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Nubra Valley, Ladakh

  • Nubra Valley, Ladakh - Everything You Should Know

    One of the most beautiful parts of the moonscapes of Ladakh, Nubra Valley is a deep cut gorge created by the combined effects of Shyok and Nubra (Siachen) rivers. A high altitude cold desert, Nubra Valley is actually an extension of the Tibetan Plateau (Qing-Zang Plateau) that starts in China and extends up to Ladakh. This valley in the plateau separates the Ladakh Range from the Karakoram Range.

    But more than anything, Nubra Valley is the most beautiful region in all of Ladakh. Home to wonders like the Diskit Monastery,
    Hunder Sand Dunes, Samstanling Gompa, Yarab Tso Lake, and the villages of Turtuk and Panamik.


    Located about 160 km from Leh, the capital of Ladakh, Nubra Valley is a great attraction to all those who come here. The gateway to the upper reaches of the country, especially Siachen, Nubra Valley has an oasis of a town in the heart, Diskit, making a great place to stop and reflect at the beauty around.


    And while you are at it, take a short detour to the famous white sand dunes of Hunder. The shapes and forms that these dunes take during different times of the year mesmerize every visitor who comes here. To make it further interesting, there are the double-humped Bactrian Camels, offering rides through the dunes.

    And when it turns dusky, head to the Diskit Monastery and visit the towering statue of Maitreya Buddha which looks over the entire valley and blesses it for another day to come.


    Essential Info:

    Brown hills, green patches, and a green river flowing right by everything, Nubra Valley is a bucket list item for every traveller and adventurer. There are a few facts and highlight of the place that everyone needs to know. A few of them are as follows.

    - Best time to visit:
    Now because the way to Nubra Valley passes through the mighty Khardung La, the highest motorable civilian all weather pass, Nubra is accessible throughout the year. But for the best experience, April to June, and September to October are the best time to visit as there are no rains or snowfall at this time of the year.

    - Altitude:
    Average altitude of the valley is 10,000ft or 3,048 m above sea level.

    - Distance Between Leh and Nubra Valley:
    When taking the conventional route through Khardung La, the total distance between Leh and Nubra Valley is 160 km, and while travelling from the unconventional road of Wari La, it becomes approximate of 150 km

    - Permits:
    Because of the sensitivity of the areas around Nubra Valley, foreign nationals and NRIs need to acquire a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to gain entry into the valley. Similarly, for Indian Nationals, an Inner Line Permit is required for entry. While you can acquire the Inner Line Permit from the DM Office in Leh (in person), a PAP has to be obtained through a registered travel agent.



    How to Reach From Leh

    The beautiful Nubra Valley is accessible only from the city of Leh, and this can be done in two ways. For both the routes to be taken, one has to arrive in Leh to begin the journey, before deciding which way to go. One is the conventional route that takes you over the top of the world, while the other unconventional route is quiet and serene to no end.


    Route 1: Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardung La

    The conventional route that is preferred by almost everyone who comes to Ladakh, the Leh to Nubra road via Khardung La takes you over what is known to be the highest motorable civilian all weather pass. Standing at the height of 18,380 ft above sea level, the Khardung La Pass has played a significant role in Ladakh’s popularity and has provided an ease of travel and commute.

    Practically important to the army stationed in Siachen, Khardung La once was an important part of the Caravan trade route that led to Kashgar in central Asia and was traversed by thousands of horses and camels once. The descendants of those are what travellers come to see in Nubra, especially the Bactrian Camels.

    Starting from Leh, you will first arrive at Phyang, home to the famous 16th century Phyang Gompa (monastery), located about 16 km from Leh. Moving on from here and riding amidst tall mountains, you will gain a lot of height in a short span of time, but will not realize as there are hardly any effects on that on the body.

    You submit a copy of the permits at South Pullu before the top of Khardung La, where a signboard tells you how high you are. Here, the views are just breathtaking, especially the view of the entire Indus Valley.

    Next, you arrive at the Khardung Village, that gave this place its name, followed by North Pullu where you show your permits again. After Khardung Village, you would have already arrived in the valley, but you keep driving till Khalsar, where the road bifurcates. The right road leads to Sumur, Panamik and Warshi, while the left one takes you to Diskit and Turtuk. Both the roads are scenic till no end and give you the best of views of the valley as you ride. Here's our full guide on Delhi to Leh-Ladakh trip which will help you on your journey. 

