An Important North Indian Buddhism Centre.
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.
Due to heavy snowfalls in the winter, the Kargil-Padum route remains closed during the months of July to September. This also makes winter an unfavourable time to book Leh Ladakh tour packages to visit Padum.
Post winter, as the summer starts approaching, the route reopens making Padum accessible to the outer world. Visitors can expect rise in the temperature with pleasant climatic conditions. Summer is the ideal time for sightseeing and other tourist activities in Padum.
The rugged and uneven terrains of Padum are ideal for adventure activities like mountain biking. Bikers can throng this scenic town and challenge their own limits while exploring its bountiful beauty on wheels.
Rock Climbing is also one of the most sought after adventure activities in Padum. Jotted with several barren cliffs and peaks, visitors during their Leh Ladakh tour, can visit Padum and enjoy rock climbing at several points.
In addition to the scenic beauty and splendour, Padum is also known for a set of ancient rock carvings that dates back to the 8th century. These rocks are located below the town beside a riverbank. Carvings on the rock depicts the essence of Buddhism in the region in the most livelier ways.
This stunning waterfalls is yet another tourist attraction in Padum. Cascading down from a towering mountain, Shila Waterfalls is a true beauty and is a delightful place to enjoy day picnics. The views around the cascade it purely breath-taking and can be called a paradise for the photography enthusiasts.
Being one of the historic capital to Zanskar Kingdom, Padum is also dotted with several royal architectures and establishments, and Old Palace is one among them. Though most of the structure are on ruins now, this palace has endured its grace and appeal in the most livelier ways, and can be an ideal place to revisit the history and grandeurs of Padum.
Starrimo Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the entire of Ladakh. Built during the 10th century, this sacred monastery is located on a scenic hilltop and is prime attraction in Padum. Visitors can reach this ancient monastery by embarking on a short hike through the rugged and uneven trails of Padum. The monastery serves as a home to several ancient belongings and around 30 lamas.
Sani is one of the closest villages to Padum; around 6km. If visitors on their Leh Ladakh tour happen to visit Padum during the month of July, they must visit Sani hamlet to witness its Monastery Festival. Celebrated to mark the triumph of good over the evils, this festival is the primary festival in the region. During this festive period, visitors can enjoy the traditional mask dance performed by the lamas, enjoy local music, culture and traditions at their best. A two days long annual festival, it is a true riot of colours and should not be missed at any cost!
One can make it to this valley during their Leh Ladakh tour through the Kargil-Padum Road that is around 240km. However, the first 90km of this route remains open only during the months of July (mid) to November (early). During this period of the year, visitors can avail exciting Leh Ladakh tour packages and reach Padum by boarding state-run buses or hire private vehicles to reach Padum.
Jammu Tawi being the only and nearest railway station can be an ideal point to reach Padum. Visitors, after arriving at the railway station, can either board a bus or hire private taxis to Kargil. From Kargil, they can opt for an overland journey to reach Padum.
Visitors planning for a flight jouorney can either make it to KushokBakulaRimpochee Airport in Leh or Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport in Srinagar. Post that, they can travel to Kargil, and embark on an enthralling road journey to Padum.