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HOME >> Trekking in India >> The Zanskar River Expedition

Activity:  Rafting
Lodging:  Lodge/Camp Mix

Trip Summary:
This "special" yearly feature which runs a spectacular two weeks covering most of western Ladakh, monasteries, palaces, villages, hikes and travel down three rivers. The trip begins with a flight over the Himalayas into the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We spend a few days in Leh town acclimatizing at 11,000 feet above sea level and visiting the ancient monasteries, palaces and villages around Leh. We drive west of Leh past the town of Kargil and travel south into the valley of Zanskar, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth. Staring the trip on the Doda river, we begin our self contained multi-day river adventure down the spectacular and scenic Zanskar river gorge. The trip takes you down the extremely desolate, remote and sheer Zanskar gorge with walls rising a few thousand feet out of the river bed, culminating on the mighty Indus river, (which incidentally lends India its name) at the historic monastic conclave at Alchi.

Undoubtedly a classic, this journey to the last truly lost horizon of our shrinking planet - Zanskar, the "land of white copper" is a trip of a lifetime.

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  • Detailed Information

    The Zanskar River Expedition

    Day 1

    Early morning Fly Delhi - Leh. An hour's spectacular flight over the Greater Himalayas, with views stretching as far as K2 in the west and the entire Zanskar range and views of Tibet beneath. On arrival at Leh, we drive 15 mins to our hotel, the Kanglhachhen, a traditional, yet comfortable and clean hotel in town. Rest and acclimatise. Overnight Leh.

    Day 2

    Leh. Acclimatise and sightseeing. Light activity and short walks till Leh palace and the town's exciting market and outdoor restaurants. For the more energetic a visit to a few monasteries such as Spituk, Thikse and Hemis will be arranged. Overnight Leh.

    Day 3

    Drive Leh - Kargil (180kms). We drive from Leh to Mulbek / Kargil, through a spectacular moonscape. We drive over the Fotu La (14,000 ft), a high mountain pass, exiting the Indus valley and entering the Suru valley. Enroute, we visit the Lamayuru monastery, known to be one of the oldest monasteries amongst the 'Red Hat' sect. Overnight Kargil hotel.

    Day 4

    Drive Kargil - Rangdum (12,000ft). A spectacular drive past Panikar and Parkachik,with magnificent views of the Nun and Kun massifs (7000 metres),hanging glaciers and large meadows.We drive till Rangdum Gompa (12,000 ft).Camp overnight.

    Day 5

    Drive Rangdum - Remala (6 hrs). We drive to Remala which is the starting point for the rafting trip on the Doda river, a tributary of the Zanskar river. We drive over the Pensi La (14,500 ft), which enables grand views of the Zanskar peaks at the bottom of which is the Drung Durung glacier that feeds the Zanskar river, 40 km below, into which we flow trip the next day. Overnight tented camp.

    Day 6

    Rafting expedition begins at Remala. Raft till Karsha Gompa, near Padum. We raft 30 km in 5 hrs which includes a break for lunch and hot beverages. We are surrounded by 6000 metre high peaks. River section today includes a Class II section, a good introduction for first timers as well as to the river in general. After settling into camp by afternoon, we take a hike to Karsha Gompa for the evening incantation.

    Day 7

    After a late morning start, we raft from Karsha up to Pidmu. This stretch is approximately 30 km with Class II and III rapids. After settling into the camp by mid afternoon, we visit the nearby villages of Pidmu and Hanomil.

    Day 8

    After packing camp, we raft 20 km to Nyerak, a Class III section. The gorge narrows in on the river - this indeed is a Grand Canyon in its own right. We stop for the day to pitch camp in a gorge below Nyerak village.

    Day 9

    Today's 35 km rafting section takes us from Nyerak to Lamaguru, through the core of the Zanskar A classic white water day with continuous Class III rapids, and a few Class IV rapid where the river squeezes between a gap of about 18ft. We stop for lunch near a huge waterfall at the confluence of Markha river with Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of colours add to the trip today. Camp at Lamaguru.

    Day 10

    Day hike to Kaya and Skiu. Return to camp by late afternoon. (4-5hrs). Camp at Lamaguru.

    Day 11

    We raft 40 kms of Class III/IV white water from Lamaguru to Nimu today.We make camp short of Nimu,the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus river.

    Day 12

    Raft approximately 25 km from Nimu to finish the trip at Alchi through Class III / IV rapids. After ending the trip at Alchi, we walk up to the centuries old monastery to view the beautiful frescoes and wood carvings. Drive back 60 km to Leh and check into hotel.

    Day 13

    Leh. Reserved day for shopping, sightseeing etc.

    Day 14

    Early morning transfer to Leh airport. Fly Leh - Delhi. Trip ends


    Trip Facts

    The Zanskar River Expedition

    Nearest Airport
    New Delhi, India

    Suitability
    You will be running Class III & IV rapids for as much as 5-7 hours a day. Minimum age for rafting is 14 years old.

    About Your Guides
    You'll have a safe and enjoyable trip with some of the most experienced guides in the country, who know the terrain, offer great company, equipment which compares with world standards, and a "hands on" operation which guarantees each trip a resounding success. Aided by a wealth of experience and knowledge, the outfit is run at the helm by a duo, who between them, have run more routes and rivers than most people do in a lifetime. The most experienced kayakers and river people in the country today, help out with the operations and logistics. All trips are well complimented by a crew of excellent guides, staff, and cooks who have helped run the trips with a quality that is hard to find on the sub-continent.

    Rafting Equipment & Safety
    Rafts and accessories used for river rafting are imported and are made of tear-resistant nylon based hypalon. Wearing helmets with chin straps fastened and a life-jacket is mandatory which keep the person's head above water in the not-so-common event of MOB (Man-Over-Board). Water-proof bags are kept aboard the raft for keeping cameras on the trip. On the longer self-contained, multi-day expeditions, bigger water-proof bags are carried to keep all baggage on the raft completely dry. Every raft also carries rescue bags and flip lines to counter any emergency. You'll use self-bailing `Hyside' rafts and accessories from Northwest River Supplies (NRS), Idaho, U.S.A for your rafting trip. Every raft trip/expedition carries a repair kit and a first-aid kit in order to make the run completely self contained. A safety briefing is given to everyone before the river run commences which outlines everything from the nature of the river and what to expect, to paddling commands and safety procedures to remember while in white-water. If possible, an easy section is rafted on the first day to orient everyone with rafting.

     

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