandigarh-Manali 300 km about 8 hrs.
This morning, we start early as it is a long day drive through the winding roads to Manali – situated at the northern end of the Kullu Valley. The town with spectacular views of snowcapped peaks and wooden slopes is circled by beautiful glades of deodars and flowering horse chestnuts, tiny levelled fields and fruit orchards. Beas River flows along the rocky mountainous path, across the grasslands, covered with wildflowers and wagtails hop along from stone to stone by the edge of the stream. There are incredible walks as well, passing across the orchards and fairy tale deodar forests.
On arrival, check into the hotel in Manali. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Manali
Day 04, In Manali
This morning, after leisurely breakfast, we set off to explore the highlights of Manali town. We visit the Dhoongri Temple, also known as the Hadimba Temple set in tranquil surroundings. The temple is four-tiered with a pagoda-shaped roof is believed to be thousand years old, dedicated to the goddess Hadimba, wife of Bhima, the Pandava of Mahabharata(an Indian epic) fame.
Our next stop is the Vashisht Springs, located in the small village of Vashisht on the left bank of the Beas. There are Turkish styled hot water sulphur springs with shower rooms, having piped in controlled temperature water. There is a temple nearby which is dedicated to Vashista Muni is worth visiting.
The rest of the day is at leisure or you are free to walk around this town on your own.
Overnight in Manali
Day 05, Manali - Darcha about 7 hrs drive.
This morning, after early breakfast drive to Darcha(3600 mts) – located along the highway is the small village on the Bank of Bhaga River in the Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. This is a secluded permanent settlement, also described as a “lonely cluster of dry stone huts and dingy tents”. The river flowing nearby causes nature to be soft and calm.
This drive passing through Rohtang Pass (3990m), across the cedar forests and rivers in full spirit offering splendid views.
We will stop at places for Tea or even for some photography.
On arrival, we check into tents in the camping site.
Overnight in Tents at Darcha
Day 06, Darcha - Palemo about 5 hrs. trek.
This day we start our TREK – we set out after breakfast for the trek to Palemo. We leave the road head after about an hour’s walk passing through villages and fields.
We will reach Palemo by afternoon, at lunchtime. The camp at Palemo, a quiet place near a river with beautiful green meadow.
Overnight in tents at Palemo
Day 07, Palemo - Ramjak about 6 hrs trek
This morning we start after an early breakfast, the trek to Ramjak via Zanskar Sumdo. The walk is along the river at Zanskar Sumdo crossing the suspension bridge. A steep track across the river brings us to Ramjak, a small camping place.
Overnight in tents at Ramjak
Day 08, Ramjak - Chumi Nakpo about 4 hrs trek
This day we start a short trek to the base of Shingo La - Chumi Nakpo, walking over boulders and snow bridges.
Overnight in tents at Chumi Nakpo
Day 09, Chumi Nakpo - Lakang Over Shingo La - 5100 mtrs 7 hrs. trek
This morning, we have a very early departure. We set off after breakfast to start trekking towards Shingo La(5100 m).
We reach the Shingola top after 4 hrs of trekking for the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Zanskar and Himalayan range.
We start descending to Lakang, a lovely campsite on the river bank.
Overnight in tents at Lakang
Day 10, Lakang - Kargiak 6 hrs. trek.
After breakfast this morning, we will take a walk to Kargiak. The route is adorned with lots of alpine flowers including the blue moon, gentians, edelweiss, etc. We will also get to see marmots and butterflies.
During this trek, we will also encounter some indicators of the Buddhist people who live in this area - like Mani walls and stones; huge white chortens, beautiful fields and a small village.
Overnight in Tents at Kargiak
Day 11, Kargiak - Purne about 8 hrs. trek.
This day after early breakfast trek to Purne(3820 m) via Testa Village.
During the trek, we will pass through the beautiful corn and potato fields and get to meet the local women and children working there.
Late afternoon, we arrive at Purne – the village with old ruins and huge coloured chortens.
Overnight in Tents at Purne
Day 12, Purne - Phuktal Gompa - Purne about 3 hrs.
This morning after leisurely breakfast we take a walk along the river up to the majestic Phuktal Gompa which is beautifully hidden inside the rocky mountain. Kosmos de Koros who was the pioneer of Tibetan studies had lived here from 1852 to 1856.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore the area.
Overnight in Tents at Purne
Day 13, Purne - Ichar about 5 hrs trek
This morning after leisurely breakfast, we trek to Ichar, where we have a great opportunity to meet local traders with their load-packed horses coming from Padum.
On arrival at Ichar Camp, located on the River bank – we will relax.
