Stok Kangri at an elevation of 6,153 meters is one of the highest trekable summits in the Indian Himalayan region; Stok Kangri is considered safe for trekkers having prior experience of high altitude trekking, especially over 5,000 meters.
The Stok Kangri climb and Markha valley trek is one of the toughest treks in the Ladakh region that requires a good deal of mountaineering and climbing skills. The trek is, therefore, not recommended for those who are seeking to take the exotic ambiance of the hills, with all the comfort of urban existence in a stone throw distance. This trek is a serious pursuit of Ladakh and the views compensate for all the hardships that one has to bear while camping on this high altitude cold desert. The initial trail passes through the horrendous Hemis National Park followed by Markha valley which includes crossing numerous gorges, rich bed of barley and mustard fields. As the trail passes through high altitudes, cutting through narrow ridges, rocky tracks and barren topography and thereafter encounters a thick bed of snow, it becomes strenuous and dangerous combating with deadly moraines and blizzards.
The Stok Kangri climb and Markha valley trek commences from Chilling, which is approximately a 4 hours drive from Leh. After one day of acclimatization at Leh and paying a visit to some of the ancient monasteries of Ladakh region, namely the Shey, Thiksey and Hemis the trekking tour wheels to Chilling. Thereafter, crossing the Zanskar River the Stok Kangri and Markha valley trek heads to Skiu, which is the gateway to Markha valley. From Skiu the route slips through the deep Zanskar Gorge and Ganda La leaving behind the traditional colours of Zanskar region. The journey then heads to Markha valley moving through several more derelict monasteries. The vast terrain with patches of scant vegetation along the river banks surrounded by barren and desolate highlands makes the journey more beautiful for the questers. The trek continues further deep into Hangkar village and thence leads to Nimaling. After crossing the Kongmaru La at 5,100 meters the trail falls upon the snaky and tricky tracks. From the vicinity one can capture the panorama of the eastern Karakoram range, while the southern cascade is dominated by shapely Kang Yatze. As you descend a little further, you enter a narrow gorge, which presents wonderfully contorted rock formations, pillars and buttresses and colours. The trek thereafter skirt towards Stok village en route to Martselang and turns to Stok Kangri base camp. The ascent to the summit is followed by a day or two of acclimatization at the base camp.
Day 01 : Arrive Delhi
Day 02 : Delhi To Leh (3500 Mts/11480 Ft) (Complete Rest In Leh For Acclimatisation)
Day 03 : Leh - Shey - Thiksey - Hemis
Shey Gompa is about 15 kms from Leh. It used to be the summer palace of the kings of Ladakh. There are lots of Stupas and Gompas built around the palace. Shey palace was built by Deldan Namgyal in the beginning of 17’Th century AD. Main attraction in Shey is the 12m Shakyamuni Buddha statue inside the Dresthang Gompa.
Thiksey Gompa, close to Shey is about 17 kms from Leh. The monastery is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Ladakh and belongs to the Gelukspa order.
Hemis, about 45 kms south of Leh it is one of the most famous and largest monastery in Ladakh. It belongs to the Drukpa order and was founded in the early 17’Th century. The setting is perfect with the monastery cradled in a lovely valley, surrounded by streams and fronted by long Mani walls. Overnight stay at the guest house.
The most powerful of the monasteries in the vicinity of Leh, and belong to the Kagyupa Buddhist sect. Large areas of the surrounding farmland are controlled by the monastery.