On the Way to Zanskar

I took a local bus from Leh to Zanskar, passing through Kargil, a Muslim town right up next to the 'line of control' with Pakistan. This was during Ramadan, and the call to prayer was broadcast at ear-splitting levels starting at around 3:30 a.m. Not very good for sleep, so you'd have to get up to take it all in--crystal clear stars, still air, and hundreds of figures silently padding along the streets to the mosque. Very powerful.

Keeping the route open

Owing to the geology and engineering of roads in this region, you never go too far without seeing a slide. Often the army stations 'dozers in key spots prone to slipping. This was a relatively small one, and only took a few minutes to clear. All thoughout Northern India, transport is a problem. The roads are very narrow in most places, and despite the Army's best efforts, a slide, or just a stalled truck, can halt traffic for hours or more.

Friends having a cup o' tea

One of the nicer hotels in Rangdum, Zanskar Valley. OK, the rooms were a little small, but check out the view.

Pensi La

Here's Natalie (she IS photogenic, isn't she --hope you don't mind, Nat...)on Pensi La, which the bus crawled up, and fairly zoomed down the other side. The glacier here comes right down to the valley bottom, although locals tell tales of the ice being much more extensive just 20 years ago. (An Inconvenient Truth, if you will...) At just under 14,000', this pass marks the major hurdle to Zanskar travel from outside points. Only opened in the late '80's this place is a truly spectacular spot, made all the more special when you've traveled 10 hours by bus to get here. It's another 5 hours to reach Padum, today's destination, and from where I started my trek. We averaged 15 km. per hour. The road is very bumpy, and the buses not the best.

Sheasworth 2006-2007 |Grand Canyon | Australia | India
2004 |Sea Kayaking NZ and Fiji | New Zealand South Island | Vietnam | Northern Laos | India | Germany | Welcome to Australia