Just Got Leh’d – Part 2 #offbeatplace

3rd Aug 2018
Photo of Just Got Leh’d – Part 2 #offbeatplace by Subhayan Bhattacharyya

On day 2 we started our drive towards Nubra Valley from Leh. To reach Nubra valley region from Leh, one has to cross the very treacherous Khardung la. We started early morning so as to catch the glimpse of rising Sun taking its effects on snow capped mountains.

Day 3
Photo of Leh by Subhayan Bhattacharyya

The road to Khardung la has winding curves right from the beginning and there is not a single moment when you can take your eyes off the valley beneath. This pass on the Ladakh Range lies north of Leh and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. The Siachen Glacier lays part way up the latter valley. Built in 1976, it was opened to public motor vehicles in 1988. It is maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, the pass is strategically important to India as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Historically also, Khardung la was important as it was part of the Silk route from Leh in Kashmir to Kashgar in Central Asia. About 10,000 horses and camels used to take the route annually.

The pass is at a height of 18380 feet as claimed by the sign boards there, which also claims that it is the highest motorable pass in the world. The claim is disputed by experts, but that doesn’t take the charm away from this place. There is an army outpost there which helps fatigued travellers in case of any emergencies. It is not advisable to stay there for more than 15 minutes as the oxygen level is very low.

Photo of Just Got Leh’d – Part 2 #offbeatplace by Subhayan Bhattacharyya

After a short pause at Khardung la, we started towards Nubra valley. The road downhill is very steep and requires good driving skills to negotiate the turns. As we drove, the landscape comprised of huge mountains and vast uninhabited hinterlands. After the downhill drive was over we had the constant companionship of Shyok River throughout our drive to Nubra valley for rest of the 70 kms. On the way we stopped at Khalsar, which is a small village of about 100 people as informed by the shopkeeper who was serving the tea and it was the only village in the vicinity of 50 km. From Khalsar it took us about one hour to reach the austerely beautiful Nubra valley.

Photo of Just Got Leh’d – Part 2 #offbeatplace by Subhayan Bhattacharyya

Located across Khardung La is the charming Nubra Valley. Its original name is believed to be Ldumra meaning “Valley Of Flowers”. This beautiful valley is located at a height of 3048 meters, an average altitude of about 10,000 ft (3048 meters) which actually puts it at a lower altitude than even the town of Leh. Diskit is the capital of Nubra valley and is located about 120 kms from Leh. Shyok River confluences with Nubra River (also known as Siachen River) to form this enchanting valley that separates the mountain ranges of Ladakh and Karakoram.

Photo of Just Got Leh’d – Part 2 #offbeatplace by Subhayan Bhattacharyya

We had booked a tent in the village called Hunder. It is amidst fruit orchids and is famous for its sand dunes. If you staying at Diskit for the night, and if you are lucky enough for this to be a full moon night, do not miss the sight that these sand dunes present under a full moon. Another amazing thing you will get to see at Hunder is the Bactrian camel, or commonly known as two humped camels. Yes, that’s right. Unlike the regular camels, this one has two humps on its backs, which were used by caravans using the Silk route in olden days. You can even get a ride on this camel at Hunder on the sand dunes if you are willing to pay. The view of the setting Sun usurped by the huge mountain range in the evening is very amazing along with the soothing noise of flowing water of the river.

Photo of Just Got Leh’d – Part 2 #offbeatplace by Subhayan Bhattacharyya

Also one must pay a visit to Diskit Monastery. It was built in 14th Century. There is 32 metre tall statue of Maitreya Buddha near Diskit Monastery facing down the Shyok River towards Pakistan. The platform of the Monastery offers glorious views of the Nubra Valley.

Photo of Just Got Leh’d – Part 2 #offbeatplace by Subhayan Bhattacharyya

As the night descended we enjoyed our dinner alongside performance of local folk dance and then retired to our tent early with the promise of a view of Pangong Tso next day.

Travel Pointers:

Take 2-3 litres of water per person when travelling. Also keep chocolates and confectionaries with you. Carry medicines for altitude sickness and nausea along with you.

Don’t wait for more than 15-20 minutes on Khardung la top, as the oxygen level is very low.

As Indian Nationals or Tourists, you only need to present your valid Photo ID Nationality Proof at the ITBP/Army check-posts. ID Proofs such as Driving License, Aadhar Card, Indian Passport, PAN Card, etc., will just acts as permit for you.

For Foreign national Travellers in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir government has relaxed the Protected Area Permit (PAP). The government has allowed the foreigners to visit restricted areas in Leh district of Ladakh. Foreign tourists will now be permitted to visit Nubra Valley in Leh.

Gyantse restaurant in Diskit serves local ‘Balti’ dishes and good chinese food.

There are many home stays available in Hunder village which one can get easily after getting there.