and the most
isolated part of the Suru Valley, Rangdum is an elliptical expanded
plateau surrounded by colourful hills on the one side and glacier
encrusted rocky mountains on the other. Situated 130 kms South- east
of Kargil, it falls midway between
Kargil and Padum. Due to its
remoteness from inhabited parts either of Suru or Zanskar, the areas
wild beauty is almost haunting, while its isolation is near perfect
even as the unpaved
road traverses its length. The chief attraction of this area is an
imposing 18th century Buddhist monastery with about 40 monks in
residence. Perched picturesquely atop a centrally rising hillock
which is entrenched around by the bifurcated course of a wild
mountain stream, the Rangdum monastery has the aura of an ancient
fortification guarding a mystical mountain valley. The villagers are
descendents of the monastery's agricultural, serf-tenants, who do
not own any land in the region. The monastery enjoys perpetual and
unalienable ownership of the entire valley including the fields
tilled by the villagers, the pastures, hills and even the streams.
Rangdum also serves as an important trekking base. The most popular
trek from here leads to Henaskut near Lamayuru, across the
spectacular gorge of the kanji valley. This 5-day trek also forms
the last leg of the two week long trans-Himalayan traverse between
Kashmir and Ladakh.
How to reach ?
Sankoo, Panikhar and Parachik are connected with Kargil with regular
bus services, in summer even twice a day. A bus ride from Kargil
takes 2 hours to Sankoo, 3 hours to Panikhar and about 4 hours to
Parkachik. Rangdum is serviced by the BI-week bus service to Padum,
which increases according to demand. Some trucks plying between
Kargil and Padum also offers a lift in the cabin for the price of a
bus seat. Cars and jeeps taxis can be hired from Kargil for visiting
different places in the Suru Valley, including Rangdum and Penzila,.