The Long Run from Padum to Kargil | Zanskar 2012

24

The Journey so far…

Day 5 | Padum – Drang Drung Glacier – Penzi La Pass – Rangdum – Kargil

We slept well but had some un easy feelings all night. The trip had fallen apart badly but if I look at the other end of the tail then it meant another trip to Zanskar Valley in coming future would be certain 😉 … It was 4 AM when all of us woke up, got ourselves ready, freshening up and out in biting cold conditions. Hasan (cook) had prepared and packed our food for the long journey to Kargil from Padum and other Hasan (taxi guy) was ready for us downstairs. Stars were studded in the sky all over and were blinking as if to bid us adieus from the Zanskar Valley in that cold night.

The Teaser… Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass…
Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass

As we left, we saw similar police dominance on the road and one of the group stopped us and asked for vehicle checking but then one senior came in and asked us about whereabouts and native places. Then, they realized we were tourists and let us go without much trouble. Feeling wasn’t that good leaving the town after seeing the police force and we knew in our heart that something was wrong but not exactly what!! Nevertheless, it was biting cold out there and we were completely packed up. None of us dared to get out for the golden glowing colours of sunshine as we get past the Zanskar Villages and perhaps we wanted to reach Drang Drung Glacier and Penzi La Pass as soon as possible to take some lovely pictures and spend some good time there. In between, there was a bus parked right in the middle of the road and since the thinking was pretty negative we were a bit scared that it might not have something related to some kind of protest or anything!! But, thankfully nothing like that and as the sun came out beyond the tall mountains, we almost reached that lovely spot offering the breath taking view right through the elongated Drang Drung Glacier. Earlier, we had missed everything on the way owing to precisely my bad health but now it was fun as we had almost full day to explore the raw nature up on the way to Kargil.

Prayer Flags and Drang Drung Glacier in the background…
Prayer Flags and Drang Drung Glacier in the background
Drang Drung Glacier in full glory…
Drang Drung Glacier in full glory at Kargil to Padum Road
My Shadows, capturing the lovely beauty…
Beauty over at Kargil to Padum Road
Casting Shadows in the Sky near Drang Drung Glacier…
Casting Shadows in the Sky near Drang Drung Glacier at Kargil to Padum Road

The massive Drang Drung was in full glory and the feeling was really out of the world. There was no soul around us and it was a feeling that everything there was only available for us. We moved ahead towards Penzi La pass and this time we were in no hurry. There are two lakes just before the Penzi La pass (from Kargil side) namely Stat Tso Lake and Lam Tso Lake. We did not want to waste the opportunity of capturing the reflections in these lakes and as we reached near there shore it was PRISTINE and HEAVENLY… There are always some feelings in the trip which you do not forget in lifetime and this one was just that but hard to describe in words, with no crowd or disturbances around. We spent almost 2 Hrs from Drang Drung Glacier to Penzi La Pass and at the shores of twin lakes – Stat Tso and Lam Tso, it was most fun filled moments of the trip 🙂

Penzi La Pass, The Highest Point at Kargil Padum Road…
Penzi La Pass... The Highest Point at Kargil Padum Road
Penzi La Pass, The Highest Point at Kargil Padum Road…
Penzi La Pass... The Highest Point at Kargil Padum Road
Awesome Foursome at Penzi La Pass…
Dheeraj Sharma at Penzi La Pass... The Highest Point at Kargil Padum Road
Parked at Penzi La Pass…
Penzi La Pass, The Highest Point at Kargil Padum Road
Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass…
Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass
Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass…
Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass
Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass…
Heavenly Reflections at Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass
Sign board of Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass…
Stat Tso & Lam Tso Lakes at Penzi La Pass, Kargil to Padum Road

