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Ladakh - Nomads of Rupshu Kharnak and Changthang

Markha valley also known as Hemis high altitude national park is largest protected area in Ladakh. This park is home of endangered species of mammals, among them are elegant snow leopard, Tibetan antelope, Kiang. Markha valley is favorite trekking destination in Indian Himalaya with its stark lunar landscape and valley floor dotted with green patches of barley fields. Rupshu is situated in southwest of Ladakh and home of thousands of Changpa nomads roaming in vast plateau with their flocks of sheep, producing finest pashmina wool. The Tsomoriri is a long slender female like lake below at the foot of highest peak in Rupshu region Lungser Kangri 6666m. Karzok is main village situated west bank of lake and connected with road to Leh city.

We start our trek from Leh by driving up to Chilling village - an ancient village and cross the great Zanskar River by ropeway to Skiu village in Markha valley, we trek along the Markha River and cross villages and barley fields up to Hankar where we trek to Zalung Karpo la and enter in to vast section of Rupshu regions. Later crossing passes of Yar la we arrive at headquarter of nomads at Sangtha. Crossing norbu la we reach at Pang a small tea stops on Manali Leh highway.

Ladakh: Karzok village and lake Tsomoriri




Trip Length: 24 days.

Trip Grade: Moderate to Strenuous,

Best Season: Mid June to End September,

Highest Elevation: 5200 m.


Day 01. Arrival in New Delhi

Day 02. New Delhi - Leh flight

Day 03. Leh. Acclimatize.

Day 04. Leh. Acclimatize.

Day 05. Leh - Spituk - Zingchen

Day 06. Trek to Yurutse

Day 07. Trek to Ganda la pass to Skiu

Day 08. Trek to Markha

Day 09. Trek to Thachungtse

Day 10. Trek to Langthang Chu

Day 11. Trek to Zalung karpo la - Sorra

Day 12. Trek to Dat

Day 13. Trek to Yar la - Lungmo che

Day 14- Trek to Pogmar

Day 15. Trek to Nomadic camp

Day 16. Trek to Numah

Day 17. Trek to Zozingo

Day 18. Trek to Thargang

Day 19: Trek to  Manechan la -Lato

Day 20: Trek to Kyangdom

Day 21: Trek to Karzok

Day 22: Trek to Karzok Phu

Day 23: Drive to Keylong

Day 24: Drive to Manali.

Day 25: Drive to New Delhi.

Day 26: Fly home. 

26 days Cost Includes:

·         Hotel accommodation at 3 star basis New Delhi, Manali and Leh.

·         Transportation as per itinerary.

·         Sight seeing as per itinerary.

·         Domestic flight New Delhi – Leh, Leh – New Delhi.

·         Meals.

·         Staff: Well English speaking local Guide, cook, kitchen helpers, trekking mules/horse.

·         All trekking and camping gear.

·         Camp fee and national park fees.

·         Medical supplies.


Cost excludes:

·         Sleeping bags,

·         Alcohal bevarages and soft drinks.

·         Personal laundry,

·         Personal insurance.

·         Entrance fee at monasteries.

·         Personal Tipping.



21 days Cost includes:

·         Trekking and camping gear. 2 men sharing tent. Dining tent.

·         Transportation per itinerary.

·         Manali – Delhi deluxe bus.

·         All meals.

·         Staff: Well English speaking local guide, cook, kitchen helper, Trekking mules.

·         Camp fee.

·         Medical supplies.


Cost excludes: 

  • Hotel accommodation.
  • Domestic flight fare.
  • Sleeping bag.
  • Alcoholic bevarages and soft drinks.
  • Personal insurance. personal laundry.
  • Entrance fee at monasteries.


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Ladakh: Nomads of Rupshu Kharnak and Changthang trek itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in New Delhi
Arrival in New Delhi international airport. Transfer to hotel.


Day 02: New Delhi - Leh
Transfer to domestic airport. Fly to Leh.


