The mythical trek that has made the reputation of this Himalayan region as the Great Zanskar Traverse or Grande Traversee du Zanskar (GTZ), from North to South for better acclimatization.
The great traverse of Zanskar is among the most outstanding trekking. Cut off from the world more than 8 months of the year by the snow, the Zanskar is one of those mythical lands whose visit is deserved. Between India and Tibet, this ancient Himalayan kingdom has long been isolated from the rest of the world, surrounded by the high peaks of the Great Himalayan barrier. The opening up of the region is on the agenda, and the roads progress gradually in the valleys. Time is running out and it’s time to enjoy this beautiful trek before it’s too late! The Zanskar is today a region that remained authentic, punctuated with small traditional villages, rich in their Buddhist culture, omnipresent in this part of the world. Monasteries perched on eagle’s nests, swinging rope bridges, women in “Perak” covered with turquoises … You follow this mythical route, with steps studied for good acclimatization to the altitude, and a transfer in the vehicle to avoid the dusty trail that now runs through the Padum Valley. The famous village of Lamayuru is on the program, as well as the iconic monastery of Phuktal, a grand monastery adjoining its cliff … The great traverse of Zanskar is also a sporting route.
17 days of walking and 6 mountain passes to cross in the heart of spectacular landscapes, The trek is divided into two parts. The first, which goes from Kanji to Padum, is rather sporty with numerous passes, which is enough to give you some muscle pain. That’s what pain is love. The second part, from Padum / Raru to Sarchu, is quite relaxed to the muscle until making the final crossing of Surichan La (5660 m).
The Great Zanskar traverse has long been the reference trek of the Indian Himalayas by its commitment, its difficulty, and the incredibly isolated areas by which it travels. On the topographic maps as in the imagination of adventurers, the Zanskar remains an authentic end of the world.
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi.
Day 2: Delhi – Leh (3600m)
Day 3: Indus valley tour: Visit Thiksey (3330m) – Hemis (3700m) – Matho (3590m) – Stok (3600m)
Day 4: Drive Leh (3600m) – Alchi (3100m) – Lamayuru (3600m) – Fotu La (4100m) – Kanji (3850m), 7-8 Hrs
Day 5: Trek Kanji Dok (4100m) – Yogma La (4720m) – Shilakong (4600m), 7 Hrs
Day 6: Trek Nigutse La (5110m) – Spangthang / Urtsi Dok (4500m), 6 Hrs
Day 7: Trek Sirsir La (4800m) – Photoksar (4150m), 6-7 Hrs
Day 8: Trek Boumitse La (4400m) – base of Singey La / Sengge La (4350m), 6 Hrs
Day 9: Trek Sengge La (4940m) – Skiumpata (4100m), 6-7 Hrs
Day 10: Trek Lingshed (3900m) – Lanang / Hanuma La base (4000m), 6-7 Hrs
Day 11: Trek Hanuma La (4800m) – Snertse (3800m) – Zingchen (3370m), 7-8 Hrs
Day 12: Trek Parfi La (3910m) – Hanamur (3410m), 5 Hrs
Day 13: Trek Pidmo (3430m) – Pishu (3450m), 6 Hrs
Day 14: Drive to visit Zangla (3650m) – Stongde (3800m) – Karsha (3750m) – Padum (3600m) – Bardan – Raru (3800m)
Day 15: Trek Ichar – Tsethang / Anmo (4000m), 6-7 hrs.
Day 16: Trek Anmo – Cha (3900m) – Phuktal 3900m) – Purne (3800m), 7-8 hrs
Day 17: Trek Yal – Testa – Tangze (4000m) – Table – Sking (4100m) 6 hrs
Day 18: Trek Kurgiakh (4150m) – Surichan La base (5000m), 5-6 hrs
Day 19: Trek Surichan La (5660m) – Chumik Marpo (4650m),7-8 hrs
Day 20: Trek Berga Spangchen / Manichen (4400m), 6 hrs
Day 21: Trek Sarchu (4200m) 4-5 Hrs, Drive to Taglang La – Leh, 6- 7 Hrs.
Day 22: Leh
Day 23: Morning flight to Delhi, Evening flight back to home.
Option Ending at Manali
Day 21: Trek Sarchu (4200m) 4-5 hrs, Drive Baralacha la (4890m) – Keylong (3080m) – Rohtang La (3980m) – Manali (2050m), 8-9 hrs
Day 22: Manali
Day 23: Manali – Chandigarh – Delhi. Overnight bus to Delhi or by private car to Delhi. 14-15 Hrs through Punjab plains.
