During the planning of most of Ladakh holidays – the decision of visiting the Khardung La Pass is almost unanimous. Everyone wants to see the world’s highest motorable pass. While this is one of the most popular things to do in Ladakh, once you cross the pass, you’ll reach Nubra Valley. It is one of the offbeat places to explore in Ladakh, with many of the places still being unexplored by tourists. Most people halt at the commercial capital of Nubra, Diskit for a night after crossing the pass.
Formed by the Nubra river and Shoyk river joining – Nubra valley is wide, open expanses of desert. It is the beautiful coloured vistas on the drive which makes for so many Ladakh road trip photos. It is untouched villages and lakes. Here are some reasons why Nubra valley should be at the top of your to do list in Ladakh.
Nubra Valley is home to some of the most isolated, and offbeat villages in the Ladakh region. Lying on the scalp of India, the villages in these parts have largely been cut off from civilization.
Diskit Monastery Buddha
Diskit, the commercial capital of Nubra, is about a 120 kms from Ladakh. You will be staying the night here, if you plan to cross the Khardung La pass. But don’t just leave the next day. Diskit is home to the Diskit monastery, the largest and oldest in the region. It is culturally one of the richest monasteries in Ladakh, with many murals, inscription and textures. It also has the tallest Buddha statue at a 106 ft! The serene surrounding and the peace this place offers in unparalleled, hence it’s a must visit.
Hunder and the Bactrian Camel Safari
Nearby diskit, where the Shyok River meets the Nubra, lies an oasis village, Hunder. Hunder is surrounded by massive sand dunes – and the camel safari here is one the famous things to do in Nubra Valley. The safari, which is done on Bactrian double humped camels, gives one an eerie feeling of a desert at such a height, at almost 10,000 feet. Due to this reason, it is hunder is sometimes called ‘The Desert in the Sky’.
Another unknown village that lies in this area is Sumur which is home to about 40 odd families. Sumur village is another peaceful village, lost in its time, with the people living alongside nature, making do in the cold, barren desert. One of the major attractions here is the Samstanling Gompa, which is a holy and revered monastery in the area. It is also one of the important Gompas of Nubra valley, and you need to trek about 45 minutes to reach Samstaling.
If you go beyond Hunder, you will be treated by a landscape which is unseen in the rest of Ladakh, and people which are unseen in the rest of India. Turtuk, India’s northern most village, lies nearby to the line of control between India and Pakistan, and is one of the most unexplored places. The landscape here is surprisingly green, the soil fertile, with Turtuk being the largest apricot producer in Ladakh. You’ll be greeted by fields of apricot, and people speaking Balti language – one that is spoken in the neighbouring Baltistan region of Pakistan. Balti is an old language, and uses sounds and symbols which bear resemblance to those of Persian and Iranian languages which are no longer used. This also explains the unique physical features of the people you’ll see here.
The Lakes, Springs and Glaciers
Ever since the famous bollywood movie, we all know of the blue Pangong Tso. In fact, that is what Ladakh has become famous for. But there are various other water bodies to see and admire in Ladakh, which remain unknown.
The Panamik hot water springs – are a natural occurring spring at about 10,400 ft above the sea level. Imagine standing in an ice cold mountain desert – and when you take a dip in the water, it is hot! These springs have a high amount of sulphur infused in them. It is a natural remedy for ailments like rheumatism and arthritis.
Panamik is also one of the best places to shop for Kashmiri winter wear. The world famous shawls and scarves, which are sold at exorbitant rates around the world, can be found at very reasonable prices here.
Near the Panamik village lies the Siachen glacier – famed to be the world’s highest battlefield where India and Pakistan have regularly skirmished. Since it is a war sensitive zone, tourists are not permitted to visit this beautiful glacier.
Another unknown gem in this area is the Yarab Tso Lake, which is situated close to both Panamik and Sumur villages. While not a huge as the other famous lake, this lake has surreal, transparent water – it is not frequented by many tourists. Due to this factor, there is an unusual serenity and a peaceful atmosphere around the lake. Isolation seekers, and offbeat enthusiasts, if you’re looking for a lake to visit in Ladakh, this is for you!
You will find some locals here, as it is believed that a wish made at this lake with a pure heart will come true.
And if all this is not enough
Nubra valley does offer you with many things to do, and unknown places to see. Despite all this, the geography of the place simply is a factor which makes it a must in our list of things to do in Ladakh.
The Nubra Valley is characterised by wide, open lands – with colourful lands for most parts. While driving here, you will get the feeling of the vastness of the land, and at many times, of being such a small part of it.
To take the full Ladakh experience, with miles and miles open road and breathtaking views, offbeat Ladakh is the way to go. Since Ladakh is being thronged by all the tourists with Ladakh tour packages, Nubra Valley is still one pristine place you can experience Ladakh, the way it’s meant to be.
Those were our reasons to love Nubra Valley. Will you be visiting Nubra on your next trip to Ladakh?