Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley lies to the north of the Indus Valley & Leh, just across the Ladakh range, at an average altitude of 2800 M /10,000 Ft.


Popularly called "Ldum-ra" (Valley of Flowers), it nestles along the foothills of the Karakoram Range and drained by the Siachen & Shayok river system. The valley floor is generally sandy and covered by green oases of the villages and thickets of myricarea. Till closure of the trans-Karakoram trade route by the Chinese in 1949, Nubra was a major trade corridor between Central Asia & Leh and onwards to Srinagar to connect with the Silk Road.

Prominent places in Nubra Valley include Deskit (118 kms), the regional headquarter, dominated by its 15th century hilltop monastery. Just across the rolling sand dunes from Deskit is the pretty village of Hundar (125 kms) which has a small population of double-humped Bactrian camels, a legacy from the Central Asian trade caravans. We can now travel further down river, all the way to the Turtuk-Tyakshi border villages, which are inhabited by ethnic Baltis who harbor & nurture a rich culture of their own.


North of Deskit, the road leads into the valley of the Siachen or Nubra River where the picturesque hillside monastery of Samstaling in the village of Sumur (115 kms.) is the main attraction. Samstaling is a branch of the larger Rid-zong monastery in the Indus Valley which is famous for the austere and strict lifestyle of its resident monks. About 25 kms. further up the valley is Panamik, famous for its hot springs which are used as a traditional spa by throngs of local people for curing various ailments to good effect.

Another attraction of the Nubra visit is the drive across Khardong-la (5602 M / 18,390 ft.), highest motorable road in the world as recorded in the Guinness Book of World records. From the top of the pass one can see all the way south over the Indus Valley to the endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range, and north to the gigantic peaks of the Karakoram Range. Khardong-la is strategically important to India as it is used to carry essential supplies to the Siachen Glaciers. Historically, the Khardong-la route played a major role in the Central Asian trade and it is said that about 10,000 horses and camels took it every year.

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