Day 24: Flight back home
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi.
Day 2: Arrive Leh (3600m) by morning flight from Delhi, rest, relax and acclimatize.
Arrival in Leh, check-in the hotel – Acclimatize Late afternoon visit Leh Palace, Tsemo Gompa, Shanti Stupa and explore a local bazaar.
Today morning arrive Leh from Delhi by flight. Airport pickup and check into the hotel. Rest and relax at the hotel and acclimatize to the altitude of 3500m as well as visit Leh bazaar. visit the Royal Palace of Leh from the 16th century. Continue to Tsemo Gompa and finally end with the visit to Shanti Stupa. Overnight in hotel.
Day 3: Indus valley tour: Visit Thiksey (3330m) – Hemis (3700m) – Matho (3590m) – Stok (3600m).
After breakfast, we drive to visit Shey first, then Thiksey. Thiksey monastery, which is 27 km from Hemis. This monastery is the oldest monastery of Gelugpa School in Ladakh. The great Lama Paldan Shesrap built it in the 14th century. Here you can see the big statue of the Future Buddha. Hemis monastery is 45 km far from Leh and it takes a 90-minute drive. The great Mahasiddha Staktsang Raspa along with great ancestor Singey Namgyal builds this biggest monastery in the 16th century. Continue to Matho then we drive to Stok which is situated opposite Leh at a distance of 14 km, At Stok visit to Royal Palace built in 1825 AD and the palace has great collections of antiquity. Continue to visit Matho situated 10 km from Stok, which has the 10th-century complex. Finally, we drive back to Leh.
Day 4: Drive Leh (3600m) – Alchi (3100m) – Lamayuru (3600m) – Fotu La (4100m) – Kanji (3850m), 7-8 Hrs.
Today after breakfast at Leh, we drive to Alchi monastery, situated at a distance of 68 km from Leh. Its monastery built on lowlands rather than on a hilltop as others are, in order to protect from enemies. The Chortens around Alchi gompa contains numerous wall murals of Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo, who has built this monastery. Alchi monastery has vast collections of wall paintings and wood sculptures. We continue to drive to Lamayuru which is 58kms from Alchi. The oldest monastery in Ladakh, founded by Indian scholar Mahasiddhacharya Naropa in the 11th century. Lamayuru host mask dance festival (Yuru Kabgyat) during 17th and 18th day of fifth months of the Tibetan Lunar calendar. It belongs to the red hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism; the monastery is rich with Thankas and wall paintings. Lamayuru monastery was constructed by Arahat Nimagung between the 10th and 11th centuries. History says that in the 11th century the Mahasidha Naropa visited this place and the cave where he resided and meditated is still to be seen inside the monastery. After the visit continues your journey to Kanji, still 40 km drives. Arrive Kanji. Explore the village and overnight at camp in Kanji village(3850m).
Day 5: Trek Kanji Dok (4100m) – Yogma La (4720m) – Shilakong (4600m), 7 Hrs.
The first day of a trek with an easy trail along the right side of the upstream river. After the easy walk for 2 hrs, you have a gentle ascent and then you arrive at a small hamlet where you find the campsite. The view of the valley and its stunning mountains from here is indescribable. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the nature of the Himalayan Mountains. Continue for an hour and ascend towards the Yogma-la (4720m). From the top of the Yogma La, you have a spectacular view of a landscape, on the left down below you will see the Shila gorge. After enjoying a few minutes at the top you have gentle descent and then a small ascent to arrive at the camp. (4600m)
Day 6: Trek Nigutse La (5110m) – Spangthang / Urtsi Dok (4500m), 6 Hrs.
The morning after breakfast, continue the trek by following the well-defined and clear trek route on the left bank of the river. En-route amazing and beautiful landscape. After a few hours of trek, you reach the top of the Nyigutse-la (5100m). At the top of the pass, you will find yourself top of the world and get a stunning and enchanting view of the unforgettable landscape with different mountains of the Himalayan range. Cross the pass and then descend in a beautiful lost valley opening on an immense plain where you find many animals like sheep, goats, and yaks, etc. Overnight Camp. (4500m)
Day 7: Trek Sirsir La (4800m) – Photoksar (4150m), 6-7 Hrs.
