Map of Darsa Padum Trek by Shinkun-la
This is the one fo the classic hiking tours of the region. It is possible to find fresh supplies all among the route except just before and just beyond the Shinkun-la. It is advisable to spend 2 or 3 days at Darsha forst to become acclimatized. The best period is from July to October.
Darsha camp (4-5 hours)
follow the track untill the last hamlet, then a good footpath. Pass a spectacular gorge. Continue along the left bank, then cross a first ford. good camp 1 hour beyond the ford, groves.
Camp Ramjak (6-7 hours)
Continue on the left bank untill reaching a second (major) ford, then go up the right-hand valley. There are good paths on both sides of the stream, but both are hard going. Good camp at Ramjak
in small meadow spring.
Ramjak-Shinkun-la Camp at the Gumburanjon (8-9 hours)
From tehe camp, climb moderate slopes to the foot of the pass. Several easy stream-crossings(4 hours). The ground flattens out and the path zigzags through a moraine as far as the Shinkun-la
(5090m, 5:30 hours). The descent is steep and dangerous for horses(ice and some fallen rocks). Cross a final firn to reach the first meadows. Cross several easy streams, then go down an escarpment towards a small plateau. Nice view of the gumburanjon. good camp betweenn two streams.
Camp at the Gumburanjon-Table (6 hours)
Climb down a mass of fallen rocks, then cross several streams. After one hour, you pass beneath the face of the gumburanjon, then an easy descent towards Kargyak
(4100m) on the right bank, no problem. Two hours aftre Kargyak, you reach Table
Table-Purne (6 hours)
From Table, continue on the right bank along an easy path. 1/2
hour, before Tanze, you cross in front of a narrow gorge where the route joins up with hiking tour No. 2 Darsha-Padum by the Baralacha-la and Phirtsela. Tanze
is a small village, gompa in ruins a bit higher up. A short distance beyond Tanze, there is a bridgeacorss the left bank. Monotonous going across morainic terain. Slight rise leading to Kuru
, Major village of livestock breeders. Afterwards, an excellent path leads steadily lower. Arrival in Teta (3:30 hours), beautiful village. The path continues downward near the river. Stay on the left bank, then climb gentle slope up to Jal
Next comes a steep descent towards a large bridge which you cross to get to Purne
. You can eihter set up camp somewhere before the house, or pay 10 Rs, per tent on an adjacent lot.
Purne-Phuktal-Purne (4 hours)
Leave the horses in Purne. Go up the left bank of the Tsarap into splendid gorges. After 1:30 hours, cross a brideg in good condition. Fifteen minutes later, you arrive at a small tributary to the Tsarap, beautifully clear water cascading down. A ledge leads to a small plateau sprinkled with chortens and religious banners. From there you can see the Phuktal Monastery
, one of the most spectacular sights in the Zanskar. Phuktal belongs to the tradition of the Gelupas (Yelow Hats). The spring that gurgles deep in the cave is still out of bounds to women. The hungarian historian Cosma de Koros strayed here over the winter of 1825-26. It is possible to find food and lodging at the monastery.
Purne-Ichar (5-6 hours)
From Purne, go back down, cross the bridge, then go up the left bank. The trail that overhangs the Tsarap is sometime tricky and hard going. Frequent small canyons of pudding-stones. Pass a bit above a hanging bridge which leads to the village of Cha
(from Cha, it is possible to go to Phuktal without Horses, which is dangerous). Two hours later, you arrive at Kaydang, a Small Village in a poplar grove. Carry on Untill Hamuni
(teashop). Pass Below the village of Surle
. The trail is still not good, Several stretches difficult for the horses. Arrive at a large bridge which leads to Ichar.
Ichar-Mune (5 hours)
Cross back over the left bank, then a gradul climb before coming to a major tributary (bridge). Gradual descent down towards Reru
, then quite a beautiful plain covered with flowers (july) as far as Mune
. Possible to camp opposite monastery.
Mune-Padum (5 hours)
From the Monastery, go down a steep incline to the main trail. after two hoours, you arrive at Bardan Gompa
a Kagyupa monastery famous for its prayer wheel (180 cm high). From Bardan, a dusty road suitable for motor traffic leads to Padum
without difficulty. Several quite beautiful villages on the opposite bank. Padum (3650m): Possiblities for fresh supplies uncertain (only rice, tsampa, sugar, tea and somethime Kerosene), several hotels, restaurants.