From a tourist point of view Rangdum 120 Kms from Kargil can be considered as Suru valley and Padum administrative centre of Zanskar is another 120 Kms ahead of Rangdum as Zanskar valley. The Pensi la pass the highet point in this route is about 25 kms from Rangdum and seperates the Suru Valley from Zanzkar.
Apart from the panoramic vistas of the Suru Valley Rangdum also has the Rangdum Monastery which houses an amazing collection of Tibetan artifacts.
There are many monasteries in Zanskar also. Karsha, Stongdey Phugthal and Dzongkhul to name a few.
Suru and Zanskar Valley
One of the most remotest and least visited areas in this region Suru and Zanskar are part of Kargil rather than Leh. The important thing to note if you are visiting Zanskar is that there is no petrol pumps and very limited resources are available in this region so make sure you have all the supplies necessary for your entire duration of the trip. Panikhar on the route to Zanskar, is commonly considered to be on the border of the Suru Valley, the Pensi la pass almost midway between Padum and Rangdum separates Zanskar from the Suru valley.
A cave monastery of Zanskar, Zongkul stands perched on the rock face of the Ating Gorge. Dzongkhul has traditionally been home to famous yogis and is located near the Umasi-la pass which joins Zanskar and Kishtwar.
Suru and Zanskar Valley
Suru and Zanskar valley is located about 250 kms off the Srinagar - Leh route from Kargil. Panikhar and Rangdum of Suru valley is on the way to Zanskar valley.
Rangdum - Suru Valley
Rangdum in the Suru valley is a plateau surrounded by the magnificent hills on one side and rocky mountains on the other at an altitude of 3657 meters. Rangdum is a six hour drive from Kargil. The 18th century Buddhist monastery is a major attraction in Rangdum which is home to around 40 monks. There are a few camps around Rangdum monastery offering accommodation to tourists.
Located 12 km south of Padum in Zanskar Bardan Monastery belongs to the Drukpa-Kagyu monastic order. One of the first centers of Drukpa-Kagyu monastic order to be set up in Zanskar, Bardan Gompa was established in the 17th century. Bardan Gompa consists of a large Dukhang (assembly hall) and all the other structures within the monastery are structured around the Dukhang.
Nun Kun Mountain Massif
Located near the Penzi la pass Nun Kun is a pair of mountain peaks with heights touching over 7000 mts. The Nun Kun massif also has many other peaks and is a popular mountaineering site as well as camping site. The climbing period in this region extends from early June to mid October.
River Rafting in Zanskar
The Zanskar river is a one of the most exciting river rafting sites in India with rapids ranging from grade III and IV. The river passes through the Zanskar canyon also called the Grand Canyon of Asia and offer some of the most exciting rapids.