Located about 240 km away from Kargil town via the link road, Padum is the only town in and the administrative center of the Zanskar sub-district
Padum is named after Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and serves as the starting point for several treks in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. Located at the center of the tri-armed Zanskar valley, the average elevation of Padum is 3,657 meters and there are several villages to its north east leading to Karsha Monastery.
Karsha Monastery is the most important Monastery in Zanskar dedicated to Padmasambhava, under the control of the younger brother of the Dalai Lama. With a number of shrines embellished with beautiful paintings done by Lama Dzadpa Dorje, the monastery is the largest in Zanskar, housing 100 monks. The highlight of the monastery is the celebration of the Karsha Gustor when masked cham dances take place on the 26th to the 29th day of the 11th Tibetan month that generally falls in the month of January. Padum sees the maximum number of tourists and locals visiting the town during the festival. Other monasteries in the vicinity like the Khagsar Monastery, Purang Monastery and Phagspa Monastery only add beauty to Padum.
A favorite among photographers, the town of Padum is scenic and known for its Spartan splendor. The fields that acquire different hues with the change of season and the close view of the Drang-Drung glacier’s long and winding river of ice and snow create an almost magical image to be captured.
During the tourist season between July 1 and September 15, the Manali – Leh highway remains open and travel to Padum is easy. After this period, tourists can use the road from Leh to Nubra Valley over Khardung La that is kept open throughout the year despite the occurrence of several blizzards.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN PADUM
Private hotels, government-run tourist complexes and homestays are available for tourists in Padum. Offering five furnished rooms at a nominal rate, the tourist complexes are best for those traveling on a budget. Camping facilities are also available for those ready to rough it out in tough weather conditions.
While basic accommodation can be found in Karsha too, locals at Stongdey, Zangla and Sani, offer accommodation to tourists that are generally basic and low on comfort but high on care and hospitality.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PADUM
While there are several restaurants available to tourists in Padum, restaurants at the tourist complexes serve lip-smacking local meals too.
BEST TIME TO VISIT PADUM
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Padum is as given below. The best time to visit Padum is also specified.
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