Day 03: Leh Sight seeing: Shey, Thiksey, Hemis monasteries and Stok palace
Today after breakfast we visit local sight seeing in around Leh. Important places to visit around Leh. We visit Shey, Thiksey, Hemis monasteries with Stok palace at the end.


Day 04: Leh - Phayang - Alchi - Leh.
Today at first we visit Phyang monastery at a distance of 40 kms from the west of Leh. Tashi Chozong at Pyang build in around 1515 AD. Main attraction of Phyang monstery is 900 yrs old museum It has a large collections of thankas, idols and Chinese Tibetan and Mangolians firearms and weapons. The festival of Phyang Gang SngonaTsedup held every year. After we visit ancient monatery of Alchi. Situated at a distance of 67 kms from Leh. Lies in the barren mountain valley of river Indus. Alchi is famous for its wall paintings of the 11th century. Wall painting It reflects the ancient artitic details of both hinduism and Buddhism. Founded and built by Rinchen Zangpo in 1000 AD.


Day 05: Leh - Spituk - Zingchen 3700m. 5 hrs.
Today after breakfast we drive to Spituk at a distance of 7 kms from Leh. We make a short visit to Spituk monastery and start our trek from Spituk bridge on Indus river behind the monastery. We gradually trek on plain, dry and exposed area where we might need sun proctections. We continue to trek till Zingchen valley where Rumbak river flows to River Indus.  We camp at a small village of Zingchen.  


Day 06: Zingchen - Yurutse 4100m, 5 hrs.
Today leaving Zingchen behind we trek towards Rumbak village and enter in Hemis national park.  A unique region in Himalaya for Snow leopard conservancy. Now valley wides as we arrive Rumbak village. We camp below Ganda la pass at Yurutse.


Day 07: Yurutse - Ganda la 4900 m - Skiu 3300m, 6-7 hrs.
Today we ascend to Ganda la pass. Enroute spectacular view of Stok Kangri 6153m and Stok range. It is a 2 hrs climb to Ganda la pass from Yurutse. At top prayers flags and Chorten ( Stupas) are usual Buddhist marks can be found. After pass a long descend to Shingo where we stop for lunch. After Shingo we descend through narrow gorge and at the end of gorge Skiu village. Evening we visit Skiu monastery and visit local house. Overnight camp.


Day 08: Skiu - Markha 3710m, 17 kms. 7 hrs. trek
Today we trek along the markha river on valley floor with level path. We cross several summer settlements with prayer flags and lhato. The valley floor of Markha contains fertile terrain. Barley fields is main vegetation throughout markha valley. We trek along the right bank of river and cross Chaluk and later trek along the lef bank of river, finally arrive at Markha village. The main village in Markha with largest population. After hot drinks and refreshment at camp in late afternoon we visit monastery and ruin fort of Markha village. Overnight camp.


Day 09: Markha - Thachungtse 4200m, 6 hrs. trek.
Today leaving Markha village behind we trek along the river and crossing it several times. We pass the Umlung village and its monastery after this village first view of Kangyatse 6400m can be seen, dominating the entire valley. This favoulus peak can remain in sight till Thachungtse. We break for lunch at Hankar village. Hankar is first and last village in valley before Kongmaru la and Zalung Karpo la. We continue to Thachungtse campsite with fantastic high pasture land.


Day 10: Thachungtse - Base of Zalung Karpo la
Today an early breakfast with early departure from camp, due to increasing level of water in Langthang chu especially afternoon when snow melts at higher altitude. we trek  along the ridge and descend to Langhang valley. It is remote area with numbers of  wild animals blue sheeps can be seen roaming in. We follow the Langthang valley and cross stream and trek along the left of chu ( stream ). Than climb to base of Zalung Karpo la camp site.


