New Delhi: Zanskar, which lies southwest of Ladakh is a haven for people who love adventure and is known largely for its daring Frozen River/Chadar Trek in winter and adrenaline-pumping white water rafting experience in summer. It is an offbeat destination, which is part of the Kargil District in Ladakh and has some of the most spectacular views in the union territory. Often referred to as the ‘Country of Dharma’, the region is associated with Guru Padmasambhava and the great yogi Naropa and has a Buddhist majority.
Zanskar is a popular hiking destination for adventure junkies. In addition to the Chadar Trek, there are a number of thrilling treks in the area, such as the Lamayuru to Darcha and Lamayuru-Padum treks, which take you past isolated settlements and provide breathtaking views. Additionally, the Zanskar River’s Grade IV rapids make for a great white-water rafting adventure.
Moreover, the gorgeous valley of Zanskar is where one can come across the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers at a place known as Sangam Point. The meeting place tucked away between two magnificent desert mountains, is nature’s own handicraft.
Apart from treks and adventures, another thing that Zanskar is famous for is the Zanskar Festival held at its capital Padum. This year is the seventh edition of this grand festival.
Zanskar Festival: What is it all about?
An annual event known as the Spitok Gutor Zanskar Festival is conducted at several monasteries around Ladakh for two days. The triumph of good over evil is celebrated throughout this festival. This festival is especially observed in the monasteries of reformist Gelukpa, an order of Tibetan Buddhism in India, some of them being Spituk, Thiksay, and Karsha.
For “sacrifice on the 29th day,” the name Spitok Gutor Zanskar is used. The black hat dance is the main attraction during the festival. A Buddhist monk is depicted in the dance as having killed King Lang-Dar-Ma in the ninth century. An additional mask is worn by the black hat dancers. The”argham” ends the celebration. Additionally, a sacrificial cake is sliced to signal the conclusion of the festivities.
Zanskar Festival: Celebrations in the year 2022
The seventh edition of the Zanskar festival is scheduled to take place on September 29 and 30 at Padum, in Zanskar. This event is intended to honour and highlight the rich cultural history of Zanskar. It is meant to be a true reflection of Ladakh’s culture, traditions, and cuisines while also showcasing regional handicrafts, artwork, local dance and music genres, and even traditional sports like archery and horse racing. Additionally, the event will highlight the Zanskar area of the Kargil district’s pure and distinctive beauty.
In addition to these, the event this year will celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
The monasteries of Zanskar:
The Zanskar area contains several little villages, some of which are home to well-known monasteries. However, access to these monasteries is only possible on foot as many of the local villages are not connected by roads.
There are at least eight monasteries in this region, namely Rangdum Gonpa, Sani Gompa, Zangla Temple, Zongskul Gompa, Karsha Gompa, Stongday Gompa, Phugtal Gompa, and Bardan Gompa.
Best time to visit Zanskar:
The monsoon months between July and September are considered the best time to visit Zanskar. During that time, the temperature is between 15°C and 35°C, and since Zanskar is situated at a high altitude, it does not receive much rain in the monsoon season. It starts snowing in Zanskar from the month of October, so if one wishes to enjoy the snow or do the famous Chadar River trek, it is best to visit Zanskar during winter.