As usual, after breakfast, continue the trek by ascending the ridge right from the camping. Following the clear path on rolling ridge and from here you see the Sirsir-la pass. Descend down towards the river below. Cross the river and then start ascending straight towards the pass Sirsir la (4805m). Enjoy the view of the wonderful Photang valley and its landscape. Gentle and easy descend by following the good trek path to Photoksar (A remote isolated charming village). Evening explores the village. Campsite before the village near the river. Overnight at Camp. (4250m)
Day 8: Trek Boumitse La (4400m) – base of Sengge La (4350m), 6 Hrs.
After breakfast, continue the trek. Today you have to cross one easy pass. Right from the camp, start to ascend for few meters and then continue along the clear path beautiful view of village Photoksar and surrounding mountains and gorge. Carry on ascending up to the top of Boumitse-la, from the pass you can directly see the Singey la Pass which is about more than three hours trek from this point. Continue to climb on a high pasture land on Photang valley, where villagers of Photokar keep their Yaks, Dzo, and Horses for grazing. Camp after crossing the small stream.
Day 9: Trek Sengge La (4940m) – Skiumpata (4100m), 6-7 Hrs.
Today leaving camp gradual ascent to Singey la 4940m. Sengge in Tibetan means “Lion”. So it’s “Lion pass”, the view and formations of pass appear like a Lion, from pass a panoramic view of Zanskar range, Right from the camp, start ascending up to the top of Singe-la. From the pass, the route descends steeply to a loose boulder-strewn area. Continue along the right side of the valley, clear path up to village Skyumpata. Beautiful and awesome view of the landscape of the valley.
Day 10: Trek Murgum La (4350m)- Lingshed (3900m) – Lanang / Hanuma La base (4000m), 6-7 Hrs.
Leaving Skyumpata, the trail leads to Murgum La and descent to the village of Lingshed. The trail goes by near the Photoksar gompa. A short visit to this gompa and trail passes through barley fields. Continue to Lanang after crossing Chapskang La (4200m) steep descent to narrow valley to the campsite. Located at the foot of Hanuma La.
Day 11: Trek Hanuma La (4800m) – Snertse (3800m) – Zingchen (3370m), 7-8 Hrs.
Soon after camp long ascents towards Hunuma la pass 4800m. From the top of pass panoramic view of Lingshed, Sengge la and Ladakh Mountain range. This pass is a connecting point between Ladakh and Zanskar then descent deep inside the hanging valley until Snertse. After Snertse long descent towards Oma tokpo at Zingchen, where we camp for tonight.
Day 12: Trek Parfi La (3910m) – Hanamur (3410m), 5 Hrs.
Crossing the oma tokpo long ascent towards Perfi la 3910m. It’s the last pass between our first part of trek Kanji – Padum. From the top, we will be rewarded with a great view of the Zanskar Mountains and could visible the Hanumil from the pass. The last patch we trek along the Zanskar River to the village of Hanumil and another comfortable campsite for tonight.
Day 13: Trek Pidmo (3430m) – Pishu (3450m), 6 Hrs.
Today after breakfast we follow the left bank of Zanskar River on a relatively level path. We cross the village of Pidmo 3430m. A small village located beside Zanskar River. At Pidmo bridge is under construction to Zangla, instead of taking this route, we continue along the right bank to Pishu. Another comfortable campsite beside Zanskar River.
Day 14: Drive to visit Zangla (3650m) – Stongde (3800m) – Karsha (3750m) – Padum (3600m) – Bardan – Raru (3800m), Full Day
Today you have a full-day culture tour around Padum by a drive. The morning after breakfast, drive to Stongde village. Visit the beautiful picturesque monastery built on a hilltop by Lama Marpa 950 years ago. Approximately 60 monks are residing in this monastery. After the visit, continue to drive to Karsha. Visit Karsha monastery. This monastery is the largest of all the monasteries in Zanskar and this monastery (Gonpa) was first founded by Great Lama Phagspa Shesrap (the translator of Zanskar). From the monastery, you have an amazing and spectacular view of the capital of Zanskar (Padum) and its surrounding mountains. After the visit explore Padum (The capital of Zanskar) and drive along with the Tsarap Chu in Lungnak valley to Raru campsite. The drive is on a dusty trail usually a foundation of a road to Darcha – Padum over Shingo la pass.
Day 15: Trek Ichar – Anmo (4000m), 6-7 hrs.
Leaving Raru, the trail descends to a bridge on Tsarap Chu, crossing it a well define ancient trail with an amazing and spectacular view of a landscape. It’s not so far from the village of beautiful Ichar. Continue to Anmo village for our tonight campsite. Instead of taking the Tsethang to Purney route. We will take the Cha to Phuktal, which presents more good views of the Tsarap River valley.
