Weather :

Best Time to Visit : June to September

Highlight : Chadar Trek
Suru Valley
Buddhist Cave Monasteries

Tips : The nearest petrol pump is located in Padum and the Srinagar Kargil road
The nearest ATM is located in the Padum market
Mobile connectivity is very limited in the region

Area : 5,000 sq km

Altitude : 13,154 ft above sea level

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Zanskar Valley, Leh Ladakh Overview

Located in the Kargil district to the east of Ladakh (around 105 km) lies the bewitching Zanskar Valley. Pronounced as Zahar or Zangskar locally, it is separated from Ladakh by Zanskar mountain range which is a part of The Tethys Himalayas. Zanskar is known for raw landscape and is mostly travelled to for trekking and river rafting.

The semi-desert region is flanked by snow-capped mountains and sparkling clean rivers along with distinct flora and fauna. The easiest way of reaching Zanskar is from Kargil through Suru Valley. It is cut off from the rest of the world for over 9 months of the year because of heavy snowfall in the region. The only way of reaching Zanskar during the winter months of December to February is undertaking the challenging Chadar Trek.

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Best Time to Visit Zanskar Valley

Summer days from June to September is the ideal time to visit the Zanskar Valley. The region is accessible by road only up to October.

Chadar Trek

The Chadar Trek or The Frozen River Expedition is one of the most unique and challenging treks in India. The 6-day chadar trek across the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh takes place during the latter part of January till the end of February or sometimes even in the first week of March, depending on the weather.

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How to reach Zanskar Valley

Zanskar Valley is reachable via airways, railways and roadways. Leh Airport, also known as Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, is the nearest to the city of Zanskar. This distance of about 60 km from the airport to Zanskar Vallery can be covered with a 75 to 90-minute drive.

Jammu Tawi is the closest railhead to Zanskar, and one could avail shared buses or taxis to the valley. Private taxis are quite expensive, thus shared jeeps or buses would be a better option. 

Zanskar valley is most convenient to reach via Kargil. There are plenty of JKSRTC buses and shared taxis plying from Srinagar to Kargil. Taking a shared cab to Zanskar valley from Kargil would be a much reliable option than a bus.

Places to Visit in Zanskar

Although Zanskar is a beautiful small place, it does host some incredible places to visit too. Some of the top mentions include the Zanskar Valley, Zanskar River, Phugtal Monastery and Padum. Pensi La Pass, Nimu, Zongkhul, Panikar, Baralacha La Pass and Drang Drung Glacier are some other significant attractions here.


Zanskar Valley is home to a variety of species. They include domesticated animals like Yak, Dzo, Sheep and Horse. Wild animals like Wolf, Snow Leopard, Bear and Marmot are also found in that region.

History of Zanskar Valley

Tibetans from high plateaux of the North-East settled in the Indus Valley around 500-600 BC. At that time, the Bon Tradition was followed. In the 7th Century, Buddhism was introduced in Ladakh by the Great Llama Songtsen Gampo. Its influence soon spread across Zanskar towards the Kashmir Valley.

Due to the isolation of Zanskar, the area has remained devoutly Buddhist whereas the more accessible part of kashmir has turned into Islam. After a period of independence, with periodic internal conflicts, Zanskar was finally annexed by Ladakh in the 17th Century. The kings of Ladakh and Zanskar belonged to the same family, which ensured a period of peace. From 1842, Ladakh and Zanskar have become a part of Jammu and Kashmir, the only Indian state to extend to both sides of The Himalaya.

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Zanskar Valley Reviews

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Devesh Kaushik

on Zanskar Valley 4 years ago
A must visit place in Ladakh region

Devesh Kaushik

on Zanskar Valley 4 years ago
A must visit place in Ladakh region
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