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Manali – Baralacha La – Phirtsela pass – Padum

Months: End June to end September
Number of days: 12 to Padum
Options from Padum:

  1. Trek to Manali from Padum via Shingo La: 5000m: 11 Days
  2. Trek to Lamayuru from Padum / then drive to Leh: 12 Days
  3. Drive to Leh via Kargil: 1 night/ 2 days

Maximum Altitude: 5450m
Grade: Moderate to Strenuous

This trek across the Phirtsela La pass is not as frequented as the Shingo La (pass) trek to Padum and Lamayuru and is a day longer. The first 3 days involve walking along the Manali- Leh Highway. Then a bifurcation leads west through the Lingti plains into south Zanskar.


Day 1: Manali (2050M)-Darcha - 3400m - 8 hours drive.
We leave Manali in the morning and drive on the Manali Leh Highway climbing up to the 3980m high Rohtang Pass from where it winds down into the Lahaul Valley. Our passports are checked at the Khoksar Police Post just below the pass. We reach Keylong at a height of 3347m and after lunch here we drive beside extensive fields and occasional villages along the river Bhaga all the way to Darcha. Our camp is set up a little distance before the Darcha village.

Day 2: Darcha – Sarchu Bridge Campsite at 4250m via Patseo - 3820m and Baralacha La- 4650m.
The road now ascends steadily towards the Baralacha La pass from where you get beautiful views of the surrounding snow clad peaks. En-route we pass two small lakes – the Deepak Tal and the Suraj Tal. Crossing the pass we descend down to the Sarchu Bridge from where our trek starts. We set up camp near the bridge for the night.

Day 3: Sarchu Bridge - Campsite-Lingti Ground – 4300m - 7 to 8 hours.
An easy level trek as we walk along the Tsarapchu River through verdant pastures before the valley widens and we spot a few shepherds' huts on the left. We continue on this vast grazing ground and after crossing two deep canyons reach our camp near a clear spring.

Day 4: Lingti Ground – Khamerup - Phirtsela base– 4500m - 7 to 8 hours.
The trail goes through four canyons and after 3 hours we cross a large river and ascend to an extensive plateau. We continue till another river flowing down from the Chumik Marpo village is reached. One hour later we reach our campsite at the base of the Phirtsela La pass.

Day 5: Campsite- Phirtsela – 5450m - 7 to 8 hours
Phirtsela the highest pass on the whole trek (It's higher than the Shingo La) is reached after about four hours of steady climbing. We then descend to a river and follow it to our campsite a hundred metres above which we reach in another two hours. It's a beautiful site with extraordinary landscape all around.

Day 6: Campsite- Tanza - 4000m - 5 - 6 hours.
On the trail we get breathtaking views of the Zanskar valley before us. We bypass a rocky bridge follow a steep gorge and cross a stream before arriving in Tanza where we meet the trail coming down from the Shingo La pass. Tanza is a small village with a gompa in ruins. We camp outside the village.

Day 8: Tanza- Purne – 3650m - 5 to 6 hours.
We leave leisurely and stop briefly at Kuru, a major village of livestock breeders. From here we descend for about 2 ½ hours before arriving at the beautiful village of Teta. The trail continues downwards up to a river and then from the left bank we ascend a gentler slope and reach Purne by afternoon. We camp near fields for the night.

Day 9: Purne-Phuktal Gompa- Purne - 4 hours
From Purne a trail leads to one of the most dramatically situated Gompas in entire Ladakh and Zanskar - the Phuktal monastery. The monastery is like a honeycomb, cut into a rock under a gigantic grotto. The library, prayer rooms, kitchens, abbot's chamber, chorten and the grave of Gangsem Sherap Sampo, who founded Phuktal, Likir and Rangdum Gompas, are all worth seeing.

Day 10: Purne-Ichar - 5 to 6 hours.
The trail leads to Ichar village through the Keydang village a green oasis with stately groves of Poplars. Passing a tea stall at Hamuni and the Surle villages the trail is a bit strenuous. After crossing another large village we reach Ichar by afternoon for overnight stay at our camp.

Day 11: Ichar- Mune - 5 to 6 hours
Re-cross to the left bank of Tsarapchu River and climb before crossing a major tributary bridge. From here the trail descends to the small village of Reru which we leave and after crossing a large plain full of wild flowers in July and August, reach the Mune village and our camp.

Day 12: Mune- Padum – 36550m - 5 to 6 hours
From Mune it's an easy walk to the district headquarters at Padum a large laid back village. We set up camp near some fields outside the so-called town.

Options available from Padum:

  • Drive north to Leh via Kargil – 1 Nt / 2 Days.  
  • Trek back to Darcha via the Shingo La and drive to Manali from there – 11 Days.
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Manali –Shimla Trek via Jalori Pass

4. Manali Chandratal Lake 11
5. Manali – Shingo La – Padum (Zanskar) 11
6. The Pin Parvati Trail 14
7. Manali Bara Banghal Trek 15
8. Manali - Kaza - Parang La – Tso Moriri – Leh Trail 18
9. Manali – Shingo La – Padum – Lamayuru 24


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