A range of rafting options is available on the Indus and its major tributaries. The best stretch for professionally guided runs in white water is on the Indus between Spituk and Saspol. Beyond Saspol, the river becomes difficult and funning it requires technically skilled participants and careful organization. Upward of Spituk, the Indus has the easiest stretch up to Karu, ideal for basic training and for day-return "scenic floating" for amateurs. In recent years, running the Indus has become an attractive alternative to trekking and features on the itinerary of most visitors. The most difficult but exciting option for river running is on the Zanskar along its spectacular course through the gorge in the Zanskar mountains, between Padum and Nimo. This is suitable only for well organized white-water expedition, prepared for several days of river running and camping in absolute wilderness. Participants are required to be trained rafters themselves while the arrangements should be assigned to a dependable professional agency. Adequate arrangements for rescue coverage is an essential pre-requisite for embarking upon a white -water expedition on river like the Zanskar.
Zanskar River Expeditions trip begins with a flight over the Himalayas into the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We spend a few days in Leh town acclimatizing at 11,000 feet above sea level and visiting the ancient monasteries, palaces and villages around Leh. We drive west of Leh past the town of Kargil and travel south into the valley of Zanskar, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth. Staring the trip on the Doda river, we begin our self contained multi-day river adventure down the spectacular and scenic Zanskar river gorge. The trip takes you down the extremely desolate, remote and sheer Zanskar gorge with walls rising a few thousand feet out of the river bed, culminating on the mighty Indus river, (which incidentally lends India its name) at the historic monastic conclave at Alchi.
Early morning Fly Delhi - Leh. An hour's spectacular flight over the Greater Himalayas, with viewsstretching as far as K2 in the west and the entire Zanskar range and views of Tibet beneath. On arrival at Leh, we drive 15 mins to our hotel, the Kanglhachhen, a traditional, yet comfortable and clean hotel in town. Rest and acclimatise. Overnight Leh.
Leh. Acclimatise and sightseeing. Light activity and short walks till Leh palace and the town's exciting market and outdoor restaurants. For the more energetic a visit to a few monasteries such as Spituk, Thikse and Hemis will be arranged. Overnight Leh.
Drive Leh - Kargil (180kms). We drive from Leh to Mulbek / Kargil, through a spectacular moonscape. We drive over the Fotu La (14,000 ft), a high mountain pass, exiting the Indus valley and entering the Suru valley. Enroute, we visit the Lamayuru monastery, known to be one of the oldest monasteries amongst the 'Red Hat' sect. Overnight Kargil hotel
Drive Kargil - Rangdum (12,000ft). A spectacular drive past Panikar and Parkachik,with magnificent views of the Nun and Kun massifs (7000 metres),hanging glaciers and large meadows.We drive till Rangdum Gompa (12,000 ft).Camp overnight.
Drive Rangdum - Remala (6 hrs). We drive to Remala which is the starting point for the rafting trip on the Doda river, a tributary of the Zanskar river. We drive over the Pensi La (14,500 ft), which enables grand views of the Zanskar peaks at the bottom of which is the Drung Durung glacier that feeds the Zanskar river, 40 km below, into which we flow trip the next day. Overnight tented camp.
Rafting expedition begins at Remala. Raft till Karsha Gompa, near Padum. We raft 30 km in 5 hrs which includes a break for lunch and hot beverages. We are surrounded by 6000 metre high peaks. River section today includes a Class II section, a good introduction for first timers as well as to the river in general. After settling into camp by afternoon, we take a hike to Karsha Gompa for the evening incantation.
After a late morning start, we raft from Karsha up to Pidmu. This stretch is approximately 30 km with Class II and III rapids. After settling into the camp by mid afternoon, we visit the nearby villages of Pidmu and Hanomil.
After packing camp, we raft 20 km to Nyerak, a Class III section. The gorge narrows in on the river - this indeed is a Grand Canyon in its own right. We stop for the day to pitch camp in a gorge below Nyerak village.
Today's 35 km rafting section takes us from Nyerak to Lamaguru, through the core of the Zanskar A classic white water day with continuous Class III rapids, and a few Class IV rapid where the river squeezes between a gap of about 18ft. We stop for lunch near a huge waterfall at the confluence of Markha river with Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of colours add to the trip today. Camp at Lamaguru.
Day hike to Kaya and Skiu. Return to camp by late afternoon. (4-5hrs). Camp at Lamaguru.
We raft 40 kms of Class III/IV white water from Lamaguru to Nimu today.We make camp short of Nimu,the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus river.
Raft approximately 25 km from Nimu to finish the trip at Alchi through Class III / IV rapids. Afterending the trip at Alchi, we walk up to the centuries old monastery to view the beautiful frescoes and wood carvings. Drive back 60 km to Leh and check into hotel.
Leh. Reserved day for shopping, sightseeing etc.
Early morning transfer to Leh airport. Fly Leh - Delhi.
The Indus river flowing through the Leh valley in the high altitude desert region of Ladakh, is by far one of the most scenic white water runs anywhere in the Himalayas. The river offers a wide spectrum of trips ranging from the most popular day trip from Phey to Nimmu to a more extensive multi day, self contained expedition from Upshi – Khaltsi. Small but exciting rapids take you through this magical moon-land with majestic peaks and quaint
monasteries dotting the horizon. While in Leh, one must take time to run this river.
Met on arrival at international airport and transfer to hotel for overnight stay.
Transfer to airport to board flight to Leh. Welcome upon arrival at the Leh airport (3,500 Mt) and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day free for acclimatization. Overnight stay at the hotel. .
Morning after breakfast proceed to visit Sankar monastery which is situated on the valley floor. Afternoon free at leisure. Evening proceed to Ladakh Ecological centre to see a small documentary film on Ancient Heritage of Ladakh. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast drive 50 kms to visit the famous Hemis Monastery which has some of the most precious Tankhas, silver Stupas and enshrines statues of various Buddhist god and goddesses. Later drive back to Stakna. Upon arrival meet the Rafting team includes the Raft driver and helper. Proper instruction for Rafting as well as safety techniques shall be given. Wear the life jacket and begin a thrilling white water rafting along river Indus. Raft along smooth river to reach Thiksey. Enroute stop at Stakna Bridge and have Lunch. Afternoon Raft again and stop at Thiksey and check-in at the camps. Overnight stay in tents.
Morning after breakfast drive to visit Thiksey Monastery-this imposing monastery situated on a hill overlooking the village has a huge statue of Shakayamuni Buddha. Later drive 2 kms further to visit Shey Palace, which was earlier the Royal Palace. Drive back to camp and start Rafting to reach Spituk. Lunch enroute. This is one of the most beautiful stretch overlooking Stok Kangri on your left and zig-zag along the river. Check-in at the camps in Spituk for overnight stay.
Morning after breakfast pack up and drive to visit Spituk Monastery overlooking the whole Indus valley. Later drive to Leh City and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon free to explore the local market. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast proceed to visit a local Ladakhi house and enjoy local tea with the family. Later in the evening proceed to witness Traditional Ladakhi dance. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. Met on arrival at Delhi and transfer to hotel. Afternoon at leisure for independent activities.
Transfer to international airport in time to board the flight to onward destination.