It was time to descend the Penzi La pass towards Rangdum and break the journey for the breakfast. On the way towards Rangdum monastery, we met many children who were going to school housed at Rangdum Monastery only, distributes some candies and chocolates. The innocence on their faces and the harshness of their lives would any sufferer believe that his sufferings are nothing as compared to the tough lives in this part of trans Himalayan region. Walking so many miles just for the school in harshest of conditions for attending school and get to learn those little things, just hats off to the spirit of life here. This is one of the reason I love traveling as it helps you understand and realize what things are there in my life which does require some respect and studies is just one thing, which was hard earned in the past!! Thanks to the lovely parents who helped me with it in whatever circumstances in life they were… Anyways, coming back to story as we passed by the Rangdum monastery, we saw army guys playing volleyball. The tiny hamlet of Rangdum looked lovely and so symmetrical from this end of the valley. We reached Rangdum and asked for some tea at that very dhabha aside the PWD Rest House because none of us wanted to take any chance with food there 😉 and moreover, we had packed food with us – paranthas with butter and jam… After spending about half an hour, we moved ahead towards Parkachik.

Ready to run back towards Kargil…
Beauty over at Kargil to Padum Road
Far away… Rangdum Monastery…
Rangdum Monastery
Punit and Sudhir with School Children of Rangdum…
Punit and Sudhir with School Children of Rangdum
Long way to go to Rangdum Monastery cum School…
Long way to go to Rangdum Monastery cum School
Rangdum Monastery…
Rangdum Monastery in Suru Valley, Zanskar
Rangdum Monastery…
Rangdum Monastery in Suru Valley, Zanskar
Parted ways at Rangdum Monastery…
Rangdum Monastery Kargil to Padum Road
A Symmetrical Hamlet – Rangdum…
A Symmetrical Hamlet - Rangdum at Kargil to Padum Road
Chug is the local name of this bird in Rangdum Village…
Chug is the local name of this bird in Rangdum
The Top Gun Style – Gaurav at Rangdum Village…
The Top Gun Style - Gaurav at Rangdum Village
A Child at Rangdum Village…
A Child at Rangdum Village

The sky was clear and now the sunshine was so fierce that it was almost burning the skin. Now, the section where the road widening work and blasting was going on started. It was damn slow progress now with so many break in between due to blasting in progress. There were sections on the road where it was not possible to avoid the underbelly hit and couple of times the body scratched from below though nothing worrying as such. After crossing the stretch just in front of Parkachik glacier, Hasan told us that we are almost out of fuel and may not be able to even reach Parkachik Village 😯 … God, there was 95 odd KMs left to reach Kargil from there and we were like – what an adventure it would be to have a such a long walk 😉 … Thankfully, after persuading and requesting one truck driver, who was a nice chap from Jammu, for a while, he agreed to sell about 10 Litres of diesel. He was indeed God Sent!! 😀 … Thanking him, we moved ahead and it was almost about 8 Hrs now in the journey.

Running all the way towards Rangdum Village…
Running all the way towards Rangdum Village in Suru Valley
Lovely Colors in Suru Valley…
Beauty over at Kargil to Padum Road
Lovely Colors in Suru Valley…
Beauty over at Kargil to Padum Road
The Truck at Parkachik which saved those 60 Miles Walk…
The Truck at Parkachik which saved those 60 Miles Walk

This time we took the route through the villages instead of the upper route which by passes these villages en-route. It was a pretty nice experience going through those villages seeing the greenery around, children coming back from schools, playing in the meadows, some studying in those green meadows where cattle were grazing and a jaw dropping landscape in the background and all that looked like a dream or a fairy tale story/movie… We clicked few pictures here and there and continued to move ahead and after about 11 Hrs of journey we were at Kargil.

An aerial view of Parkachik Village…
An aerial view of Parkachik Village at Kargil to Padum Road
The Suru Valley – Wonderland…
The Suru Valley - Wonderland
The Suru Valley – Wonderland…
The Suru Valley - Wonderland

