- General Info
- FLORA AND FAUNA
Zanskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum. Zanskar, together with the neighboring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet.
The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that separates Zanskar from Ladakh and Kinnaur District from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya,
Zanskar covers an area consists of the country lying along the two main branches of the Zanskar River. The first branch, the Doda and the second branch is formed by two main tributaries known as Kargyag river, and Tsarap river. These two rivers unite to form the Lungnak river (also known as the Lingti or Tsarap). The Zanskar river then takes a north-eastern course until it joins the Indus in Ladakh. Access to Zanskar is difficult from all sides and communication with the neighboring Himalayan areas is maintained across mountain passes or along the Zanskar river when frozen. In 1979 the only road in Zanskar was built to connect Padum with the main road from Srinagar into Ladakh.
Much of Zanskar’s vegetation is found in the irrigated villages, and on the upper slopes which receive more precipitation and where it consists of alpine and tundra species. Most impressive are the meadows covered with thousands of edelweiss. At the foot of the Gumburanjon mountain blue poppies can be found. Crops including barley, lentils, and potatoes are grown by farmers at the lower elevations. Domesticated animals such as the yak, dzo, sheep, horse, and dog are found in the region.
Among the wildlife that can be found in Zanskar are the marmot, bear, wolf, snow leopard, kiang, bharal, alpine ibex, wild sheep and goats, and the lammergeier.
Zanskar is a high altitude semi-desert lying on the Northern flank of the Great Himalayan Range. This mountain range acts as a climatic barrier protecting Ladakh and Zanskar from most of the monsoon, resulting in a pleasantly warm and dry climate in the summer. Rain and snowfall during this period are scarce, although recent decades have shown a trend towards increasing precipitation.. Most of the precipitation occurs as snowfall during the harsh and extremely long winter period. Parts of Zanskar valley are considered some of the coldest continually inhabited places in the world.
Roughly 95% of the inhabitants practice Tibetan Buddhism, while the remainder are Sunni Muslims, whose ancestors settled in Padum and its environs in the 19th century. The majority of Zanskaris are of mixed Tibetan and Indo-European origins.