Nubra valley – a gateway to Laddakh
The beautiful valley that you will come across while visiting the Laddakh region is Nubra valley which you can not miss while on your trip to Laddakh. Valley is situated at an elevation of 3050 meters above sea level at a distance of 160 Km from Leh. This valley stretched up to 150 km distance and got its name from the river Nubra which flows through this valley. And mind it, you should not miss visiting this beautiful valley as it has many things to enjoy for you within.
Some of them are Nubra and Shyok Rivers, Diskit Monastery, Trekking, jungle safari, and camping which you can enjoy there. Villages falling under this valley are Hunter, Turtuke, and Diskit. Visiting these villages and interacting with locals there will provide you an ultimate touch of Buddhist culture.
Why Nubra Valley is famous
Nubra valley is the most splendid and beautiful region among the entire Laddakh region with culturally significant monasteries and villages. It is actually an extended part of the Tibetan plateau and deep-cut gorge created by the combined effects of Shyok and Nubra (Siachen) rivers. It is located at a distance of 160 Km from the town of Leh and offers you scenic beauty as a traveler and nature lover. Nubra valley provides an awesome mixture of green land with brown mountains with Nubra river flowing by side to it.
Valley is also famous because of the white sand dunes of Hunder and camel rides being offered through these dunes to visitors. Apart from sand dunes, the Tall and beautiful statue of Lord Buddha in the compound of Gorgeous Diskit Monastery located on the hilltop seems as guarding the valley by its close watch.
Best time to visit Nubra Valley
By virtue of its location at the high altitude, the winter season offers heavy snow in the valley. The summer season is the best time to visit here in the valley with lot of great landscapes to offer to tourists. Actually, this valley is accessible throughout the year because the road passes through Khardung La pass which is the highest motorable all-weather pass. But to explore the valley to the fullest, it is suggested to visit in the months of April to June and September to October.
Permit to visit Laddakh Region
As this area located near the border area, it is strategically important for India. Hence before visiting here, you have to obtain permits or can say passes from the authorities. Domestic or Indian tourists need an Inner Line Permit, which can be obtained both offline and online. To have an offline permit, you have to visit the Tourist information center at Leh town or DM office in person. For the foreigner tourists, a protected area Permit is required to visit the Pangong lake which can be obtained online or through registered travel agents.
The inner line permit can be obtained online by visiting the Official Website of Leh District Permit Tracking System. For Indian nationals, the option of ‘Domestic client’ can be clicked and permits will be issued online after filling in the required details. The fees for issuing permits is very nominal at the rate of 420 (400 as environmental fees and 20 as inner line fee).
How to reach Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley can be reached from Leh by two roads: one which is through Khardung La pass will be of 160 Km while one through Wari La pass is 150 Kms.
Route 1: Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardung La
This route to reach Nubra valley is most preferred by the travelers visiting the Laddakh reason and there are reasons to do so. While adopting this route, you will come across the world’s highest motorable road through Khardung La pass at an altitude of 18380 feet. This played an important role in enhancing the popularity of the Laddakh region among tourists. This high pass was historically important for trade to the people of Tibet and the Laddakh region. Presently this pass is strategically important for India because of connecting medium to the Siachin glacier.
Starting from Leh, you will have to drive for 16 Km and Phyag Gompa will welcome you after which there is steep height among mountains. Copy of the permit obtained at the Leh office will be submitted here at the South Pullu which is near the top of Khardung La pass. Breathtaking views here at the pass will surely mesmerize you and it acts as an awesome moment for nature lovers and photographers to capture.
After passing through here, the village of Khardung La is followed by North Pullu where you will be required to show the permit again. By continuing ahead till Khalsar village, here you will meet with a bifurcation. The right road leads to Sumur, Panamik, and Wari, while the left one takes you to Diskit and Turtuk. Both routes have different but equally important views and landscapes.
Route 2: Leh to Nubra via Wari La
This route is generally avoided by travelers because of the not so good road conditions. Although by opting for this route also, you will not miss the thrill of traveling through the highest motorable road in the world of Khardung La. Because road through Wari La pass is also one of the highest motorable roads at an altitude of 17430 feet and you will feel the same thrill. This pass becomes inaccessible in the season of winter because of heavy snow.
Starting from the Leh town, you have to pick up Leh Manali highway for another 35 Km up to village Karu. The beautiful location of Upushi will surely give you Goosebumps in terms of serene nature. After this, a signboard to Wari La pass to be followed, and to be on the safe side, it is recommended not to take this road if not confident about driving skills. While en route Leh Manali highway, you will be taking a diversion from Agham village.
Things to Do in Nubra Valley
The oldest and the largest monastery in the Ladakh is Dikshit Monastery which is located in the Nubra Valley and it is aged back to the 14th century. This monastery is located on the banks of the river Shylok at an altitude of 3145 meters. Perched on high ground with a 100 feet high statue of Buddha at the entrance making this monastery more beautiful.
You can reach here from Leh by Khardung La pass and it remains open from 0700AM to 0100PM and 0200 PM to 0700PM. It is to be noted that Nubra Valley remains isolated in the winter season because of heavy snow. A Festival of the Scapegoat is held by this monastery in the month of February, which is one of the best festivals in the entire region. Entry fees for this monastery are very marginal at the rate of 30 Rs per person. You can get an awesome view of the village and mountains from this monastery because of its beautifully located space.
