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Manali Lamayuru Trek Via Padum

Day 1: Darcha - Palamo - 5 hours

Having arrived from Manali the previous day we start our trek from Darcha and walk westwards towards our campsite at 3700m. The trail goes steadily along barren hillsides towards Palamo.

Day 2: Palamo - Zanskar Sumdo - 5 hours

Today's walk is a steady walk and not much steep climbing is required. The path is strewn with small boulders and rocks but is well defined. After crossing a river we reach our next halt the campsite at 3900m.

Day 3: Zanskar Sumdo - Chumik Nakpo - 5 hours

Today's walk is steep initially but later tapers off to a steady incline. Our campsite is reached by early evening at 4500m.

Day 4: Chumik Nakpo - Shingo la - Lakhang - 7 hours

A long tiring day but well worth the effort. The steep climb is on scree and moraine as we reach the top of the Shingo La pass at 5100m. Prayer flags flutter wildly in the wind as we get awesome views of the Zanskar valley spread out before you. While descending we encounter a short walk across a glacier as we reach our next campsite at Lakhang at 4400m.

Day 5: Lakhang - Kargyak - 5 hours

Today's walk along the Zanskar valley is breathtaking and easy. Enroute we pass the famous landmark of Mount Gumbarajon to Kargyak the first village of the Zanskar region.

Day 6: Kargyak - Zamthang - 6 hours

The walk through Zanskar is quite refreshing as we encounter a different culture and friendly people tending their cattle. We reach our campsite at 3400 m by evening.

Day 7: Zamthang - Phuktal - Zamthang - 5 hours

Today we leave the man trail and head east towards the mysterious cave monastery of Phuktal. The trail leads over a hillside towards barren mountains and the crossing of a suspension rope bridge is involved. The sudden appearance of this ancient monastery is breathtaking. The monastery itself is housed within a cave in a barren mountain. Return to camp by evening.

Day 8: Zamthang - Bipul - 4 hours

An easy day of walking through typical Zanskar landscape while the Tsarap chu flows alongside. Camp at Bipul 3650m.

Day 9: Bipul - Baruk - 4 hours

Today's walk involves a steep incline. While this may leave you tired there is a gentle descent on the other side. Camp near a mountain lake at 3680m.

Day 10: Baruk - Padum - 5 hours

Today we walk towards the famous Bardan Gompa. As we continue our walk towards Padum the valley floor gets a bit more fertile with barley fields appearing and we put up camp at 3500m.

Day 11: Padum

Leisurely day at Padum experiencing the Zanskari way of life and see how the local people are trying to cope with modern civilization.

Day 12: Padum - Karsha - 4 hours

The trail leaves Padum through a dusty plain and goes towards the River Doda. After we cross a bridge we begin our climb towards the ancient Karsha Gompa. This exquisite 500 year old Buddhist monastery stands precariously perched above the village at 3700m.

Day 13: Karsha - Pishu - 5 hours

It's almost a level walk along the Zanskar River. All along the landscape offers you a glimpse of some of the most unusual colours you've ever seen ranging from rust to vermilion and gold to yellow. Before reaching our camp we also get to see the longest suspension bridge in Zanskar. Camp at 3700m.

Day 14: Pishu - Hanumill - 5 hours

Today's walk takes us on a large moraine strewn plateau along the left bank of the River Zanskar. Crossing the bridge just before the Pidmo village, we have to walk another couple of hours before reaching our camp at Hanumill 3700m.

Day 15: Hanumil - Snertse - 7 hours

The trail goes along the riverbanks as we approach the ascent to the 4000m high Parfi La pass. From here the descent leads us to a bridge before the small temporary settlement of Snertse. A gentle ascent takes us to our campsite at 3700m.

Day 16: Snetse - Lingshed - 7 hours

Another interesting day and another pass to be crossed. The trail is steep as we ascend towards the Hanuma La 4877m high. From this wind swept pass we get extensive views of the northern Zanskar Mountains. The descent leads into the tiny village of Lingshed and we camp near the village monastery at 4000m.

Day 17: Lingshed - Singe La Pass base - 7 hours

The day starts off with a steep ascent to a small pass over the mountain. Crossing this pass we continue climbing steadily towards the 5060 m high Singe La pass. The landscape is awesome as we go on through the small Gongma and Skiumpata villages and ascend the trail towards the 4350m hiih Kiupa La Pass. Crossing this the ascent continues towards the higher Singe La at 5060m. Camp is set up at its base in a small meadow at 4300m.

Day 18: Singe La Base - Photoksar - 7 hours

It takes a couple of hours of steep climbing before we reach the saddle of the Singe La. A short descent later the trail again begins to climb steeply towards the higher Bhumikste La. Stop awhile here to take in some of the most breathtaking views on this trek. The descent takes us to the picturesque Photksar village at 4000m. Camp near the village.

Day 19: Photoksar - Hanupatta - 6 hours

Leaving camp early we climb towards a large Chorten from where the ascent to our next pass - the Sirsir La (5000m) continues. The landscape remains distracting as always presenting us with the many facets of an unusual hi-altitude desert. After crossing the Sirsir La our descent takes us over a river to a small meadow near the Hanupatta village where we set up camp.

Day 20: Hanupatta - Wanla - 5 hours

Today's trek involves going through some of the spectacular gorges Zanskar is known for. Passing these we reach the village of Phenj ja from where the next village of Wanla at 3800m is just a little further. Reaching in time to visit the famous Wanla monastery we camp near the village.

Day 21: Wanla - Lamayuru Monastery - 3-4 hours

The trail goes along the Shilakong river and after crossing a bridge we reach the small village of Shilla. Today we cross our final pass on this trek the Prikiti La at 3950m. Descending down to the riverbanks we then begin our ascent to the dramatic Lamayuru Monastery sitting comfortably on a rocky outcrop over the river. The Lamayuru monastery is the oldest monastery in Ladakh and contains an extensive library of Buddhist scriptures. From here Leh is a mere 147 Kms and we travel there by a Jeep.