Padum, the erstwhile capital of Zanskar, is situated at a height of approximately 3505 m. Today, the valley serves as the administrative headquarters of the region. Padam valley in Ladakh is one of the few ones that have a dominant population of Muslims. Constituting nearly half the township's population, their origin dates back to the mid 17th century. Padum is considered as the most populous settlement of Zanskar with a population of nearly 1500. Otherwise, the valley counts amongst the scarcely inhabited ones.
One of the major attractions of Padum is that the valley serves as a
major trekking base. Other tourist attractions of this valley include
the Starrimo Monastery situated on a tree-covered ridge above the old
town, which houses about 30 resident monks. Then, there is a set of
ancient rock carving on a huge boulder near the riverbank, just below
the old township, dating back to the 8th century. These engravings prove
that the region was under the influence of North Indian Buddhism.
Last but not the least, the old village of Pibiting, near Padum, is
worth visiting. An outstanding manifestation of stupa architecture, it
stands dominated by a charming hilltop monastery.