Distance : 84.5 miles (136 km)
Avg.Time : 7 days
Start / Finish :
- Lamayuru – Padum
- With recent road developments, it is now possible to start the trail in Honupatta, thus avoiding a road walk from Wanlah. This would shorten the hike by some 25km. Private transport to Honupatta can be arranged in Lamayuru.
- A similar story for the last section of the hike from Zangla (you need to cross the river from Pishu) or Rinam back to Padum. If you end up choosing this option, be sure to take the time to visit the spectacular Karsha Gompa before leaving Padum.
- Both Lamayuru and Padum are serviced by regular buses from Leh.
- The monastery at Lamayuru is incredible. Definitely worth a day or two before setting out on your trek.
- I would recommend linking this trail up with the Padum – Serchu (or Darcha) trek. This will bring you out on the Leh-Manali road, from where transport regularly runs in both directions.
Season : June to October.
Maps / Info :
- Loemann Series 1:200,000 Leh, Zanskar and Nubra Valley [Sheet 3]
- In addition to the Loemann map, I used the trekking notes and basic map contained in Lonely Planet’s Trekking in the Indian Himalaya.
- A better option than the Loemann map, is the Olizane Editions 1:150,000 Ladakh/Zanskar [Centre]. It may be possible to buy this map at the Ladakh Bookshop in Leh, however, it would be a safer bet to purchase it online before leaving home.
Route / Conditions :
- A challenging route over numerous high passes. Be sure to spend time in Leh and/or Lamayuru acclimatising before setting out.
- There is a wonderful, less trodden alternative to the standard Honupatta / Sisir La / Photoskar section of the route. Two or three kilometres before reaching Honupatta, the road from Wanlah doglegs to the East. At this point there is a trail heading south along the Photang river. This path winds its way through some of the most spectacular gorge scenery imaginable, until eventually reaching the river’s source just before Sinnge La. Around this same juncture you rejoin the standard trail to Padum.
- Bring all provisions from Leh, but note that basic provisions can be bought at Photaksar and Lingshet. There are also seasonal parachute tents along the route where it may be possible to supplement your supplies.
- All water collected downstream from human settlement, agriculture or animals grazing should be treated.
- Bring your own tent.
- Accommodation can sometimes be arranged at villages along the way, however, this is by no means guaranteed.
- Highlights included: the spectacularly situated monasteries of Lamayuru and Karsha; the gorge walk along the Photang river; the descent from Hanuma La to the Zingchen Tokpo, and; most memorable of all, the hospitality and kindness I received from the villagers of Machu and the monks of Lingshet Gompa.
- Note that if you are hiking in a group, staying at Lingshet Gompa may not be an option due to limited space. Nonetheless, it is possible to camp nearby and attend morning prayers if you so choose.