|This is a river adventure like none other. A two week expedition would give you an opportunity to discover little seen parts of western Ladakh. Get ready for sights and sounds of monasteries, drums, fluttering prayer flags, canyons and some of the best white water, that are far beyond your dreams and expectations. |
You would begin your journey by acclimatizing for a few days at Leh town, where you can also visit ancient palaces and monasteries. Drive past 7000 meter high mountains, awesome glaciers, to begin the river run in the Zanskar valley at 12,000 feet. Spend the first two days enjoying the moderate white water where you get an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural surroundings. Zanskar offers spectacular physical features, unlike anything you have seen in all of India or the world. At the end of the Zanskar valley, get ready for the spectacular Zanskar Canyon, also referred to as the Grand Canyon of Asia. The walls of the Canyon go up thousands of feet off the river bed. You have a feeling of being at one with nature and may feel like the only person in this desolate part of the world. The Zanskar canyon is a grade 4 section and offers amazing whitewater for rafting and kayaking.
Spend most of the day on the river Zanskar and pitch up camp late in the afternoon. Enjoy simple meals by the river side and laze in the afternoon or stroll & explore the area. Enjoy a spectacular night sky filled with twinkling stars, while you sit around a camp fire and listen to stories of the many runs our guides have done on their favorite river. You will also discover the rich culture and history of the natives as we make our way down the Zanskar, and take back memories that will keep you thrilled for a long time to come.
- Visit really ancient monasteries and palaces
- Drive on the beautiful Himalayan highway into remote valleys, see massive hanging glaciers, and get a view of high Himalayan peaks.
- Camp on high altitude Himalayan meadows
- Raft on the Rooftop of the World through the Grand Canyon of Asia.
- Walk to a remote village to interact & get an insight of their lifestyle
- Ancient monasteries and palace visits
- Drive on some of the World’s highest roads
- White water rafting through the grand canyon of Asia
- Scenic camping on meadows and in the heart of the Canyon
An hour long flight from Delhi to Leh will take you over the Greater Himalaya where you will be able to see the K2 amongst many other breathtaking views. You land at one of the highest civilian airports in the world at 10300 feet. It is strongly recommended that you rest and acclimatize to the altitude and not move out of your bed except for your meals today. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.
After an early breakfast at the hotel a visit to monasteries such as Shey, Thiksey and Hemis will be arranged. You will arrive back to Leh in time for lunch for which Leh offers excellent opportunities. Post lunch relax or walk into the Leh town, to its exciting Tibetan market for souvenirs. You can take in the magnificent sights of peaks across the horizon and get ready for the drive to Kargil the next day. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.
The drive to Kargil over the Fotu La Pass at 14,000 ft. is spectacular. En route, we stop for lunch at the Lamayuru monastery that belongs to the ‘Red Hat’ sect and capture the imposing moonscape on our cameras. Also, we will stop at the stone statue of the Maitreya and/ future Buddha at Mulbek. Overnight stay at Kargil hotel.
A spectacular drive past Panikar and Parkachik, a drive worth a thousand words and maybe even more, with magnificent views of the Nun and Kun massifs (7000 metres), hanging glaciers and large meadows. We drive all the way past the Suru valley up till Rangdum Gompa (12,000 ft) and stop for a lunch break and then continue with our journey to Phey. 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 take a float trip on the first day of the expedition. Overnight tented camp.
After a two day long drive a rest day is called for. To build up your energies, soak in the sun, acclimatize and to get ready for the challenging four days ahead of you. Ride a donkey, hike up to a hidden and ancient monastery, mingle with the local kids or simply do nothing.
After an early wakeup call and breakfast we pack up the camp and load our expedition gear on to the rafts. We start our rafting expedition at Phey (11,400ft) probably the highest put in for a river expedition on the planet. We raft 30 km in 3-4 hours which includes a small break as we pass by the Karsha Gompa complex. Throughout the day we are surrounded by 6000 metres high peaks. The River today is a Class II section, a good introduction for first timers as well as to the river in general. We negotiate a braided river which at times often splits in to as many as 10 channels with only one or two good enough for the rafts to cross. Settle into camp at Zangla by afternoon. Easy day to get used to the river, the altitude and hone our paddling skills. Camp Overnight
Pack up and get moving for about 25 km on the river & enter the canyon to reach Nyerak(3286m; 10,780ft; 3 hrs). This is a grade 3 section and warms you up for the rafting that is to follow in the days to come. At Honimul, the last village, we enter a breathtaking canyon. The banks of the river now give way to mountain walls that rise thousands of feet above you. We run some terrific rapids today, stop for lunch, then raft some more before calling it a day and setting up camp below the Nyerak village. This campsite is one of the few sites in the canyon where one can camp.
Today’s 40 km rafting section takes us from Nyerak to Chilling (3190 m; 10,465 ft; 5-6 hrs including scout and lunch) 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 known as the GATE. We stop for lunch near a huge waterfall and continue to the confluence of Markha river with the Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of colours add to the trip today. After packing camp, we raft to Chilling. 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 at Chilling village.
We raft 35 kms of Class III/IV white water from Chilling to Nimo (3154 m; 10,345 ft; 3-4 hrs) today. We raft past the village of Chilling and exciting rapids as the Zanskar plunges out of the canyon to meet with the Indus at Nimmo. We end our trip at the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus. Drive an hour back to Leh. Overnight hotel.
The flight back to Delhi will take you over the Great Himalayas and allow you to bid farewell to the mythical land of Ladakh, until next time! We know you’ll be back!