Zanskar is in the Indian Himalaya Mountains, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Himalaya are the world's highest mountain range, and straddles Northern India, Tibet, China, and Nepal.
Culturally and historically, Zanskar is part of Ladakh - often referred to as "Little Tibet".
The Kingdom of Zanskar is spread over 3 large, wide valleys carved out by glaciers. The valleys are referred to by the rivers that flow through them - the Stod, the Lungnak, and the Zanskar.
The climate in Zanskar is often described as a long cold winter (November - April), broken by a short hot summer (June - August).
Seasons change rapidly, so spring and autumn are barely noticeable.
Winter temperatures regularly plummet to -20 to - 30ºC, as the region is blanketed with snow.
10,000 people live in isolated villages scattered throughout Zanskar.
The largest community is the capital Padam, home to approximately 1,500 people.
The religion is predominantly Buddhist, with Islam practised by some Zanskaris in and around Padam.
The local language is Zanskari, a dialect of Ladakhi, which is derived from Tibetan.
The local economy in Zanskar is predominantly subsistence-based, growing crops such as barley and rearing livestock.
Tourism plays a small role in the economy as westerners generally trek across Zanskar, with most of the tourist expenditures going to trekking companies based in towns at the start of the treks (Leh or Manali) or to western tour companies. Always use Zanskari guides, porters or ponymen if you can!
For up to 7 months of the year, Zanskar is completely isolated when the mountain passes become blocked with deep snow, and the only way in or out is a 100 km trek along the frozen Zanskar River, that has been a trade route for hundreds of years.