Zanskar Overview

The Wilderness Experience

Geography: Zanskar, covering an area of 7000 square kilometer at a height betwen 3500 metres to 7000 metres(11500-23000 ft,) lies in the South Western part of Ladakh. It consists of a country lying between two main branches of Zanskar river, which eventually flows in the North -eastern direction and merges with the Great Indus river at in Nimu in Ladakh. High mountain ridges lie on both sides of the Doda and Lingti–kargyag valleys, which run north-west to south-east. To the south-west is the Great Himalaya Range which separates Zanskar from the Kisthwar and Chamba basins. To the north-east lies the Zanskar Range, which separates Zanskar from Ladakh. Against the backdrop such topographical features, the only access to Zanskar by road is across Pensila pass through Suru valley in Kargil region( roads open from June to early Nov.) The remaining of the year Zanskar remain land locked from rest of the country and Ladakh region except arduous frozen river trek which is again possible between late Dec. to 2nd week of Feb., when thick blanket of ice engulf the the Zanskar river.

Flora and Fauna: Much of the Zanskar's vegetation is in the irrigated villages in the Valleys and in the upper slopes of ridges which receive higher precipitation. Among the wild life found are marmot, bear, wolf, foxes, Bharal( Blue Sheep-not actually blue in color) , ibex and the elusive cat-the snow leopard. In the higher mountains you will see variety of birds including the one from eagle family.

People: As compare its geographical size the population of Zanskar is just about 15 thousand people among which 94% are Buddhist, inhabiting the valleys of Zanskar river and its two main branches.

Economy: Given the nature of terrain, topography, the main stay of Zanskari people were , cattle rearing, minimal agriculture –mostly growing barley( the staple diet till very recently of the half Tibetan stock folks). However, with the changing time, more and more people are employed with the government and in trekking and tourism business. The trekking business has brought many peripherial benefits to the villagers like bringing camp fees in the remotest areas, small tea and snacks shops, Zanskari horses being engaged in the trekking, thrown Zanskar to the outside world bringing monetary and voluntary help to preserve the beautiful Buddhist monasteries of this erstwhile Buddhist Kingdom. However, it has brought with environmental hazard. So at we, promise to bring low impact trekking on the environment, culture yet showcase Zanskar to the outside world in responsible, making the people of the land proud of their culture, religion and the land.

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