It was about 4.40 PM at that time when we reached Kargil. We settled the bill with Hasan after check-in at the same hotel Greenland at the same Rs 800 bucks. Then, we decided to have a stroll on the roads of Kargil in search of river side location but that was very far so opted against it in the end. We searched for some food but chapatis were not available anywhere at that time and only rice was available. Even eggs were out of stock and was not available anywhere 😥 … Finally, decided to go with some mix. veg and dahi/curd with juices at the Shangri La hotel!! Took the print outs of the airline tickets for day after tomorrow from Srinagar as Kargil was the last point where we would be able to get them. Never wanted to take risk with Srinagar as we came to know there was also a two day bandh there at that time. Went back to hotel, called up Feroz and lucking he was there in Kargil only and available for tomorrow to take us back to Srinagar. Rested for a while, had some gupshups and again at about 9.30 PM went out for dinner at the same hotel. This time went to Las Vegas restaurant but there as well no rotis/chapatis available. Had some rice and finally went back to hotel and called off the VERY long day 🙂

The Journey ahead…

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

24 Comments

  1. ripansays on

    @dheeraj bhai:
    I heard that Zanskar valley is open for all.

    If we start from Kargil at morning june 28 2015, By bus [if bus not available] then by private taxi, for KArgil-Rangdum-Padum-Zanskar & back to Kargil/Leh/Manali – whatever is suitable option.

    So…
    # I am seeking an itinerary
    # by bus How many days & cost?
    # by taxi how many days & cost ?

    -Ripan

      • Sorry bro… actually I posted the same query in another thread at DoW too. Sorry for that.
        I checked link of the itinerary u have given.
        I will reach Kargil June 28 evening. Have to be in Leh on July 03 evening.

        But tell me first 2 points:
        1. PLS as there is ANY PERMIT ISSUE FOR BANGLADESHIS or not. [pls DONT SAY AGAIN ‘Permit from home ministry’ 🙂 .]
        2. Can I exit near Alchi so that I can stay the night there & do the sightseeing the sham valley? or Kargil is the only option to come back from Padum?

        If we cant go upto Padum, U may suggest upto Rangdum & watching Nun-Kun in the itinerary.
        Pls mention the bus options too & the cost for we, 2 persons.

        – Ripan

  2. Boss,
    We are 6 guys palnning to visit Leh/ Ladak / Kargil from 30th afternoon to 6th night of october.
    Pl. let us know which are the best place to visit????
    Also Pl. share
    1) Loadging – minimum value hotel cost
    2)Logistics – Every place visit with reserved car.. cost of every trip.
    lastly, is the right time to visit Kargil in 1st week of october to see heaven

    • October is in general cold and most of the hotels start getting closed by that time. Camps at Pangong Tso also packup. What is your starting and end point? You seem to have less number of days in hand.

  3. (1)where to break journey driving from Kargil to Padum? What all are options to stay?
    (2)durins September’14 do we need to precook accommodations or walkin would be okay in Ladakh?
    Thanks, Dheeraj

    • Hi Saurabh,

      1. Ideally it should be at Panikhar as last OK to stay PWD Guest House is there only else stay at Tongol or Purikutchey
      2. If you are OK to search here and there, it should be fine not to book anything in advance in whole Himalayas including Ladakh, Kashmir and Himachal.

  4. Hey guys,

    I am planning a trip to zanskar valley in july and want some help. I want to take a taxi from Jammu via mughal road to srinagar and then to kargil. Once we have done zanskar i want to go to Leh and fly back to delhi.. Any help in terms of logistics would be great

  5. Siddharth on

    Are these photographs in HDR? Because as you said, you use an 18-55mm but with mine the photos don’t look half as good as yours’ do.

  6. m k jagesh on

    Excellent narration. Dheeraj I plan to visit Leh on 22nd July ’13 for seven days with my wife. I would like to book an Suv but would like to share it with another couple so that the cost can be split.Pls guide us on how to go about it

    • Hello MK,

      You are going there as a couple and private taxis are very costly in Leh but you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in worst case you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are 🙂

      I hope this helps.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  7. Guys, I have been following you on FB for sometime. You guys are great source of information about travel. You inspire me so much.

    For god’s sake take me along with you next time.

    • Hi Sunil,

      I generally travel with my family or relatives only and in case I travel socially I do post all those Travel Plans on Facebook page. I will update you over next public trip, keep an eye over Facebook page 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  8. Pingback: Exploring the Zanskar Valley Wonderland | Zanskar 2012 - DeViL on WheeLs...

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