Sham Valley Trek

Swastika stands as the symbol of ancient world on a baronial road, about 125kms from Leh to the west. The most elderly extant monastery, the Swastika is also known as Yung-drung and was born in 11th century. Constructed from sand stone, the monastery is enveloped in interesting legends and history brightened by the exotic geography of the location consisting of streams of yellow-colored sand formations.

You can witness another member of the monastery-family about 69kms to the west of Leh, the Alchi monastery which is the most prominent and largest among them. Coming into existence in 11th century through Rinchen Zangpo, the Alchi monastery is home to antique paintings and sculptures that recreates the Kashmiri form of Buddhist representations.

Every monastery of this family is unique and has a life-story on its ground. This trek is recommended for those who wish to explore the spiritual in them through the spectral aura of the monasteries.

Intensity: Moderate

Sham Valley Trek Itinerary:

  • Day 1: Delhi to Leh : The Zanskar Himalayan Exploration family welcomes you to Leh through our representatives at the airport. You will be escorted to your guest house or hotel where the day will be spent adapting to the weather. It is of utmost significance to allow the body to acclimatize to the changed climate. The evening will include a zealous visit to the local bazaar. We spend the night at the hotel.
  • Day 2: Leh to Shey to Thiksey : The second day of your journey is reserved for exploring the monasteries in proximity to Leh. Placed about 15kms from Leh, the Shey Gompa was previously the summer stay for royal families. Surrounding the monastery, there are a galore of Stupas and Gompas. Nested in the Dresthang Gompa is the treasure of this place- the 12m statue of Shakyamuni Buddha.  Thiksey Gompa is situated about 17kms from Leh and lays close to Shey. Deemed one of the most heavenly in Ladakh, the monastery is under care of the Gelukspa order.

As you move about 45kms to the south of Leh, the Hemis monastery stands before you as the largest in the region. Under the care of Drukpa order, it was conceived in early part of 17th century. The valley forms the nestling lap for the monastery surrounding it with water currents and towering walls. We spend the night at the hotel in Leh.

  • Day 3: Leh to Likir to Yangthang (Cross the Phobe La) , Distance: 9kms , Duration: 4 to 5 hours : After a filling breakfast, we ride to Likir (located about 58kms from Leh). The Likir Village (3,650m) marks the start of our trek. Though the distance is only about 9kms, we will be facing the heat without great vegetation while crossing through two passes. Likir makes way to Phobe La (3,580m) towards its west and moving beyond this pass takes us to Sumdo Village. We are on an upward trek for a long duration until we reach Chagatse La (3,630m). As we move through the pass, we reach the Yangthang Village (3,630m). On the shore of a river, we set up our camp for the night.
  • Day 4: Yangthang to Hemis Shukpachan (Through Tsermangchan La), Distance: 8kms ,Duration: 2 to 3 hours:  The fourth day brings the respite of a peaceful and leisurely climb owing to the unruffled character of the ascending and descending routes. Moving towards the north, we descend slightly and cross a watercourse prior to our climb-up on the west to Tsermangchan La (3,750m). A short rest break is followed by our meet with the Hemis Shukpachan. Deriving its name from an orchard of cedars, the Shukpachan Village is the vintage-colored hamlet of heaven on the ranges. The generally barren Rocky Mountains are injected with life by the glittering streams skirted by thick greens and vast pastures.
  • Day 5: Hemis Shukpachan to Temisgam (Through Mebtak La), Distance: 10kms , Duration: 3 hours:  The route favors us on the fifth day as well with the trail running quite smoothly. As we climb up, we go through two hills to the west of the village. A turn to the south awaits us followed by a sharp climb up to the Mebtak La (3,750m). Showered with diversely colored prayer flags, we leave the pass to reach Ang, an enamoring village with peach willows. We set up our camp for the night here.
  • Day 6: Temisgam and Nurla, Distance: 8kms , Duration: 3 hours : As the evening of our tour approaches, the difficulty range of the climb reaches its bottom as we have an immensely gently way ahead of us. We gradually move down to the main street of Temisgam. Here, we will be received by a scheduled taxi which will ride us to Leh.
  • Day 7: Leh to Delhi : Our trekking tour comes to an end but the memories of the mountains keep alive our experiences together. We expect to see you all again and bid you farewell as you make your way to the airport on a well-planned schedule. Your fly over the Himalayas gives you the last glimpse of the white fairy who calls you to her, yet again.

sham-valley

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