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Zanskar River Rafting Expedition in Ladakh (J&K) By Red Chilli Adventures
Close to the Tibet border, Ladakh perhaps is one of the remotest parts of India and western Ladakh is more so. On this river adventure we take you through the lesser known wonders of the area. This adventure is like no other, it transports you to an entirely new culture. So, get ready for monasteries, drums, fluttering prayer flags, canyons and some of the best whiter water the country has to offer.
Delhi – Leh: Just an hour long, the flight from Delhi to Leh is anything but bothersome. Enroute you get to pass over some breathtaking Himalayan ranges. Take a peek below as you pass over K2, one of the highest peaks in India. Once in Leh you need to get acclimatized to the altitude of 11,000 ft! Therefore the first night we simply transfer to a hotel and prepare for the coming days.
Leh – Take this day to just hang around Leh. You can also walk around Leh and get a feel of the culture. A visit to the Thikse and Hemis monasteries will be organised, or visit the Ecological Centre or walk around Leh and get a feel of the culture intact which is perfect for taking a souvenir back home or just take in the sight of the magnificent white peaks against the brown arid land. We spend the night at Leh to drive the next morning to Kargil.
Leh- Kargil. The drive to Kargil over the Fotu La Pass at 14,000 ft. is spectacular. One will stop at the Lamayuru Monastery that belongs to the ‘Red Hat’ sect. Also, we will stop at the stone statue of the Maitreya and future Buddha at Mulbek. Overnight stay at Kargil Hotel.
Kargil-Rangdum. Spend most of the day driving from Kargil to Rangdum. As we go through Panikar and Parkachik, we take in awesome sights of the twin peaks Nun and Kun, both above 7000mt, numerous hanging glaciers and lush meadows. Camp overnight.
Rangdum-Remala. The days of ‘no river’ come to an end as this is the last day that we drive around. We travel over the Pensi La pass at 14,000ft to enter the Zanskar valley and get some amazing views of the Drung Durung glacier and the Zanskar range. The starting point for the expedition is on the Doda River, a tributary of Zanskar, at Remala. Get a good night’s sleep at the camp here as one anticipates the first day on the river.
Remala–Karsha. After a talk on safety procedures and basic instructions for paddling by our experienced and competent river guides you are ready to start your expedition. The river begins with a grade III section, a great way to get your body accommodated for the heavy oaring ahead. It also works as a good introduction to river rafting for the first timers. Raft for about 4 hours with a lunch break on the river .Set up camp at the confluence of the Doda & the Tsarap Chu rivers. Once settled one can choose to rest and enjoy the camp or hike up to the Karsh Monastery. Camp overnight.
Karsha-Honia. It is advisable to get up exceptionally early today to catch the first rays of sunlight on the Karsha Monastry. It makes for some picture perfect moments. After this we get on to the river and head out to Honia. Paddling through some Grade III rapids we enter the Zanskar Canyon. The Valley narrows down as you pass through some Higher Himalyan ranges. We finally find an appropriate beach spot to camp overnight.
Honia-Nyerak. We set moving down the river for almost 25 Km to enter through the canyon to reach Nyerak via a couple of grade III rapids. At Honimul, which is the last village in this stretch we enter a magnificent Canyon. The river banks which were until then sandy beaches now turn into great mountain walls, hundreds of feet above you. After running a few more rapids we stop over lunch on the river, continue to raft some more before finally calling it a day and setting up a camp below the Nyerak village. This campsite is one of the few sites in the canyon where one can camp and is perfect for a Layover day to explore the area.
Layover Day. This is a day earmarked for rest. You could choose to hike to the Nyerak village, mingle with the locals and visit their homes, or relax and enjoy a break under the Weeping Willows, splash about in the camp stream and get ready for another exciting day on the river. Camp overnight.
Nyerak-Lamaguru. A 35 km river journey marked with grade IV rapids takes us through the core of the Zanskar canyon and brings us to Lamaguru at the confluence with Markha River. Break for lunch at a beautiful site by a waterfall from the canyon wall. Further along paddle through the stunning Red canyon and camp for the night. You’ll be surprised to see that at this high altitude the sky is nothing less the bejeweled sheet. So sleep with some great sight over ahead and the lull of the rushing river nearby.
Lamaguru-Nimu. This is another section with grade IV rapids and is also unfortunately our last day on the river. We begin this Journey from Lamaguru and stop only when we reach Nimu. This stretch has its own thrills and as soon as we pass the Chilling village we are greeted by some exciting white water as the Zanskar gets ready to meet with the River Indus below at Nimu. From here we drive back to Leh where we get back to civilization and shirk of the wilderness with a much needed hot shower. You can spend the day getting over your fatigue or finish some of that last minute shopping. Overnight stay at Leh hotel.
Leh-Delhi. The flight back to Delhi will take you over the Great Himalayas and allow you to bid farewell to the mythical land of Ladakh, until next time! We know you’ll be back!
You will live in 4 season tents to withstand weather extremes, if any on the trip. Other items of personal nature need to be added by you especially personal medication, if any. Temperatures are going to vary between 25-30 degrees Celsius to 5-10 degrees at night. Long pants and long shirts are handy because of the strong sun in the mountains.
Note: we can arrange down sleeping bag on your request at an extra cost of Rs 100 per day.
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