“There is only one success, to be able to spend your life in your own way.”
Just before our third pass which brought us (finally) to the Zanskar river and valley, we passed through my favorite collection of villages (or maybe it’s considered one very spread out one…who knows). Days away from even the newest roads, this was the largest settlement that we passed through since the beginning of our trek, and by far the most impressive.
What we hadn’t realized before starting out on our trek is the number of roads currently being built through this once totally isolated part of the world. Not only were our first few days on a road, but we also saw plans or new dirt paths in other areas connecting many of the small villages, villages which for thousands of years have only been accessible by foot. Thankfully the road we were on was in no way a “real road” yet as no one in the area owns a car. In fact, we did not once see a vehicle of any kind and ended up sharing the road with a few yak and sheep instead.
“What we all want in life is to travel, fall in love, and be happy.”
Halfway between Srinagar and Leh we decided to take a 250km detour down to Padum which is situated in the very cold and isolated Tibetan area of Zanskar Valley. First though, we had to traverse Suru Valley which is a lush green area with high snow covered peaks in the distance. The inhabitants are Tibeto-Dard meaning they are of both Chinese and Pakistani (and Afghani) descent. Though the region use to be Buddhist like its neighbor Zanskar, the inhabitants converted to Islam during the 16th century so mosques and headscarfs were in abundance.