Padum: A Trekking Delight
Location : Zanskar near Ladakh district, Jammu Kashmir
Altitude : 3505 meters from sea level
Attraction : Rock Carving
Population : 1500
Padum, the ancient capital of Zanskar, is located at a height of more than 3500 meters and is currently its district headquarter. Though sparsely populated, this tourist town is credited for being the most populated town of Zanskar. The place is dominantly inhabited by Muslims.
Most of the inhabitants are Buddhists while 30% of the population comprise of Lahulis and Baltis tribes that are the followers of Sunni sect off Muslims. People here are quiet hospitable and a little attention from your side can offer you the opportunity of being invited to their houses. The tourist authorities are always ready to help you in finding accommodation.
Attractions of the Place
Trekking : If it is the adventure that thrills you the most, Padum is just the right place for you. Being surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges, the place is perfect haven of trekking and other adrenaline stimulating activities like mountaineering, rock climbing etc. The place is of particular interest to the tourists through out the world who come here to have respite from the humdrum of daily life.
Rock Carvings : Being the mountainous area, Padum has a rock carving that has been etched on a large boulder located at the river bank. Most of these carvings are of eighth century and belong to Buddhism sect that was prevalent at that time in many parts of North India.
Monastery : Starrimo Monastery is another place that will attract you by its simplicity and austerity. It sits upon a ridge that is covered with trees. As you pay a visit to this special place, you will come across several houses that are inhabited by a handful of monks. The monastery reminds us of the magnificent stupa architecture that was prevalent at that time.
Pibiting : This small but lovely village is another attraction that offers mesmerizing views.
Karsha Monastery : Trip to Padum is incomplete without visiting Karsha Monastery that is the biggest one in the entire Zanskar region. From here, you can have the pleasure of watching the spell bounding imageries and enchanting Himalayan views. This sacred site is frequented by a number of monks from the nearby areas. The place remains crowded with a number of monks who arrive here to offer prayers. There are no concrete evidences to prove it but it is considered that the site was founded in tenth century while the construction of the interiors was completed in 15th century.
There are many staying options meant for the tourists arriving at Padum. A tourist complex offers furnished suites and catering services to the visitors. If money is the constraint with you, go for one of the camping sites that are available nearby. A dormitory at Karsha serves the guests with vegetarian food. Staying at the huts of villagers of Zangla and Sani is also possible if prior permission has been taken from the residents and is offered a small amount of money or a gift. Accommodation at monasteries is another option but one has to offer certain amount of money to the authorities.
Karsha is at 8 km and Stongdey at 19 km from the destination.
Padum is a nice tourist place of Jammu and Kashmir and is a good option to spend the time away from the sweltering summer heat of metropolitan cities.