Take the challenge of the Zanskar Expedition 2012 with Himalayan River Runners- Special rates for Award family

A geographical extension of the southwestern end of the Tibetan plateau, Ladakh is often referred to as “Little Tibet”. Indeed, both geographically and culturally there is little difference. Few places on earth match the grandeur and sheer magnitude of the Zanskar in Ladakh, the trans- Himalayan region on India’s northern borders.

Himalayan River Runners, the Award's Adventure Partner are organizing their 11-day expedition to this high altitude lunar landscape. It is a “once-in-a lifetime” experience combining the best of adventure and cultural insight into the lifestyle of these Himalayan and Trans Himalayan communities from the predominantly Islamic communities of Kargil to the predominantly Buddhist communities of Zanskar and an insight into their shared lifestyle in these barren lands.

Fly into Leh and spend the next 3 days on a mountain drive from Leh via Kargil to their river put-in. Few mountain drives offer such varied landscape from high altitude desert to an in your face Himalayan close-ups of the Nun Kun massif (23,400ft ASL) as one drives right below its northern face and its hanging glaciers. The final road leg crosses the Pensi-la 14500 ft ASL, the highest point of the trip with the Durung Drung glacier below, a major source of the Zanskar.

The 6-day river journey, starting just 40 km below the glacial headwaters takes you through the Zanskar gorge sometimes referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of Asia’. Big water Class 3 and 4 rapids, walks through orchards ripe with apricot, side-hikes to gravity-defying monasteries and an evening incantation with the monks, all add to the unique charm and adventure of our expedition to this rugged wilderness. The trip finally ends with a day in Leh. Exploring Leh’s bazaar and old town before you finally fly back to Delhi.

Fixed date departures:
11th to 21st August (ex-Delhi) Trip -I
22nd Aug to 01st Sept (ex-Delhi) Trip -II

Day 01 (11th/22nd Aug)
Fly Delhi to Leh. A completely relaxed day letting your body acclimatize to the rarefied atmosphere. Overnight in Hotel Lha Rimo.

Day 02 (12th or 23rd Aug)
Drive Leh to Kargil with a visit enroute to Lamayuru Monastery and the Buddha statue at Mulbek. Overnight at hotel in Kargil.

Day 03 (13th/24th Aug)
The most spectacular drive filled with natural wonders. A drive to Ringdum Gompa (12,000 ft.). Few mountain drives get you this close to the Great Himalaya. The awesome mass of the Nun Kun massif over 7000m high with its hanging glacier across the road from us, dominating today’s journey. Overnight in the tented camp at Ringdum.

Day 04 (14th /25thAug)
The final road leg across the Pensi La at 14,500 ft ASL, surrounded by an awe inspiring arena of the Zanskar peaks. Below us is the Durung Drung glacier that feeds the Zanskar River. We drive on to camp 40 kms below the glacier at Remala village, our put-in point of the river trip. Overnight tented camp.

Day 05 (15th/26th Aug)
Rafting expedition commences on the Doda river from Remala to Karsha covering approx 30 km. Class 2 rapids primarily; wide open valley surrounded by 6000 m Himalayan and Zanskar peaks. After settling into camp by 2 PM, take an hours hike up to the spectacular Kharsha Monastery for the evening incantations by the monks. Return back to camp for a relaxed dinner.

Day 06 (16th/27th Aug)
A relaxed start, the river journey continues past the confluence of the Doda with the Tsarap River, from where its called the Zanskar. Today’s rafting stretch is approximately 25 km. with primarily Class II & III rapids, passing by Zangla village the old capital of Zanskar. We end our days journey by lunch and camp near the village of Hanomil , just above the entrance of the Zanskar gorge. An afternoon hike to the nearby village for some local interaction and bonhomie rounds of a perfect day in this magnificent wilderness.

Day 07 (17th/28th Aug)
We depart early and enter the upper Zanskar gorge, completely dwarfed by the gigantic chasm walls, each turn bringing on amazing rock formations and colors. We soon come to ‘Major Surprise’ a newly formed class 5 rapid due to rockslide in recent years. Depending on the volume of water our guides take a decision to either run the rapid with an intrepid few, while most including the gear boats are portaged around the rapid. We continue on through the stunning gorge and exciting rapids finishing our day’s journey at Nyerak, the only camping site in the middle of the canyon. Take in the grandeur of this geological wonderland!

Day 08 (18th/29th Aug)
Layover Day. You have the option to just take it easy or go on a day long hike up this magnificent canyon first crossing the 25 ft span wooden Nyerak Bridge across one of the narrowest parts of the river. Up it is after that on the old trade route between Zanskar and Indus valleys, now a well known trekking route. This hike gives you a completely different perspective on the scale and geological formation of the gorge with stunning views as we climb higher above. We have a chance to interact with the hardy but cheerful locals as they trek between their habitations in this harsh and desolate lunarscape. We can visit the home of Tashi, an enterprising local of this region who weaves carpets and is a storehouse of local information. Later after a packed picnic lunch we descend back down to our river camp at Nyerak.

Day 09 (19th/30th Aug)
Action packed rafting day through the heart of the Zanskar Grand Canyon- 40 km of non-stop Class 3 and 4 whitewater, awe-inspiring rock formations and a stop for lunch at a gigantic cataract pouring out of a cliff face to an oasis below- paradise! We conclude our long days rafting at Lamaguru camp, the confluence of the Markha River with the Zanskar .

Day10 (20th/31st Aug)
We start early to raft the final leg of the Zanskar from Lamaguru to Nimu, covering approx 25 km to its confluence with the mighty Indus. Mostly Class 3 bouncy rapids including encountering the big water ‘Chilling’ rapid as the volume increases significantly after the Markha River has joined. Our raft trip ends at the confluence from where the river becomes the mighty Indus as it flows westward towards Pakistan and finally to the Arabian Sea. We drive back 40 km to Leh to check into our hotel to have lunch and take those much needed hot showers! Overnight at Lharimo Hotel.

Day 11 (21st Aug/01st Sept)
Fly Leh /Del.

1-5 paying pax : Rs.62750/-

Minimum 6 to 10 pax : Rs.59,000/-
11 pax & above : Rs.55,250/-
+ Single Supplement as and when applicable
+ 2.575% Govt. Service Tax

- Hotel Accommodation on twin share basis in Leh and Kargil.
- Tented and Rest house accommodation on twin share basis, enroute through the trip.
- Rafting and all specialised equipment.
- Meals throughout the trip.

  • INR Airfare Delhi / Leh / Delhi.
  • Any expenditure of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls,etc.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Medical and/or Travel Insurance
  • Any cost arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as landslides, bad weather and road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
  1. Himalayan River Runners reserve the right to modify and alter the itinerary due to circumstances beyond our control, such as weather and road conditions, condition on the river, etc. This right would be exercised in the best interest of your safety and well being.
  2. Cost may change in case of a fuel hike or any other unprecedented hike. The cost is based on twin share accommodation for Srinagar & Leh and all points enroute as well as in tents. Should you be booking as a single person – the supplement will apply.
  3. Himalayan River Runners will not be liable incase of delays on flights in the Delhi- Leh-Delhi sectors as well as for any delays due to bad weather etc.

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