The most isolated of the Himalayan valleys, Zanskar is known for its exquisite monasteries, snow-capped peaks and stunning vistas. Access to the region is seasonal (June – October) and requires a 250 kilometers drive from Leh to Kargil, after which you can continue straight to Padum, Zanskar’s administrative center, or make a stop in a Rangdum on route. Himalayan Homestays are availabile in the villages of Rangdum, Pidmo, Karsha and Zangla.
Rangdum is located in the green and lush Suru Valley, presenting the mid-point on the road between Kargil and Padum. Isolated, wild and untouched, this village is a particularly scenic spot for a short break on the long journey from Leh to Padum. For wildlife lovers, this is an exceptional place for bird watching and Himalayan brown bears are known to inhabit the region. Rangdum is home to 25 households, two of which offer Himalayan Homestays.
Karsha lies across the Stod River from Padum. It is the site of Zanskar’s largest monastery, a striking structure composed of white-washed houses built upon a steep hillside. To the west of the monastery, you will find the nunnery, home to over 20 nuns and enigmatic temples dating back to medieval times. There are six Himalayan Homestays available in Karsha, and it presents a two hours’ walk or 20 minutes’ drive from Padum.
Zangla is the last village on the road from Padum. It is home to a charming nunnery set on a hillside one kilometer from the village, as well as the ruins of a palace that once hosted Alexander Csoma de Koros, author of the first Tibetan-English dictionary. You can embark on a scenic five to six hours’ hike from Karsha to get to the village, passing by Chetang, Karsha’s summer pasture, and the magnificent Stongdey monastery on route. There are a total of seven Himalayan Homestays in Zangla village.