Monday, 15 December 2014

The Nubra Valley | A Precious treasures of Ladakh, India

Nubra is a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Diskit the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh town, the capital of Ladakh district, India. The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley. At first glance, the valley seems parched and dry, but this is prime farming land by Ladakhi standard. Here the farmers grow apples, apricots and barley and harvest the orange berries of the Tsetalulu. Dotted around the valley are ancient gompas and ruined palaces and villages are close enough together to make this magnificent walking country. The people of Nubra Valley are friendly and hospitable. The Nubra Valley is indeed a precious treasures of Ladakh where people still living in the complete isolation for most of the year from rest of the world in the heart of the great Himalayas.

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Image credit Sara and Alon Tirosh

Nubra is a high altitude cold desert with rare precipitation and scant vegetation except along river beds. The majority are Buddhists. In the western or lowest altitude end of Nubra Valley near the Line of Control i.e. the Indo-Pak border, along the Shyok River, the inhabitants are Balti of Gilgit-Baltistan, who speak Balti. Siachen Glacier lies to the north of the valley. The Sasser Pass and the famous Karakoram Pass lie to the northwest of the valley and connect Nubra with Uyghur (Mandarin : Xinjiang). Previously there was much trade passing through the area with western China's Xinjiang and Central Asia.

Diskit town in the valley have become the congregation centre for people of the region. Diskit is the headquarters of the Nubra Valley and thus has lot of government offices with basic facilities. the Shayok River, the main village, Diskit, is home to the dramatically positioned Diskit Monastery. Hundar was the capital of the erstwhile Nubra kingdom in the 17th century, and is home to the Chamba Gompa. Between Hundar and Diskit lie several kilometres of sand dunes, and (two-humped) bactrian camels graze in the neighbouring "forests" of seabuckthorn. Non-locals are not allowed below Hundar village into the Balti area, as it is a border area. The beautiful village of Baigdandu is also located in this area. There is a marked presence of people with startling blue eyes, auburn hair and rosy cheeks as against the typical mongoloid features of the Ladakhis. Local lore has it that they were a Greek tribe who came in search of Jesus Christ's tomb and eventually settled here. Baigdandu is also known for the goats that give you the famous Pashmina shawls.

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Image credit Vamsi Chennupalli

The main road access to the Nubra Valley is over Khardung La pass which is open throughout the year. Its status as the highest motorable road in the world is no longer accepted by most authorities. An alternative route, opened in 2008, crosses the Wari La from Sakti, to the east of Khardung La, connecting to the main Nubra road system via Agham and Khalsar along the Shyok River. There are also trekkable passes over the Ladakh Range from the Indus Valley at various points. Routes from Nubra to Baltistan and Yarkand, though historically important, have been closed since 1947 and 1950 respectively.

The Nubra River is a tributary of the Shyok River, which flows through the Nubra region of Ladakh, into the Indus River to the east of Skardu, Pakistan. The Siachen Glacier melts into this river.
The Nubra River is a tributary of the Shyok River, which flows through the Nubra region of Ladakh, into the Indus River to the east of Skardu, Pakistan. The Siachen Glacier melts into this river. Image credit Dominic Lüdin

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
This is part of the Ladakh region in India, close to the border with China and Pakistan. Image credit mr_o

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Image credit Karunakar Rayker

The main attraction of the Nubra valley is Bactarian Camels (double hump Camel). These camels can be seen around sand dunes. Other attractions include Deskit, Samstanling monasteries and Khardung la Pass (18,380 feet) above sea level. For tourists its ideal to spend here two to three nights. However, you do need a permit, which only allows travel as far as Hunder and Panamik for a maximum of seven days. You must handover the photocopies of your permit on both sides of the Khardung La and also by the bridge to Sumur.

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Image credit Sara and Alon Tirosh

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Image credit Claudio Schlossmacher

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Petrol Station. Image credit Claudio Schlossmacher

35 meter statue of Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River towards Pakistan.
 35 meter statue of Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River towards Pakistan. Image credit Pranav Bhasin ©

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Image credit Brian Bowers

The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley.
Turtuk - Nubra Valley, Ladakh. Image credit Axel Drainville

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