A Remote Buddhist Settlement
The farthest 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-km 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 Zanskar
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.
Trekking Route To Hinaskot/Henaskot
Rangdum also serves as an important trekking base. The most popular trek from here leads to Henaskut (also spelt as Hinaskot) near Lamayuru, across the spectacular gorge of the Kanji valley. This 5-day trek also forms the last leg of the two weeklong trans-Himalayan traverse between Kashmir and Ladakh .
Road: 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 offer 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.
At Sankoo basic accommodation is available in the Govt. Rest House. A Tourist Bungalow is also situated over here. At Panikhar the Tourist Bungalow provides 4 furnished rooms while some private hotels also offers accommodation. At Rangdum the newly built Tourist Complex provides 5 furnished rooms and dormitory accommodation. Tented accommodation operated by the monastery management provides simple overnight shelter while basic food is available at the nearby teashop.