Padum Travel Guide
Padum, named after Padmasambhava (known as the second Buddha) is the only town in Zanskar and one of the two main capitals of the erstwhile Zanskar Kingdom. Although there is not much of greenery or vegetation around the place but there is an abundance of wildlife here.
Padum around 3505 m above the sea-level, today is the administrative center of Zanskar Sub-division of the Kargil district. This town is the most populated town of Zanskar that is inhabited by around 2000 people.
From the past few years, Padum is becoming a popular trekking base and is being visited by a large number of tourists. There are a number of places which are attractions for tourists.
In the close vicinity of Padum are rock carvings from the 8th century, made on a large rock on the banks of the river Lung-nak below the old- town. It is a proof that there was an influence of Buddhism even in the ancient India and this place has existed since that time. It was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Zanskar.
Padum has Zanskar valley in the background and is easily accessible by road. It is around 240 kms away from the main road from the Kargil town.
In the same manner as the other destinations in Ladakh that are covered with snow in the extreme winter season, the best time to visit is between the months of June and October.
The town of Padum has around two Buddhist monasteries. First is Stagrimo Monastery that is home to around 30 lamas, is located on a tree-covered ridge just above the old-part of the town, where one has to walk upwards along the slopes of the hills. Then, after the cultivated land, there is the old village of Pibiting, which has another monastery on the hilltop, built in the shape of a Stupa.
This small town also has a small mosque too for the community of Sunni Muslims residing in this place from past 17th century.
Karsha Gustor, Zanskar, also known as Spitok Gutor Zanskar is the major festival of this place, celebrated in the month of January. During the festival, the famous Black Hat dance is performed. This is a masked dance performance (performed by the Monks of the Geluk-pa) is done to ward off any kind of evil from the valley. The festival comes to a conclusion after the cutting and the distribution ceremony of the sacrificial cake.
It is a tourist-friendly town with a number of hotels, restaurants, home-stays that have Wi-fi connectivity too.
The nearest road to Padum is is 240 kms long Kargil-Padum road, which remains open from around mid of July to early November. B-class buses operate three times in a week from Kargil. However, you can also charter A-Class or even Super-Deluxe buses. Jeeps and Gypsy taxis can also be hired at Kargil. The nearest airport is Leh.
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