Back in Lamayuru, our next destination was famous and remote Zanskar. With a week in front of us before our flight from Srinagar, we decided to see how far we’d be able to go in this region, as there is no transports after Parkarchik, and information was difficult to find. Our goal was to go at least up to Rangdum Gumpa, once again by our own means.
We took a bus to Kargil, the second, very dull city of the region. Islam is the main religion here, so, big asset, meat is again available here! But guesthouses are overpriced, surprisingly; there isn’t much to do, transports and information are difficult to find, as well as nice places to eat at.
Towards Zanskar, you have two options:
- the “easy” one: book a taxi at the taxi stand, for the two day drive all the way to Padum. 2000INR per person.
- the “you’ve got to have time on your hands” second one, taking a bus all the way to Parkachik, and then hitchhiking trucks.
We went with the second one, adding another trek on the way, as we were told this was the most beautiful trek in all Ladakh (that we didn’t buy so much), and one of the easiest (that we bought). We took an early rise bus to Panikhar on the main bazar, departing at 7am (arrive at 6:30 if you want to be able to sit).
After a 4 hour ride, for only a mere 80/-, we arrived in Panikhar, where there is, as often, nothing to do, nor to eat. We actually knocked on someone’s door to ask for omelettes and tea. Then we started up for the “easy” trek, that nobody knows how to indicate you the way to. We continued down the road, crossed the river, then back down the same direction, but on the other bank. We started climbing up a path that disappeared after a some time, and couldn’t find the pass once in the middle of the mountain.
Now, this was not so frightening, as we could always see the village from where we were, no trees to block the view. But you get lost pretty easily when you have no landmarks.
In the end, we continued “left”, and finally found the pass, after discouraging hours, with our bags on our backs and not so much water nor any food. We think we started climbing up too soon, as we ended finding the correct path, and should’ve continued down on the road until we probably would have found its starting point.
The view upon arrival was magnificent, with the two Kun and Nun glaciers, 7000m high. Resting cows greeted us, and we had a good rest with views on both valleys on each side of the mountain.
We then walked down towards Parkachik, surrealistically accompanied by quite a few cows, all coming down the mountain, called by their leader cow from down the valley. We stayed at the J&K Bungalows, which was a haven of comfort (don’t expect any luxury, though), after such an uncertain trek. The views from the terrace on a sunny day on Kun and Nun and the village are very peaceful.