Places : Zanskar, Suru Valley, Kargil
Ladakh in the extreme northern state of Jammu & Kashmir is considered to be the most challenging region of the entire Himalayan range. Most of the time it is referred as the Trans Himalayan Zone because of its position between the Great Himalayan Range and the vast Tibetan plateau. This is one of the major reason why this barren desert land is a favourite with trekkers and extreme sports lovers.
The Trekking Regions in Ladakh
Trekking options within Ladakh include short, daylong walks up and down mountains to visit remote villages or monastic settlements. The longer duration Trans-Himalayan treks involve weeks of walking and camping in the wild and barren region of Ladakh. Among the high altitude treks is the trek from Lamayuru in the Indus valley to Darcha in Lahaul across Zanskar that takes nearly three weeks to come to its conclusion. Most of the established routes pass through the Zanskar range, which separates the Indus valley from Zanskar.
The Lamayuru-Padum trek and the Stok-Khangri trek are the more popular trek tours among the numerous options available in this cold desert of Ladakh. In recent years, parts of the Ladakh range between the Indus and Shayok valleys have also become available for trekking.
Zanskar :A totally untouched and least explored region of Ladakh is Zanskar, which is easily catching up as a favourite destination for trekkers. The trekking destination to check out in Zanskar is Padum, the centre for hard but rewarding treks to Manali via the Shingo-la, Kishtwar via the Umasi-la, and Lamayuru and Leh via difficult routes through the Zanskar range.
Suru Valley :Next comes the lower altitude region of the Suru valley, offering spectacular views of Nun-Kun and its attendant peaks. Trekking expeditions to this valley mostly take off from Panikhar village, which is also the base for long treks that takes the trekker in the direction of Kashmir and Kishtwar. Other trekking bases from Suru are the monastic settlements of Sanku, further down the valley, and Rangdum.
:Located in an ideal location within the centre of the Himalayan region, Kargil is one destination of Ladakh with tremendous potentials for adventure activities. Kargil serves as an important base for adventure tours in the heart of Himalayas. It is also the take off station for visitors to the heaven of exotic Himalayan locales, Zanskar Valley. Tourists travelling between Srinagar and Leh have to make a night halt at Kargil before starting off the second leg of their trekking journey.
Tips for Ladakh Trekking -
Special permits are required for visitors going to the Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Rupshu. You have to submit two photographs and photocopies of relevant pages of your passport for the permit. The permits are usually valid for seven days and are issued to groups of four or more travelling together. Several photocopies of the permits should be made as they need to be produced at the various checkpoints in the Ladakh region.
Precautions Required -
Although the days may be quite warm evenings tend to get chilly, even in summer in places like Leh. So pack sufficient protective clothing, including something to keep off the chilling winds, which whoosh down the mountains; they're deathly cold. Make sure to carry some Vitamin C and aspirin tablets for the high altitude regions. The scorching sun in the day can result in sunburn, so carry a protective lotion, hat and sunglasses. While trekking, take along your own food and plenty of fluid, preferably in the form of bottled water. The entire region of Ladakh - except for parts of the Nubra Valley is very dry, and if you're not careful, there's a risk of dehydration.