    Route 2: Leh to Nubra via Wari La

    The less taken and the rather unconventional way to go to Nubra from Leh leads you through another one of the highest roads in the country, Wari La. Nested at a height of 17,427 ft above sea level, Wari La Pass is not for the faint-hearted. With steep sections and hard to conquer surfaces, Wari La becomes totally impassable in the winters.

    Starting from Leh, you take the Manali Leh Highway to reach Karu which is about 35 km away. A totally magnificent location in Upshi that no one will miss while coming from Manali, due to the multitude of colors that paint the region. From here, a sign will show you the route to Wari La, which, to say the least, is not everyone’s cup of tea.

    You drive on one of the roughest roads of ladakh, that are a challenge for both you and the vehicle, until you reach the small town of Agham, from where you get a continuous, quiet, and a serene stretch of road until you arrive at Khalsar, which is the beginning of Nubra Valley.

    Places to Visit and Things to Do in Nubra Valley 


    Here are a few experiences that are must-haves while on a visit to Nubra Valley:

    1) Diskit Monastery

    The Diskit, or Deskit Monastery is largest and the oldest Gompa in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh. Built in the 14th century, the monastery is mostly known for its beautiful architecture and its amazing placement atop a hill, overlooking the town of Diskit, and the entire Nubra Valley.

    Inside the monastery, there is a statue of Cho Rinpoche (Crowned Buddha), a large drum and many depictions of the guardian deities of Buddhism, alongside a large fresco of Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. The most famous feature, however, is the 32 m tall statue of Maitreya Buddha in the monastery grounds.

    2) Maitreya Budda

    The image of the future incarnation of Buddha, the founder of Buddhist belief, the depiction has a significant place in the Nubra Valley. The 32 m tall statue of Maitreya Buddha located on the top of a hill inside the grounds of Diskit Monastery is one of the most impressive things in the valley.

    The statue looks over the entire valley while facing west towards Pakistan. Declared Sacred by the 14th Dalai Lama himself, the statue was made with 3 thoughts in mind; protection of Diskit, avoid further wars with Pakistan, and to promote peace in the world.


    3) Camel Safari at Hunder Sand Dunes

    In one of the highest deserts in the world, you can find one of the most unique sights in the world; the double-humped camels. Called by many to be camels with backrests, riding one of those is a memorable experience that brings people here from afar.

    And adding to that charm is the magic of white sand dunes of Hunder amidst the beautiful rugged mountains, snow-capped peaks, orchards of apricots, and the quiet River Siachen flowing by. The rocking and wobbling movement of the camel will be a fun experience as the beauty around captures your mind and soul.


    4) Quad Biking at Hunder Sand Dunes

    Similar to the experience of riding the camels on the sand dunes of Hunder, but a little more adrenaline spiking, you can also enjoy the experience of riding an ATV or a quad bike on the small mounds. Feel the air rushing past you as you ride over and down the ever-changing but ever magical dunes of Hunder. 


    The feel of all the rocky terrain, mixed with the excitement of doing it at one of the highest regions in the world is exhilarating in itself, and is definitely a must have experience.


    5) Samstanling Gompa, Sumur

    Located in the gem of a small village, Sumur, the Samstanling Monastery is beauty personified in the most simple manner. The setting of the monastery is in the midst of beautiful mountains, scenic greens, and under a blue sky, making the gold, red and white Gompa shine out differently from its surroundings. The best part, however, is the adventure that entails in reaching it, which requires a 45 minute trek from Sumur to reach the monastery.


    6) Yarab Tso Lake

    Another gem in the Sumur Village, the Yarab Tso Lake is located at a small distance of about 15 km from the capital, Diskit. Requiring a hike to reach, the beauty of the lake is something that captivates visitors with its simplistic beauty and peaceful surroundings.

    A 20 minute hike away from the Panamic village, the lake is considered to be holy by the people residing, not just in the village, but by everyone across the valley. The waters are crystal clear, and you can see to the bottom of the not so deep lake, with it reflecting the mountains around, making the whole setting mesmerizing.


    7) Turtuk Village

    A famous name in the minds of people who remember the 1971 struggle between India and Pakistan, Turtuk lies in the Baltistan region. Predominantly Muslim, Turtuk is India’s last village before Pakistan controlled Baltistan region begins. Opened to tourists in the year 2010, Turtuk has a few gompas, a royal house, and a few homestays for tourists to come and witness the real Balti culture.


    8) Panamik Village

    The northernmost village where non-Indians are allowed, the village of Panamik is nested pretty close to the Siachen Glacier. Known for its sulfur-rich hot springs, special permits are needed to arrive at this village located at a height of 10,442 ft above sea level.

