The Indus River, locally known as the Singhe Khababs (out of Lion's mouth), flows across the north west to the south east, passing through Ladakh and flows into Pakistan where it joined Shayok and Suru to become major historical Indus River.
The Indus , originates near the Kailash Mountain and the Mansarovar Lake in Western Tibet . Water levels remain high during the month June to late August, which is the best season for fascinating rafting expeditions. The travel agent offers white water River rafting on Indus for one to five days.
The rafting on Indus provides spectacular view of the landscapes Ladakh and Zanskar ranges which housed Buddhist monasteries on high cliff. The white water Indus has rapids generally of I and II grades and at some places, has grade III to even V rapids. The popular rafting points are from Phey to Nimo and also from Upshi to Kharu or from Upshi to Nimo. The other points run from Phey to Saspol or Phey to the Indus - Zanskar confluence at Nimo and from Nimo to the historical monastic enclave of Alchi, about 75 Kms west of Leh. Experienced rafters may also want to try the more challenging route between Alchi and Khaltsey, which takes in the kilometre long series of rapids at Nurla. Easier runs include the run between Hemis (40km south of Leh) situated along a road crossing the Indus and Choglamsar, which is a three-hour trip that goes through quiet, calm waters, and passes through the riverside villages of Stakna, Shey and Thiksey (25km south-east of Leh), before ending at Choglamsar, just short of Leh city.
Phey - Nimo route : This route consist mostly of Grade II or III easy rapids is that it passes through astoundingly beautiful mountains, many of them with tiny hamlets and imposing old monasteries nestling among the valleys. Starting from Phey Village , about 12 Kms from Leh and ends Indus-Zanskar confluence at Nimo, about 36 kms from Leh.
Upshi - Kharu route : This route is somewhat long as compare to the Phey-Nimo, but not too difficult. The stretch between Upshi and Kharu consists of I and II rapids, although there are some grade III rapids too. The starting point is at Upshi, about 90 Kms South east of Leh, along the road which leads south to Manali. From Upshi, the river makes its way westwards to Kharu, along the road to Leh.
Phey - Saspol : This rafting trip starts from Phey, about 8 kms south of Leh and its end at Saspol, on Leh-Srinagar Highway , near Alchi. This route is short and relaxed enough to enjoy the breathtaking view of landscapes and beauty of tiny hamlets on the both side of Indus.
Kharu - Spituk: it starts from Kharo, about 45 Kms South-East of Leh and ends at Spituk, just short of Leh. This route is specially recommended for the beginners and amateurs.
Saspol - Khaltsey: If you are experienced rafters, you may try the more challenging route between Saspol and Khaltsey, which has kilometre long series of rapids at Nurla. The rafting will finish at Khaltsey 90 Kilometres from Leh.
THE ZANSKAR RIVER RAFTING EXPEDITION
A range of rafting options is available on the Indus and its major tributaries. The best stretch for professionally guided runs in white water is on the Indus between Spituk and Saspol. Beyond Saspol, the river becomes difficult and funning it requires technically skilled participants and careful organization. Upward of Spituk, the Indus has the easiest stretch up to Karu, ideal for basic training and for day-return "scenic floating" for amateurs. In recent years, running the Indus has become an attractive alternative to trekking and features on the itinerary of most visitors. The most difficult but exciting option for river running is on the Zanskar along its spectacular course through the gorge in the Zanskar mountains, between Padum and Nimo. This is suitable only for well organized white-water expedition, prepared for several days of river running and camping in absolute wilderness. Participants are required to be trained rafters themselves while the arrangements should be assigned to a dependable professional agency. Adequate arrangements for rescue coverage is an essential pre-requisite for embarking upon a white -water expedition on river like the Zanskar.
