The Lamayuru Trek is a relatively tough trek for experienced trekkers. Known as the classic trek, it is a high altitude trek that takes you through barren stark landscapes of sheer grandeur and unparalleled beauty. Interspersed with an exposure to the culture and life style of remote Ladakhi villages, this trek also takes you to well known monasteries, in the heart of Zanskar. For those who yearn for the vast, remote reaches of the Himalayas, this is a trek that cannot be missed.
Day 01: Darcha, 3,350 m to Palamo, 3,600 m. This is a comfortable four hour hike, starting at about 9 a.m. and camping at 3 p.m. with time to enjoy and acclimatise to trekking, again. The trek passes the two villages of Chikka and Rarig, before crossing the bridge to Palamo.
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Day 2 : Palamo, 3600m to Jankar Sumdo, 3,860 m. A comfortable 4 hour hike over morraine. Camp site beside a shepherd's tea shop.
Day 3 : Jankar Sumdo, 3,860 m to Chumik, 4,640 m. A gentle climb to the camp site.
Day 4 : Chumik, 4,640 m to Lakong, 4,470 m past the Shingo La, 5,100 m. 6-7 hours walking. The climb to Sho\ingo La is not a hard climb by Himalayan standards. There is snow on this path till mid-July. The climb up the glacier is well-traversed and avoids obvious crevassed areas.A series of prayer flags mark the Shingo La. Witness the impressive backdrop of the Baralacha range. Descend thereafter to Lakong, 4,470 m . The route descends from snow fields, past a few rivulets to Lakong, where we camp by the Kargyak river.
Day 5 : Lakong, 4,470 m to Kargyak, 4,050 m. Cross the Kargyak river over a wooden bridge. A comfortable walk of 6-7 hours. Pass the impressive rock monolith of Gomburanjan. We cross from Himachal to Zanskar in Ladakh, Kashmir, with Kargyak being the first village on the Zanskar side. Kargyak is the highest permanent settlement in Zanskar valley.
Day 6 : Kargyak, 4,050 m to Purni, 3,700 m. 6 hours walking time. Descend from Kargyak to the small village at Tanze at 3,850 m. From there to Karu, 3,990 m, follow a trail of well-maintained chortens to Tetha village at 3,950 m. From there it is a 5 km walk to Purne at the confluence of Tsarap and Kargyak rivers.
Day 7 : Rest day with short walk to Phugtal monastery and back. The monastery, situated on a limestone cliff is impressive with an assembly hall carved out of a huge cave.
Day 8 : Purni, 3,700 m to Vipul. An easy five hour walk.
Day 9 : Vipul to Mune, 3,900 m, via Reru. Cross Reu village and cut across the Mune plateau where a beautiful monastery is located.
Day 10 : Mune, 3,900 m to Padum. A walk of 6 hours past the Bardan monastery at 3,620 m. This is considered to be the most important monastery in the valley. Belonging to the Drupka order, it has close ties with Hemis. We camp at Padum on the banks of the Tsarap river.
Day 11: Padum to Karsha. Anticipated trekking time 2 hours. The Karsha monastry is the largest in the Zanskar Valley.
Day 12 : Karsha 3,660 m to Pishu 3,470 m . 5 hours. We descend via the village of Rinam and then on to Pishu village. The end of our journey is marked by long walls with the holy inscriptions and many chortens. A monastry nearby can be visited.
Day 13: Pishu 3,470 m to Hanumil 3,380 m. 5 hours approx. At many occasions the trail goes along the Zanskar river.
Day 14: Hanumil 3,380 m. to Snertse, 3,850 m. 5 hours. The trail climbs steadily towards the Purfi La at 3,950 m. The route follows the banks of the Zanskar river. Later there is a steep descent towards the camping area. Before we climb towards Snertse, we cross the boundary between Zanskar and Ladakh at a bridge.
Day 15: Snertse, 3,850 m to Lingshet, 4,000 m. 5-6 hours. We first climb for 3-4 hours to the Hanuma La at 4,950 m. From here we have a magnificent view of the Zanskar range and the pass at Singge La. We then descend to the Lingshet monastery at 4,000 m, near which we camp.
Day 16 : Rest day at Lingshet.
Day 17: Lingshet, 4,000 m to base of Singge La, 4,550 m. 6 hours. We gradually ascend to a height of 4,280 m and continue down along the Zanskar river, past the settlement at Nirag. We then ascend to the base of the pass.
Day 18: Singge La, 4,550 m to Photaksar, 4,200m. 6 hours. Initially, there is a steep climb over scree for approximately 2 hours. The pass at 5,050 m can be translated as the Lion Pass. This is the highest point of the trek. Thereafter we descend to the village where we camp. The village has two small monasteries which are attached to the monastery at Lamayuru.
Day 19: Photaksar, 4,200 m to Honu Patta, 3,760 m. 6 hours. The trail ascends gradually up the valley to Sisir La. From here we descend to the village which is marked by three chortens as we approach. There are some tea houses here.
Day 20: Honu Patta, 3,760 m to Waniah, 3,250 m. We descend to the Photang river where it enters a gorge. The valley widens and we reach Phanjila, with it's beautiful apricot orchards.
Day 21: Waniah, 3,250 m to Lamayuru, 3,420 m. A short 3-4 hour walk takes us to our destination at Lamayuru. The monastery is very famous.
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.