Camel Safari at Hunder Sand Dunes
You will come across a unique breed of camel here in the highest desert of Laddakh that is a double-humped camel. Magical white sand dunes of Hunder in the dessert area gives charm to the travelers. To add more adventure to a glimpse of sand dunes, you can undertake a camel safari here at dessert. Double humped camels are also known as camels with backrests and tourists really enjoy the ride here. Siachen river flowing by side to these dunes acts as a booster in the beauty of the land.
Along with camel safari, Biking can be enjoyed here at the sand dunes. Biking with sand dunes and snow-capped mountains at the backdrop really makes your visit worth it.
The Laddakh region is a land of Buddhist culture and has many beautiful monasteries there. Samstanling monastery in the village of Suru is one of the most visited monasteries in this region. The picturesque location of this temple in the backdrop of high snow-laden mountains. To reach this monastery, you have to undertake trekking for 45 minutes from Suru village.
Yarab Tso Lake
Yarab Tso lake is another tourist destination located in the village Sumur which is just 15 km from Diskit village. You need to hike for some 20 odd minutes to reach this lake from the Sumur village. The lake is beautifully located amidst the high mountains which attract every tourist to it. This lake with crystal clear water is regarded as a holy lake by the people of the valley and you can see the mountains inside as reflection.
This village is the last village of India before Pakistan controlled Baltistan and it was opened to visitors in 2010 only. This village got limelight after the 1971 Indo Pak war and it is dominated by people of the Islamic sects. Having some monasteries, mosques, and homestays, it attracts travelers who want to feel the Balti culture near.
Village Panamik is famous for its 250-year-old Ensa monastery and located at an elevation of 10440 feet. You can enjoy shopping for push mina shawls and other woolen clothing here in this village. It is very close to the Siachin glacier and it is the northernmost village of India. It is famous for its hot springs rich in sulfur and is located near Siachin, a special permit is required to obtain before visiting this village.
Hotels in Nubra valley
Once you planned for a trip to this region, you should not worry about the stay because you will get enough options to reside here. Nubra valley has many small towns where you can stop for a halt over and also enjoy the scenic beauty there. Apart from Diksit town, famous villages like Sumur, Tegar, and Hunder have good accommodation options available within. You can book cheap hotels at convenient prices in both offline and online mode by paying through Plastic money like credit cards easily.
Alternatively, if you want to spend time in the clear sky, you can go camping options in the Nubra valley. You will find a luxury camping option in Hunder sand dunes and Village Sumur.
Services Available in Laddakh Region
Mobile connectivity – Mobile connectivity can be assumed as Not available because, in most of the region and valleys, you don’t have access to it. Mobile network is found only around the major towns like Leh and Kargil.
Medical facilities– No, Medical Facilities and Hospitals are not available in the region. The only town of Leh has some good facility and no other part will be serving you with any of it except some basic first aid.
ATM– ATM is available only in the town of Leh. You will not find ATM anywhere in the entire region except here. So it is recommended to carry enough cash while traveling to the region.
Fuel Station– Fuel station or Petrol Pumps are available on the highway only and that also not so frequent to access. So it’s better to drive with enough fuel so that can catch another station located distantly. After Leh- Manali highway the first petrol pump you can find is at Tandi village. However, black fuel can be found in the village Karu, Spangmink, Chusul, Tangtse, Chumthang.
Automobile Repair shops will be accessible in major towns like Leh and Kargil only. In the rest part of the region, there is hardly any repair shop for your vehicle, so be mentally prepared for handling any contingency of breakdown.
Tips to visit Laddakh Region
There are some small tips that will help you in Planning your Trip efficiently. These tips must be kept in mind before boarding to the beautiful region of Laddakh. To get details you can go through other blogs on Things to carry on the trip as well.
Driving by Bikes: If you are a bike rider and visiting the lake by bike, then you should carry enough fuel with you. As there is no fuel station available from Leh/Srinagar onwards and you have to be self-sufficient for that purpose. Also, an option of bike repair will not be found easily, so must have a mechanic with you or else have arrangement prior.
Do carry necessary documents to prove your identity, in case asked. As you are traveling to border areas where frisking can be there by the security forces, you should be in a position to furnish all details to them when asked.
Don’t Disturb the Beauty: You are traveling to a beautiful location, and it is our moral duty not to disturb the beauty. Don’t throw garbage and keep all your used baggage with you and dispose of at designated place only. Please don’t throw Plastic and other garbage in this hill area, and if possible collect and dispose it of at the designated place.
Be polite with the local people out there, because they welcome travelers with a warm smile. It is our duty to maintain harmony so as to benefit future travelers.
Be Free and always plan your traveling in such a way that you have enough time available with you to explore to destination fully. Because traveling with a disturbed mind or under paucity of time will spoil your entire trip.
Medical Facility: If possible carry some minimum required medicines in your First Aid Box with you because the availability of medicine is scarce in the region. You can go through the checklist of minimum required medicines in the other dedicated blog on the Travel medicine kit.
Required Clothing items must be carried along in the trip to this region. Proper winter clothing including socks, undergarments, shoes, pants, and shirts keeping the harsh cold weather of the region in mind.
Carry enough cash while traveling, as there will be no ATM or internet banking facility in the far-flung areas of the valley. Most of the iconic places are located in the deep valley or on the border area where there is no cash-dispensing mechanism.