Day 11: Zalung Karpo la - Sorra 4300m 5-6 hrs.
An ealry breakfast with early start to obtain a good morning light and sun. With our second pass of the trek We climb to Zalung Karpo la 5200m from top an impressive view of main Zanskar range and high plateau of Rupshu and Changthang. After pass we are in Rupshu Kharnak valley. A valley home of thousands of Ladakhi nomads roaming in this high grazing land during summer time looking after their flocks of pashmina sheeps and goats with yak and dzo.  We descend steep in mountain deserted sand. We cross the river and arrive at beautiful camp site Sorra.


Day 12: Sorra - Dat 4200m. 5 hrs. trek
Today relatively comfortable day. We trek along the river and at Tangse sumdo trail and valley divide to two direction. To the right valley and trail leads to great Jumlam gorge and river joins to Khurna. To the left to Dat and Yar la pass. We enter to left hand valley to our main destination of Karzok and  meeting nomads of Rupshu and Changthang. We arrive at Dat where there is monastery  of Gelukpa sect.


Day 13: Dat - Yar la 4950m - Lungmo Che, 5-6 hrs. trek
From Dat we are approaching to a vast plateau of Rupshu and than Changthang. Climbing to Yar la pass is not relatively exhausting. Prayer flags, red mani stones and Lhato at the top of pass relatively will speak to you about the ancient and present nomads of Kharnak who had and has offer and prays at top. An easy descent to Lungmo che pasture with nice campsite with surrounded snow capped mountains. Should not be miss to see twinkling star night especially in the high plateau.


Day 14: Lungmo Che - Pogmar 4600m
Today leaving Lungmoche behind we cross a small pass and pass by mani walls. This pass divides Lungmoche from Sangtha area. Pogmar is small nomadic settlements. We descend down to small canyon  to village of Sangtha. We cross Zara chu river and continue to Pogmar village which is last nomadic settlement in this plateau, nomads settle here during automn time.


Day 15: Pogmar - Pogmar la 4900m - nomadic camp

Leaving behind Pogmar village. We gradually ascend to Pogmar la and enter in more plains. Spectacular view from Pogmar la of nomadic campment and white pieces of cotton spread like grazing sheeps can be seen from top. We cross the national highway on more plains which stretch 40 kms and camp close to nomadic camp for overnight stay. 



Day 16: Nomadic camp - Numah
Today we trek on vast plain of Changthang plateau for several hours than arrive at the  end of plateau. At the right edge of plateau Pang encampment is located we intersect to left end of plateau end and descend down to canyon. We cross the stream and trek further to  Numah river camp. Beutiful campsite with great view of natural sand formation.


Day 17: Numah – Daktago - Thelakongla ( 4980 m ) – Zozogang 4730 m. 7-8 hrs. trek

Today after breakfast we steadly follow the same stream, We cross Berma chu and Shermer chu. Berma chu comes all the way from Berma la that leads to Tsokar. we take the left side stream of Sumkhel Lungpa before thelakong la. A good view from Thelakongla pass 4980 mtrs. After this pass we enter in Phirse phu valley which ends at South bank of Tsomoriri lake. A Changpa nomads can be seen below this pass with flocks of sheeps. We continue trek along the yet another stream which goes towards Tsomoriri lake. Overnight camp at Daururu.


Day 18: Zozingo - Thargang
Yesterday we cross Thelakong la pass, today after camp we continue to trek along the left bank of Phirtse phu for several hours. On left side hills are white snowy peaks and right across terrain are with wonderful colors. We pass Khalad and arrive at the nomadic temporary settlement of Thargang. Just before Thargang a another trail to left to Kamlung leads of Tarang la to Karzok phu, with steep climb to Tarang la. Overnight camp at Thargang.


Day 19: Thargang - Lato
Today after wonderful campsite in amazing morning sun we trek along the left bank of stream and after climb to Manechan la pass, its not so high pass what relatively easy pass to cross. At pass we can see prayer flags and skulls of Blue sheep, goat, and sheep as offering. We cross stream several times and most of trek on river bed. We stop for lunch at grassy edges of stream.  Always be aware to keep notice of natural things happeing all around. This area is much more active for wildlife activities. hare can be seen jumping in small bushes. Himalayan pika can be seen in hiding and sneaking in small patch of stones, may even find birds nest on open ground. There are no tree at all so birds only plance to make nest is open ground. We camp at Lato with great view of right hill across river.


