Ice River – A journey to Zanskar in Winter
Tourism in an Extreme Environment
- Extreme environment
- Adventure tourism
- Mountain environments
This expedition occurred during January and February 2011 to Zanskar, a sub district of the Kargil district in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in the imposing Himalayan mountain range. The administrative center is Padum. Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet.
The research intended to travel along the ‘Chadar’ Ice River to Zanskar; it is the only way in or out of this remote Himalayan kingdom for eight months of the year. This offered an exceptional opportunity to travel through a challenging environment, a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon in temperatures as low as -30C, to understand the central role this passage plays to the Zanskar regions as without it permanent inhabitation would be impossible.
The researchers aimed to make a radio programme telling the story of this spectacular journey from two perspectives: Tanzin, a Zanskar local returning for the first time since he was seven years old and Paul, an English man appreciating the journey that represents a connection with the past so widely ignored in the modern world.
Now, a new road through the gorge will render the Chadar redundant and the practical and cultural impact of this change will be particularly interesting from the perspective of adventure/extreme tourism.
Qualitative data was collected in the form of audio recordings and pictures from along their journey.
- To tell the story of a spectacular journey
- To gain two perspectives of their story; Tanzin, a Zanskar local returning for the first time since he was seven years old and Paul, an English man appreciating the journey that represents a connection with the past so widely ignored in the modern world
- To tell their story via a radio show
Lesson one »
Lesson two »
Lesson three »
Follow up »
Paul Howard is a geographer, journalist and has written three books about cycling and travel. He has an MA in Geography and is a fellow of the RGS-IBG.
Tanzin Norbu was born in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Zanskar. He currently lives in the UK, where he is a fellow of the RGS-IBG and a member of the International Association for Ladakhi Studies.