The Kang La was the traditional route used by Lahaulis (people from Lahaul) to cross over into Zanskar and on to Ladakh. It is one of the high passes on the Great Himalayan range where you crossover from Himachal into Ladakh which is the Trans Himalaya.
There is a 24 km long, crevasse infested glacier we trek on to reach this pass. An extremely remote and unfrequented trek, this rewards the people who do it with some stunning scenery. Massive meadows carpeted with wild flowers, Gaddi shepherds with their huge flocks, sparkling streams, pristine glacial lakes, snow mountains all around and a long glacier, are just some from the trek before crossing the Kang La. Once you do, we enter another different world- "The Kingdom of Zanskar" with its arid lands and monasteries built into mountain sides and people so primitive that we feel we have just gone back in time.
Miyar Nala, as it is often known, is an exceptionally long valley, with the Miyar river running down into the Chandra Bhaga river at Udaipur over 50 kilometers below the Miyar Glacier. Starting in Miyar valley where wild flowers abound, the trek to Kang La (pass) involves traversing over the 24 km long Miyar glacier and a climb up to 5468 m.
Day 01: Overnight Bus from Delhi to Manali
We board the overnight Volvo which starts from Himachal Bhawan at Mandi House in Delhi. Buses generally depart between 5:30 to 7:00pm in the evenings.
Day 02: Arrive Manali
Arrive Manali(1950m) in the morning and transfer to Hotel. Spend the day resting and doing any last minute shopping.
Day 03: Drive Manali to Shukto (approx 8 hrs)
This is a long driving day. We make an early start and drive over the Rohtang Pass (3980m) to enter Lahaul Valley. We remain on the Manali-Leh Highway until we reach Tandi which is the point of confluence of Chandra and Bhaga Rivers which originate from Baralacha La pass in J&K state. We then turn west and follow drive along the Chandra-Bhaga River until we reach Udaipur, where the Miyar river which empties itself into the Chandra-Bhaga. Udaipur is a sub-divisional headquarters of Lahaul and gets its name from Raja Udai Singh of Chamba. It was renamed in 1695 from its old name Margul. It is famous for 2 unique temples – Trilokinath and Margul Devi. From here we turn North-East, and follow the Miyar River till we reach Urgus and further on to Shukto, the roadhead.
Day 04: Trek to Thanpattan
After we crossover on the wooden pedestrian bridge to the left bank it is a short climb up to Khanjer, the last village in the Miyar Valley.The road now goes all the way to this village and is a dirt track. We walk all along the left bank crossing some beautiful campsites at Doksa to reach Tharpatan.(5 to 6 hrs)
Day 05: Trek to Zardong
The change in gradient is gradual and most campsites are big and grassy and abound with little flowers seeming like a flower carpet.From Gumba Nala we turn Northwest and continue to follow the Miyar Nallah to reach our beautiful Campsite at Zardung. (5 to 6 hrs)
Day 06: Trek to Phalpu, the snout of the glacier
We walk on towards Kesar Yon Chhap(meaning 7 holy waters), another beautiful campsite. There are several stream crossings all along the way and surrounded by peaks throughout. We go further ahead to camp at Phalpu which is very close to the snout of the Miyar Glacier.The campsite is on a dry lake bed and is surrounded by mountains and glacial lakes.(4 to 5 hrs)
Day 07: Trek to Camp 1(4400m) on the glacier
We trek for about 1 hr to reach the snout of the glacier and continue on through difficult moraine and enormous snowfields. There are also many glacial lakes that we pass and camp on the glacier. A tough day of about 7 hrs. We are surrounded by snow capped peaks all around.
Day 08: Trek to Camp 2(4870m) - Kangla Jot Base
An early start to make the walk on snow easier (4hrs). The climb is gentle, and depending on the snow conditions and open crevasses the total time can vary till our campsite which is the base of Kangla Jot. We camp on a field on the glacier with snowy mountains and glaciers all around.Amazing view all around , all snowy peaks and glaciers.6 - 7 hrs.
Day 09: Cross Kang La (5450m) and descend to the other base (4400m)
Leave camp by first daylight or earlier. We walk along the middle of the huge snow covered glacier at a gentle incline for about 3 hrs, then rope up. Climb steeply for about an hour until a small summit. We zig zag our way around some crevasses to Kangla Jot pass (5450m). You are rewarded with stupendous views of snow capped peaks and glistening glaciers all around. We descend along the right side of the valley to the river, the junction of 2 valleys where we camp in a small meadow. (8 to 9 hrs)
Day 10: Trek to Bardan(3670m). Drive to Padum
Descend on rocks and scree and follow an easy path by the Tema River through grazing grounds and meadows with flowers. The landscape gets more arid and stunning as you enter the Zanskar valley and the road head - back to civilization .We follow a rough jeep track for 2 km to Bardan gompa set dramatically atop a riverside cliff. Meet with vehicles and drive to Padum, the district headquarters of Zanskar (1 hrs). Later we drive to Karsha to see the monastery spread across a cliffside, the largest and most dramatic in Zanskar. Camp is in the Village's camping grounds.
Day 11: Drive to Kargil(8-9 hrs)
A long drive on a rough jeep track over the Penzi-La (4400m) to reach Rangdum with a checkpost. We continue on through Shafat Nala and the green Suru Valley to reach Kargil, the muslim heartland in the Buddhist dominated Ladakh.Fantastic scenic drive through the Zanskar Valley. (8 to 9 hrs)
Day 12: Drive to Leh/Srinagar
There are 2 options here. You can either turn right and drive towards Leh or turn left and drive towards Srinagar. [8 hrs drive anyway].
Day 13: Free Day
A day to relax, sight see and shop.
Day 14: Fly to Delhi