-| Darsha-Padum 1 | -
: 12 Days / 11 Nights
by the Baralacha-la and Phirtse-la
Superb way to go to Zanskar .Further into the mountains and three days longer
, this route provides a better acclimatization than the one through the Shinkun-la
(hiking Tour No.1).The best period to do it is from July to October .Allow 12
1st Day : Darsha -Patseo , 3hrs.
Go in the direction of Darsha village for about 300m. At the first group of
houses go up the steep incline to the left which leads to the Manali-Leh road.
Follow it to Patseo. Easy going, a stream crossing . Pass the bridge to go to
2nd Day : Patseo -camp by the river , 5 hrs.
Follow the road , open valley. After about two hours , you reach a place called
Zinginbar (house in ruins).A ways beyond ,there are shortcuts up between the
sharp twists in the road. Cross a military camp 1.5hrs to the bridge. Pass it
, then take the short cut on the right .Possible to camp at the river's edge.
3rd Day : Patseo - Camp by the river -Baralacha-la -Sarchu bridge , 6hrs.
Follow the road or take the short cuts. Several steep rises , a plateau and
a final slope leads to a lake. Finally , large pastures and the Baralacha-la
cairns (5300m , 2.5hrs). The road continues on the left bank of the Tsarap.
Firns possible in July. Long descent to a broad , alluvial plain closed in by
a moraine which one goes around to the right. A further 1.5hrs to the Sarachu
bridge(several houses in ruins).Good campsite.(Another campsite 30 min. away
if you leave the bridge on the right )
4th Day : Sarchu bridge - camp in the high valley , 8hrs.
Leave the bridge on the right. You leave the road for the last time. Walk along
the river through the pastures. Cross a broad stream. Sarchu plain. The trail
follows the mountain side .Where the valley widens , go towards the left into
a high desert valley. Shepherd's huts on the left(4hrs).
valley , continue up it. Cross two canyons. Choose a campsite near the second
on the basis of available water.
5th Day : Camp of the high valley -camp of the Phirtse-la , 7hrs.
Leave early (broad river to cross).First ,four easy crossings of canyons. After
about 2.5hrs , you arrive at a broad river. Find a good ford .Next , climb to
the plateau .30 Min. later , shepherd's hits , then manis .Now the valley narrows
, path on mountain side. Before reaching the confluence , climb a steep slope
leading to a small pass. Go down to the river which comes from Chunik Marpo.
Go upstream to a ford ( 1 hr. after the shepherd's huts).Path on left bank to
go upstream. The valley widens. Large combs to be crossed ,short climbs. The
camp used as base for going up the phirtse -la is situated opposite , at the
edge of a stream. Further down , summer campsite for Zanskari shepherds.
6th Day : Camp of the Phirtse-la-Phirtse-la-camp on the western slope , 7hrs.
First tracks are difficult to find .After half an hour , grassy flat. Then you
can see the path. Cross the escarpment and walk down to the stream(large rock
with hollows).Go up the opposite slope. Phirtse-la (5450m,4hrs).Beautiful and
very steep descent on uneven ground. At times the ice can be seen. At the end
of the slope , follow the path which leads to the river. Go over to the left
bank (5hrs).Follow the valley to the river where it widens after 1.5hrs.A further
30 min. and you reach a good place to camp, 50 meters. above the river.
Day : Camp on the Westermn slope -Tanze , 5hrs.
The path leads away from the river , gradually up the slope (the river gorges
are too difficult for animals ).First view of a rocky escarpment .Further on
, a pass with cairns and pastures. Fantastic view of the Zanskar valley and
the first village since Darsha. Go to a basin then pass behind a rocky bridge
and carry on towards steep gorge. Cross a small , hard going for the horses.
Arrive in Tanze where you meet up with Hiking tour No.1 Darsha -Padum by the
Shinkun-la. Tanze, a small village , gompa in ruins a bit higher up.
8th Day : Tanze -Purne , 5hrs.
A short distance beyond Tanze , a bridge crosses to the left bank .Monotonous
going across moraine terrain. Slight rise leading to Kuru , major village of
Livestock breeders. Afterwards , an excellent path leads steadily lower. Arrival
in Teta (2.5hrs ) , beautiful village. The path continues downward near the
river. Stay on the left bank. Then climb gentle slope up to Jal. Next comes
a steep descent towards a large bridge which you cross to get to Purne. You
can either set up camp somewhere before the house, or pay 10 Rs. per tent on
an adjacent lot. Watch your thing
9th Day : Purne -Phuktal -Purne , 4hrs.
Leave the horses in Purne. Go up the left bank of the Tsarap into splendid gorges.
After 1.5hrs , cross a bridge in good condition (in 1985).Fifteen minutes later
,you arrive at a small tributary to the Tsarap , beautifully clear water cascading
down. A ledge leads to a small plateau sprinkled with
and religious banner. From there , one can see the Phuktal monastery , one of
the most spectacular sights in Zanskar. Phuktal belongs to the tradition of
the Gelupas(yellow hats).The spring that gurgles deep in the cave is still out
of bounds to women. The Hungarian historian Cosma de Koros stayed there over
the winter of 1825-26.It is possible to find food and lodging at the monastery.
10th Day : Purne -Ichar , 5-6hrs.
From Purne, go back down, cross the bridge, then go up the left bank. The trail
that overhangs the Tsarap is sometime tricky and hard going. Frequent small
canyons of pudding stones. Pass a bit above a hanging bridge which leads to
the village of Cha.(From Cha , it is possible to go to Phuktal horses , which
is dangerous) 2 hours later , one arrives at Kaydang , a small village in a
poplar grove. Carry on until Hamuni (tea shop).Pass below the village of Surle.
The trail is still not good , several stretches difficult for the horses. Arrive
at a large bridge which leads to Ichar. Very good camp. Interesting fortified
11th Day : Ichar -Mune , 5hrs.
Cross back over the left bank , then a gradual climb before coming to a major
tributary (bridge). Gradual descent down towards Reru , then quite a beautiful
plain covered with flowers (july) as far as Mune. Possible to camp opposite
12th Day : Mune -Padum , 5hrs.
From the monastery , go down a steep incline to the main trail. After two hours
, one arrives at Barden Gompa , a Kagyupa monastery famous for its prayer wheel
(180cm high).From Barden , a dusty road suitable for motor traffic leads to
Padum without difficulty .Several quite beautiful villages on the the opposite
bank . Padum ( 3650 m) : possibilities for fresh supplies uncertain (only rice
, tsampa, sugar , tea and sometimes kerosene), several hotels , a restaurant
(1985).Passport control. Camping possibilities 1 Km down the road to Kargil.