Zanskar River Expeditions trip begins with a flight over the Himalayas into the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir . We spend a few days in Leh town acclimatizing at 11,000 feet above sea level and visiting the ancient monasteries, palaces and villages around Leh. We drive west of Leh past the town of Kargil and travel south into the valley of Zanskar , one of the coldest inhabited places on earth. Staring the trip on the Doda river, we begin our self contained multi-day river adventure down the spectacular and scenic Zanskar river gorge. The trip takes you down the extremely desolate, remote and sheer Zanskar gorge with walls rising a few thousand feet out of the river bed, culminating on the mighty Indus river, (which incidentally lends India its name) at the historic monastic conclave at Alchi.
Day 01 : Early morning Fly Delhi - Leh. An hour's spectacular flight over the Greater Himalayas, with views stretching as far as K2 in the west and the entire Zanskar range and views of Tibet beneath. On arrival at Leh, we drive 15 mins to our hotel, the Kanglhachhen, a traditional, yet comfortable and clean hotel in town. Rest and acclimatise. Overnight Leh.
Day 02 : Leh. Acclimatise and sightseeing. Light activity and short walks till Leh palace and the town's exciting market and outdoor restaurants. For the more energetic a visit to a few monasteries such as Spituk, Thikse and Hemis will be arranged. Overnight Leh.
Day 03 : Drive Leh - Kargil (180kms). We drive from Leh to Mulbek / Kargil, through a spectacular moonscape. We drive over the Fotu La (14,000 ft), a high mountain pass, exiting the Indus valley and entering the Suru valley. Enroute, we visit the Lamayuru monastery, known to be one of the oldest monasteries amongst the 'Red Hat' sect. Overnight Kargil hotel.
Day 04 : Drive Kargil - Rangdum (12,000ft). A spectacular drive past Panikar and Parkachik,with magnificent views of the Nun and Kun massifs (7000 metres),hanging glaciers and large meadows.We drive till Rangdum Gompa (12,000 ft).Camp overnight.
Day 05 : Drive Rangdum - Remala (6 hrs). We drive to Remala which is the starting point for the rafting trip on the Doda river, a tributary of the Zanskar river. We drive over the Pensi La (14,500 ft), which enables grand views of the Zanskar peaks at the bottom of which is the Drung Durung glacier that feeds the Zanskar river, 40 km below, into which we flow trip the next day. Overnight tented camp.
Day 06 : Rafting expedition begins at Remala. Raft till Karsha Gompa, near Padum. We raft 30 km in 5 hrs which includes a break for lunch and hot beverages. We are surrounded by 6000 metre high peaks. River section today includes a Class II section, a good introduction for first timers as well as to the river in general. After settling into camp by afternoon, we take a hike to Karsha Gompa for the evening incantation.
Day 07 : After a late morning start, we raft from Karsha up to Pidmu. This stretch is approximately 30 km with Class II and III rapids. After settling into the camp by mid afternoon, we visit the nearby villages of Pidmu and Hanomil.
Day 08 : After packing camp, we raft 20 km to Nyerak, a Class III section. The gorge narrows in on the river - this indeed is a Grand Canyon in its own right. We stop for the day to pitch camp in a gorge below Nyerak village.
Day 09 : Today's 35 km rafting section takes us from Nyerak to Lamaguru, through the core of the Zanskar A classic white water day with continuous Class III rapids, and a few Class IV rapid where the river squeezes between a gap of about 18ft. We stop for lunch near a huge waterfall at the confluence of Markha river with Zanskar. Rock formations, spires and an amazing palette of colours add to the trip today. Camp at Lamaguru.
Day 10 : Day hike to Kaya and Skiu. Return to camp by late afternoon. (4-5hrs). Camp at Lamaguru.
Day 11 : We raft 40 kms of Class III/IV white water from Lamaguru to Nimu today.We make camp short of Nimu,the confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus river.
Day 12 : Raft approximately 25 km from Nimu to finish the trip at Alchi through Class III / IV rapids. After ending the trip at Alchi, we walk up to the centuries old monastery to view the beautiful frescoes and wood carvings. Drive back 60 km to Leh and check into hotel.
Day 13 : Leh. Reserved day for shopping, sightseeing etc.
Day 14 : Early morning transfer to Leh airport. Fly Leh - Delhi . Trip ends