Day 16: Trek Anmo – Cha (3900m) – Phuktal 3900m) – Purne (3800m), 7-8 hrs.
Today leaving Anmo village and follow the trail to Cha village. and continue to climb to the ridge, from where we can have a spectacular view of Tsarap River valley and Purne at far South. The trail descends to Tsarap River and we follow the right bank of this River to Phuktal Gompa, one of the most stunning sights of Zanskar. The main temple built inside a huge cave and the rest of the monastery houses built on a rock cliff. The monastery was founded by Changsems Sherab Zangpo. Finally, we cross the river by a temporary bridge and the trail goes along the left bank of the river to Purney. It will take 2:30 hrs to reach Purney from Phuktal.
Day 17: Trek Yal – Testa – Tangze (4000m) – Table – Sking (4100m) 6 hrs.
Leaving Purney we climb gently to Yal village and continue along the right side of the valley. We pass through the beautiful and charming villages of Testa 3900m and Karu. We cross the river just before Tangtse village. Continue to trek along the right bank of Kargiak River we arrive at Sking village, one of the highest villages in the Zanskar region and the last village in Zanskar. Overnight camp at Sking.
Day 18: Trek Kurgiakh (4150m) – Surichan La base (5000m), 5-6 hrs.
After breakfast, we trek to Kurgiakh village, the last village in this valley, and the path leads away from the river and leaving the main valley, gradually up through a gorge and later the slope. A spectacular view of Zanskar valley can have. We climb gently to the high plateau to base camp. Overnight camp at Surichan La base.
Day 19: Trek Surichan La (5660m) – Chumik Marpo (4650m),7-8 hrs.
Today leaving early to avoid the snow turning softens at the Surichan La is advised. We cross the highest pass of the trek. The climb may be tough, but after the effort, the extraordinary view of the peaks of Lahaul and the Greater Himalayan range is a real award. After an hour of gradual walking along the small stream, we climb steeply to Surichan La with patches of ice. Magnificent view of peaks rising above 6000m to the right and the view goes as far an up to the Rupshu. After taking a break of 30 minutes we descend gradually into the scree to reach the valley floor. Wonderful campsite at Chumik Marpo where you will find numbers of doksas with numbers of Yaks and Dzos. Doksas are high-altitude temporary summer settlements, where domestic animals are kept in highland meadows for grazing. Overnight camp at Chumik Marpo
Day 20: Trek Berga Spangchen / Manichen (4400m), 6 hrs.
Today an early start to cross 2 rivers. Leaving campsite along the left bank of River. After 2 hrs of walking, we cross the river and cross-grassy flat land to the broad river of Khamerup. The river coming from right we cross it before noon. Continue on wide-open space and flat grassland to our campsite close to River called Berga Spangchen. There is a number of a campsite along this Lingti Chu valley. Overnight camp at Berga Spangchen.
Day 21: Trek Sarchu (4200m) 4-5 Hrs, Drive to Taglang La – Leh, 6- 7 Hrs.
We leave early to reach the Sarchu road ahead before noon. After camp again a long day of trekking is waiting for us and the last river crossing. Soon after breakfast, we continue on wide-open space in high altitude grassland. After 2 hrs of a trail will bring you to a small pass from where the wide-open view of Sarchu and Yunam River valley. Descent to Riverside and cross it. The campsite is located, we climb to plains of Sarchu to the other side of the valley and arrive at the road ahead. Where your vehicle will be waiting. You will drive to Leh. It will be 6 to 7 hours of drive to Leh.
Day 22: Leh
This day is just as a reserve day, in case we needed. We can use this day. If all goes according to plan. You will have this day at Leh.
Day 23: Morning flight to Delhi, Evening flight back to home.
Airport transfer and flight to Delhi. Take your evening flight back to Europe or another destination.
OPTION ENDING TRIP AT MANALI
Day 21:Trek Sarchu (4200m) 4-5 hrs, Drive Baralacha La (4890m) – Keylong (3080m) – Rohtang La (3980m) – Manali (2050m), 8-9 hrs.
We leave early to reach Sarchu road ahead before noon. After camp again a long day of trekking is waiting for us and the last river crossing. Soon after breakfast, we continue on wide-open space in high altitude grassland. After 2 hrs of the trail will bring you to a small pass from where the wide-open view of Sarchu and Yunam River valley. Descent to Riverside and cross it. The campsite is located, we climb to plains of Sarchu to the other side of the valley and arrive at the road head. Where your vehicle will be waiting.