Overnight in Tents at Ichar
Day 14, Ichar - Mune about 6 hrs
This morning after breakfast, trek to Mune(3760 mtr) – en-route visit a small local school were Buddhist children come to seek modern education. This day, we stop by for lunch near a small lake.
We reach the campsite in Mune by the afternoon.
The evening is dedicated to the visit of the Mune Gompa and see the Lamas performing the evening prayers.
Overnight in Tents at Mune
Day 15, Mune - Padum 3610 m 6 hrs. trek.
This morning, we trek to Padum - en-route visit the Bardan Monastery belonging to the ‘redhead’ sect.
During the late afternoon, we arrive at Padum - the capital of Zanskar valley. The place is dotted with huge chortens and gompas with the beautiful mountain range as the backdrop.
Overnight in a local guesthouse at Padum
Day 16, Padum-Karsha- Bardan -Padum.
This day is dedicated to exploring around Padum.
Our morning visit is to Karsha Gompa - the biggest monastery in the Zanskar valley. Enroute we stop by to visit the temporary residence of Dalai Lama and Pibeting temple. This afternoon, we visit Bardan Gompa. We drive about 02 hrs to Bardan - visit the impressive
Gompa perched on a boulder cliff above the river. The evening is free to explore the sleepy bazaar.
Overnight in a local guesthouse at Padum
Day 17 Padum to Parkha Chik (Suru Valley) – about 9 hrs
This morning after early breakfast, drive to Parkha Chik.
Late afternoon, explore Suru valley including Parkha Chik village. The view of Nun (7135 m) & Kun (7085 m) peaks near Parkha Chik village is just fabulous.
Overnight in a local guesthouse or homestay in Parkha Chik
Day 18 Parkha Chik to Uletokpo Drive via Kargil about 7 hrs
This morning, we start early for a long drive to Uletokpo(3300 m) via Kargil. En route, visit the giant rock Buddha statue at Mulbek and Lamayuru monastery, the present building standing above the oasis of the village, is a later construction. The first monastery was built at the end of the 10th century and the ruins can still be seen lying deep down below the village. The building is well maintained and in the main hall are statues of five transcendental Buddhas with Vairocana in the centre. The sight of the landscape around Lamayuru village looks like a moon formation.
Overnight in fixed camp at Uletokpo
Day 19 Uletkpo to Leh - drive back
This morning after breakfast visit the isolated and solitary Rizong monastery and the Nunnery. After the visit, continue the drive to Leh about 2-3 hrs en-route visit Alchi Choskor (Religious Enclave). A great monk and translator Lotsava Rinchen Zansgpo built this 1000-year-old gompa (monastery). The gompa is famous for rare fresco paintings and Kashmiri-style wood carvings.
And the huge open Buddha statue at Likir monastery – the monastery is the biggest in Sham valley (Lower Ladakh).
Overnight in Leh
Day 20 Leh- Excursion through the Indus Valley
This morning after breakfast, we set out to see some of the monasteries and palaces in the Indus Valley.
Our first stop is at the imposing Stok Palace, which was built in the mid 19th century after the King was dethroned by the Dogra forces and forced to vacate the Leh Palace. We will visit the Palace Museum.
After this, we proceed to Shey Palace - the summer palace of the erstwhile Raja of Leh. Set upon a hill, and housing the largest golden topped victory stupa, the monastery has a two-storey statue of the sitting Buddha wrought with copper and gold of breathtaking grandeur. Many chortens can be seen in front of the building.
Thiksey Gompa Monastery, which is our next stop, resembles Potala Palace of Lhasa and has the most imposing structure providing a panoramic view of the green Indus Valley from its vantage point atop a hill. There are several chambers which are full of several sacred thankhas, stupas and statues. 60 lamas live here and the library is among the biggest of Ladakh.
The day ends with our visit to the Hemis Gompa, built in the 17th century by King Singge Namgyal and ever since has enjoyed the patronage of the royal family. This monastery has some statues of gold and stupas which are decorated with precious stones. It also has an incredible collection of thankhas which also include one thankha, considered to be the largest to exist and is exhibited once in every 12 years.
Overnight in Leh
Day 21 Leh – Delhi - Flight
This morning you will be transferred to Leh airport to board the flight over the Himalayas – a real farewell to the memorable trip of Trans Himalayan Darcha Padum Trek.
On arrival at Delhi airport, meeting on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel (room available from 1400 hrs).
This day is to relax or have the option to explore Delhi – the capital of India.
Day 22, Depart Delhi
Today you will be transferred to the airport in Delhi to board the international flight back home.
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01 paying person in a Single Room
02 paying persons in a Double Room