Zanskar itself is a remote and spectacular valley in Jammu & Kashmir. Venture in deeper, and you will discover a delightful village beyond the more touristy Padum, says writer Kavyanjali Kaushik. Over to her:
Not many travellers make it to the snowy, harsh and spectacular Zanskar; hidden away, almost abandoned due to roads that are made of gravel and a lack of travel information. The few who do dare to take on the back-cracking journey to this part of Jammu & Kashmir, head to Zanskar’s capital Padum which is more likely to disappoint its visitors rather than invite them to dig deeper into the Zanskar valley.
However, if you have the stamina enough for dusty roads, bitter cold and erratic transport facilities, head to the unnoticed village of Phey, just a hop away from Padum.
How to get to Zanskar?
The nearly 10-hour taxi ride to Padum starts to culminate with an array of villages appearing on either side of the road. Just 30 kilometres before Padum is Phey, where you will experience the astounding beauty of Zanskar. The village has only four to five homes. The rest is simply beautiful nature. So, you’ll easily find the cosy Zanskari guest house run by the smiling Stenzing Dolma and her very hospitable family.
Sunset at Zanskar
Catch a glimpse of the breathtaking sight of an angry-orange sun slowly making its way down the valley on the left, coinciding with the moonrise on the right in the backdrop of lofty Himalayas – all this on the canvas of the mighty Zanskar river, rows and rows of fields and a cold mist hanging in the air. Phey leaves you speechless, transfixed and deeply touched by nature.
For adventure enthusiasts, Phey serves as a base for thrilling treks and hikes. The snow-capped peaks and rugged landscapes provide an ideal setting to embark on challenging trails. Just as the famous Chadar Trek, which takes you across the frozen Zanskar River.