DAY 6: ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh, India
Before the trip, we thought of doing the Markha Valley Trek, but then gave up the idea because of the lack of time. On our last day at Ladakh, the hotel manager suggested us to make a short hike to Zingchen Gorge, where many travelers started their Markha Valley Trek. Tashi again was our driver of the day. We left the hotel at around 7am. Our car headed south, passed the Spituk Gompa and continued our journey until Tashi pulled over on a country road where a lady sat below a tree. Tashi told us to get a ticket from the lady for the admission of Hemis National Park, where Zingchen Gorge was located. Soon our car drove into a desert valley of the gorge. Tashi dropped us off at the end of the road. We then crossed a bridge and entered a natural portal flanked by majestic stone cliffs to begin our half-day hike through the Zingchen Gorge.
We had no particular destination in mind, but aiming to walk as far as we could in a few hours of time. We walked leisurely on a stony road at the bottom of a rocky valley for about half an hour until reaching a local home where two donkeys were resting under a tree. From then on we walked for another hour or so on a mountain trail in the Zingchen Gorge towards the Village of Rumbak. During the hike, we crossed the river a few times via wooden bridges. After about two hours on the trail, we finally had a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains beyond the gorge. After we exited the gorge, we reached a small pile of stones and goat skulls that signified the gorge’s mouth. Further down the trail at an open area we sat by a large round pile of mani stones where we had our lunch break. After the break, we decided to head back into Zingchen Gorge to meet up with our driver Tashi. We took our time to hike back to the entrance of the gorge, and walked further down the main road until we saw Tashi and his car at Zingchen Village.
Despite short, at the last two days of our stay we had a good taste of hiking in the mountains near Leh. Hopefully in the future we would have an opportunity to do a multi-day trek in Ladakh to really experience the natural beauty of this region.
The natural rock portal formed a perfect entrance to the Zingchen Gorge.
For the first half hour we were walking on a valley road.
The arid landscape and the greenery down at the river valley.
The surrounding landscape was extremely dry.
We met two donkey at the end of the road.
The path get narrower beyond the end of road.
Just like the other days we experienced in Ladakh, the weather in the morning and early afternoon was always sunny.
White khatas, prayer flags and mani stones were common at rest stops.
After two hours of hike, we had our first glimpse of the snow-capped mountains beyond the gorge.
At the end of the gorge.
The pile of stones and goat skull.
The round pile of mani stones where we had our lunch break by the river.
Heading back into the gorge for our return journey.
Impressive rock formations and wild flowers.
Locals and their donkeys.
Wild flowers close to the gorge entrance.
We planned to stay for only half day in Hemis National Park. We walked as far as we could and then returned to the gorge entrance on the same route. Despite the same route, the views and experience were never the same at different times of the day. On our return, we were attracted by the rock patterns of a mountain near the gorge entrance, something that we didn’t take notice when we entered the gorge earlier in the morning.
We were attracted by interesting rock formations during the hike.
The landscape was always dry and rocky.
After 5 hours of hiking in Hemis National Park, we returned to the park entrance to meet up with our driver Tashi.
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Other posts on 2016 Ladkadh & Delhi:
Introduction – LADAKH – The Land of High Passes, India
Day 1.1 – ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh
Day 1.2 – WALK TO MAIN BAZAAR, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.3 – LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.4 – HOTEL LADAKH GREENS, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.1 – NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.2 – LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.3 – SPITUK GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 3.1 – MONASTERIES OF THE INDUS VALLEY DAY ONE, Ladakh (with map)
Day 3.2 – THIKSEY GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.3 – CHEMREY & TAKTHOK GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.4 – HEMIS & STAKNA GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.5 – MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.1 – ON THE ROAD WEST OF LEH, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.2 – LAMAYURU GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.3 – ALCHI & LIKIR GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.4 – FORT ROAD IN THE EVENING, Leh, Ladakh
Day 5.1 – SHORT HIKE NEAR PHYANG, Ladakh
Day 5.2 – PHYANG VILLAGE, Ladakh
Day 5.3 – NOMADIC WOOLLEN MILLS & BON APPETIT, Leh, Ladakh
Day 6.1 – ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh
Day 6.2 – SHANTI STUPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 7.1 – LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.2 – RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.3 – JAMA MASJID, Delhi
Day 7.4 – FAREWELL OLD DELHI, Delhi
Day 7.5 – UNITED COFFEE HOUSE, New Delhi