Day 20: Lato - Kyangdom
Today after Lato we continue to trek along the left of river. We trek on the river bed with pebbles that interestingly keeping attention, we cross the stream for several time. We pass Kulmoche and now valley becomes narrow. We sharply ascend to edge on foot of hill and turn left hand. Arriving at small hill a marvellous and magnificient view of lake Tsomoriri and Kyangdom. Far across lake Chamser and Lungser Kangri peak dominating the region.  We could see the huge delta of Phirtse phu river in the lap of Tsomoriri lake. At the southern end of lake mouth of Tsomoriri lake heading towards Norbu sumdo to join Parechu river. We descend down to the beach of lake and camp at Kyangdom. Simply Kyang means wild ass that roam around lake.


Day 21: Kyangdom - Karzok Phu
Today an early breakfast to leave the lovely campsite as we have to  trek along the eastern shore of lake for long hours and trekking of shore of lake makes exhausting with some places on semi sand. Wild geese are often at the shore of lake with keeping attention on Twin peak of Chamser and Lunger and awesome. On left hill Mentok peaks are faboulus.  We pass by many nomadic camps of Rile, Kele, Sanchanglung, Kharlung, Zerlung and marlung. We cross by rocky path and see reflects of peaks of lake. Just after Zerlung Marlung we climb sharply and arrive on a small pass from where first glimpse of Karzok village can be seen. We descend down and arrive at the fields of Karzokpa. We cross a stream just before Karzok. There are campsite beside Karzok, We keep trekking on the left hand valley that leads to Karzok phu where most of nomadic settlements are in movement. We trek along the left bank of stream for 1 hr , stream which is source from Tarang la and Metok massif. Overnight camp.


Day 22: Karzok Phu
Today we explore the nomadic life,  visit yak tent and have tea, chang and tsampa. Take photographs, play with children, or have fun with olds Changpas or if you want or if you wish to climb small hill than an early departure is good. To have entire view of lake and Karzok. Or afternoon just relax in camp.


Day 23: Karzok - Keylong
An early breakfast today and early trek from camp to Karzok. We trek back to Karzok and make short visit to monastery and our jeep will be waiting us for our onward journey to Keylong in Lahaul. We leave Karzok and drive to Tsokar and join national highway we pass by Pang and cross passes of Lachulang la , Baralachala pass. After Sarchu we enter in Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal pradesh. Here landscape changes to white capped mountains and Lahaul means valley of mountains and glacier. We pass Darcha and wonderful route to Keylong with willows tree along the route. Lahauli are known as Garjapa to Ladakh and has close relation with Ladakh and Zanskar. Overnight stay in hotel at Keylong.


Day 24: Keylong - Manali 2040m. 116 kms. 6 hrs.
Today we leave Keylong and drive along the right banks of Bhaga river. We cross Billing nallah and village. At Tandi where Bhaga and Chandra joins to form Chenab river. We cross bridge and follow the right bank of Chandra river till Koksar bridge. All along the route beautiful villages of Gondala, Sissu. Route climbs to Rohtang pass 3978m which is gateway of Lahaul and now we enter in Kullu valley. We descend to Marhi, Kothi and finally to Manali. Overnight in hotel.


Day 25: Manali - New Delhi
Today after breakfast explore the local sight seeing in around Manali. Visit Hadimba devi temple, Manu rishi temple at old Manali and visit Vashisht hot sulpher springs. Afternoon visit local market and Tibetan monastery. Evening drive to New Delhi with volvo bus sleeper coach.


Day 26: New Delhi - Fly home
Arrival in New Delhi from Manali at 06:00 -07:00 hrs. Transfer to hotel. Evening transfer to international airport and flyback to home town.





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