WHY NUBRA VALLEY?
You have made it so far and have arrived in Leh so why not go a little bit farther to Nubra valley, Ladakh’s northern extension. Nubra Valley is known as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ of Ladakh and is one of the greenest valleys in this region. The barren harsh mountains dotted with tiny green oasis villages merge with the great Shyok and Nubra rivers. It is the most outstanding scenery that you can see from every spot in the valley. Nubra valley’s ancient history is also part of the Silk Road and adds to the landscape fantasy and a romantic atmosphere.
If you have a good enough imagination you can envisage the wagons and caravans of the enthusiastic traders and missionaries riding along the deep rivers banks heading towards Panamik village, to make their final preparations at the last station before crossing the terrifying massive mountains.
Lastly, although you have probably seen by now quite a few Buddhist monasteries on your travels in India the Diskit Gompa is not just another one and is a must-see if you are in this area. Its dramatic location above the confluence of the Shyok river and Nubra river with the monk’s warm hospitality visits a truly unique experience.
When is the best time to visit Nubra valley?
The time to visit Nubra valley is the same as in other parts of the Ladakh district that is mid-May to mid-October (see Manali to Ladakh). However, since the road to Nubra valley is via the highest motor pass in the world, Khardung La (5,600 m) than the pass may be closed during most of May. You can find out in Leh whether the pass is open or not. As long as you’ll be getting there later towards June/July chances are that the pass will be open more frequently as the weather gets better. In Nubra valley itself, the weather is quite similar to Leh at this time of the year. The temperature from July to September can reach at daytime up to 25-degree celsius while during the night they may decrease to 7-degree celsius. So July to September is the perfect time to visit Nubra Valley.
How to reach Nubra Valley, Ladakh?
Local buses are departing every morning from Leh and they can drop you off almost in every village in Nubra. You can also use a taxi (jeeps) which leaves Leh when they get full. If you can group up with some other travelers than you can hire a private jeep either from any local travel agencies or right at the bus station.
The way to Nubra Valley Ladakh is approximately six hours and it depends on which transportation method you use. For the photo lovers, there is a stop on Khardung La to take some pictures in the highest motor pass in the world. So get ready it is cold up there and some of you may feel a bit dizzy because of the high altitude. After Khardung La the road descends gradually to Nubra and within 3 hours approximately you will arrive in Khalsar, the main junction in the valley. From there one road turns west towards Hundar via Diskit and the other road goes north to Panamik via Sumur along the Nubra River.
Note that before going to Nubra you will need an Inner line Permit valid for seven days. Permits can be obtained by any travel agency in Leh and cost something like 150-200 rupees.
Nice places to visit in Nubra Valley
Diskit Monastery, the oldest Gompa in Nubra Valley Ladakh built in the 14th century is a huge structure with units built one above the other in pyramidal style and can be viewed as a chaotic architecture piece. Perhaps that is exactly what makes it so beautiful. Diskit Gompa in Nubra Valley Ladakh belongs to the Gelug-Pa sect (those who wear the yellow turbans. The Dalai Lama belongs to this sect) which is one of the major sects among the 4 sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is divided into various sections and you can get explanations from the lovely monks who live there. While exploring this huge monastery you will be exposed to the breathtaking views over the confluence of Shyok and Nubra rivers. Get ready to lose a lot of space on your cameras memory card. Below the Monastery with its face to the north is the impressive 32 meters statue of Maitreya Buddha which was recently inaugurated by the Dalai Lama himself.
For those of you who got inspired by the Diskit Gompa and wish to return the day after in the nearby Diskit village you can find few cozy guesthouses and hotels.
Enjoy the pastoral Nubra’s villages
Heading to the other side of the valley alongside the Nubra River there are the peaceful and pastoral villages of Sumur, Tigar and Panamik. This time of the year the village trees turn to yellowish-red and it makes you feel like you’re traveling in a fairytale. Unfortunately the famous and old granaries in Panamik which once served the traders back in time when the Silk Road was active now belong to the Indian army. The Important heritage of this legendary route has now become a victim of neglect.
So if you are getting to Leh and you have a few 2-3 extra days, Nubra Valley can be a good option and remember to get a permit first.
Nubra Valley, Map
What do you think? Are you going to include Nubra valley next time you’re in Ladakh?
Please write a comment below and if you have been in Nubra we will be happy to get some suggestions and tips