We drive to Baralacha la pass, which is 7 km long gives the source of three rivers – Chandra through South, Bhaga through upper Lahoul, and Yunam towards Zanskar. A splendid view of M-4 (6514m), which is the highest in the Moulkila range, can be seen from the trail as well as of Keorang range of the Great Himalayas. Passing through wonderful valleys of Tod, Gahr, and Tinan the road climbs to Rohtang la pass. It takes 2 hrs to reach Manali. Overnight in hotel
Day 22: Manali
Day 23: Manali – Delhi
Volvo deluxe buses leave to Delhi at 16:30 pm overnight drive 14-15 hrs
Day 24: Delhi
Arrive in Delhi at 6:00 am. Visit Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Lotus temple) and Cannaught place
Previous Grande Traversee du Zanskar Trek: What our happy clients have to say
“Trekking crew supported us in every way. We had great luck to have Mr Gyaltson as a guide. Have a wonderful cook Mr Ravi and his helper and the strong and hard working horseman. Thank you for a great experience we will remember this for a long time ! For sure we will come back to India to do an another trekking. All I can say is Julley !!
We did the Zanskar trek which was 18 days but felt like less time, when you are having a good time ! Due to fantastic team we had a great time in a astonishing environment. Mr Ravi cooked us great meals every day making sure we had lots of energy. Mr Gyaltson was a good guide who helped us many times during this hard but beautiful trek. Thank you all for this wonderful experience.”
Mr. Leon Van Der & Margrit – NETHERLANDS – 15th Aug 2016
” From 16th July till 5th of August we did great Zanskar trek organize by Potala Adventures. Not only the trek was amazing, the crew cook, guide and horseman were brilliant and absolutely professional. whole 3 weeks through Zanskar was an unforgettable adventure”.
” Our second step from Spiti valley to Manikaran, Pin Parvati trek was same perfect organized as 1st part ( Lamayuru – Darcha ). Porters, cook and guide did their work absolutely professional. Thanks to Potala Adventures especially Mr. Tenzin Ningbo head organizer Potala Adventures “.
Mr. Michael & Mr Edelbacher, Austria – 14 July to 15 August – 33 days
Ladakh Lamayuru – Darcha trek 21 days & Pin Parvati trek 10 days (Combined 31 days trekking)
“Hi Prem, Nice hearing you. For me, the most memorable and challenge one are Nigutse La pass, the other after Yongma La, and Phirtse La, the last pass. There are several passes in between are also nice. Ii find most spectacle is the rock formation after descend from Nigutse La, it’s really amazing and impressive. Anyway it is still a very good trip, on the scenery, landscape and others.
What to say..we missed to cross some passes due to weather but we crossed others with different scene so never know, we missed something but also gain something. Anyway, thanks so much for organizing, I want to say food and other services support during the trek are good, and almost excellent, food (quality and quantity) are good, I would put up my testimonial on the link. I hope I can join you next trek and also want to complete the unfinished trek business”
Mr. Stanley – SINGAPORE – 1 July – 24 July 2014
Dear Indra, “Hello, you were very kind helper and always smile to me, when I want trekking horses, you accepted it. And let me know ways. I’d like to say thank you all of that (especially thank you let me know perfila mountain way) it was very kindness. I hope see you again in this Dec. in Nepal with Ravi. I wish always you happy. ”
Dear Ravi, “I am Eun Young, You are so so nice guy and cook. All your food was amazing. I’ll never forget your smile and kindness. And I really wish see you again this Dec. at Jiri. I wish your health and happy life. See you soon. ”
Dear guide Gombo, “I spent nice time with you. You are very nice guide. You always make me happy and help me. I was so happy because of your strawberry joke. Thank you for everything. I’ll wish your healthy life and happy. ” Say good bye.
Miss Eun Young Lee – Seol – South Korea
“Potala was exceptionally response to our requests for specific itinerary concerns. We wanted a slower than was originally planned and Potala made certain each day was perfact for our 70 years. Potala gave us the feeling that nothing was more important to them than the success of our trek. It was a great experience.
Team work is so important in making a trip successful. Our Guide and cook, staff and horseman all work together, each one making certain that our trek was successful. Tent went up promptly, food was delicious, horse even carried lunches some days. Our guide was very attentive to river crossings, to good monasteries and school visits and to our being happy. One staff member showed his knowledge of Himalayan plants with us. Everyone waited for us at Shingo la that was so special”.
Mrs. Barbara & group of 4, USA
- Trekking Across the Zanskar Himalayas
- High passes and canyon
- Spectacular sights, ancient monasteries
- Off the beaten path