    Apart from, the village of Panamik is also the home to 250-year old gompa, known as the Ensa Monastery. Shopping is another great thing to be enjoyed, as you can get Pashmina Shawls, woollen socks, and dry fruits of amazing quality at really great prices.

    Hotels in Nubra Valley:

    1) Hotel Sten-Del

    Located in the town of Diskit, the hotel Stendel has a habit of becoming a traveler’s favourite with it's 22 spacious and tastefully decorated rooms. Another great thing about the hotel is the open dining space on the lawn, where you can eat the delicious food made in their multi-cuisine restaurant.


    2) StepInn Nubra Valley

    Located on the banks of the River Siachen, the StepInn Nubra Valley is a guesthouse with a multitude of great services to offer. Sprawling gardens and attractive amenities are what await the travelers at this guesthouse in the quaint village of Sumur.


    3) Lchang Nang Retreat

    The name of this resort means “the house of trees”, and that is the perfect description of this amazing place. Nestled amidst orchards of Apricot, Elm, and Apple, the resort is fully solar powered and eco-friendly. The quiet resort is flanked by Siachen River on its western boundary.


    4) Hotel Real Siachen

    With a magical view of the valley, this guesthouse in the city of Diskit is surrounded by sprawling gardens on all sides. Rather tastefully decorated, Hotel Real Siachen is known for being unique and stylish, and with an amazing price tag that makes it even more attractive to all tourists.


    5) Hotel Grand Nubra

    Fully equipped great rooms inside and a quiet and isolated location outside, the hotel Grand Nubra has amazing features like a terrace and great gardens. And to add more value to the entire place, there is also a children’s playground and a bridal suite, to suit everyone’s need in one place.


    6) Hotel Yarab TSO Nubra

    In the village of Tegar, this Hotel is located on the banks of the Siachen River. You will find 13 rooms here including 2 suites, and a horde of other important features like wifi, parking, room service, and amongst all this, the love and warmth of Ladakhi Hospitality.


    7) Hotel Lhas Thang

    Being located in the town of Diskit has given its own charm to the Hotel Lhas Thang. An ideal destination for all the travelers coming into the region of Ladakh, Nubra is a beauty that is best captured from the window of your room in the Hotel Lhas Thang.


    8) Heritage Thongsal

    Heritage Thongsal is a luxury tented camp accommodation in the heart of Nubra Valley. Finding its perfect place in the village of Tirith Sumoor, the camp is very well equipped with what can be used to define luxury. There are 24 luxury tents available on double and triple sharing basis, decorated with local made wooden furniture, and with the attached facilities of Bathroom and toilet.


    9) The Wooden Nest - Nubra

    A luxury wooden cottage stay experience, right in the heart of Hunder Village, the Wooden Nest provides a quiet and serene stay experience. Enjoy running hot and cold water, a spacious verandah, modern bath fittings, classy interiors, and a proximity to the most beautiful stretch of land, the Hunder Sand Dunes.


    Camps in Nubra Valley


    1) Nubra Ethnic Camp

    A luxury camp in the middle of Hunder Sand Dunes, this place is the epitome of luxury in Nubra Valley. Spacious tents, private bathrooms, running hot water and a private verandah. The best part is the location in the middle of the village, meaning you can set out and explore the village in any direction that you go.


    2) Mystique Meadows Camp

    Situated in the quiet village of Sumur in Nubra Valley, the camp has 18 swiss cottages, 5 Mongolian Yurt Tents, and 4 rooms, all of which have attached washrooms with running hot water. Another great feature of this place is that the kitchen has its own organic kitchen garden, and serves cuisines from around the world.


    3) Apple Nubra Cottage

    With 20 swiss tents ready at the visitors service, the place is well known for being essentially pet-friendly. So if you are escaping, take your pet with you as well. Located on the banks of the Shyok River, the camp even has a separate hall for dining, where they serve local food, giving you a taste of the local’s love.


    4) Cold Desert Camp

    With a rather spacious approach toward camping, the Cold Desert Camp is run by brothers who have been in the industry for 10 years. Essentially famous for providing international standards, the camp has 15 swiss tents with proper furniture, attached washrooms, and running hot water. 

    The camp also has power back-up, oxygen cylinder, provision for campfire and a lot more to dazzle the guests making it a well-known camp in Nubra Valley.


    5) Valley Flower Camp

    Literally the flower of the valley, the Valley Flower Camp is located on the foothills of the Himalayas in the Nubra Valley, in the village of Sumur. The view of the snowy mountains and the immense greenery around will surely make you fall in love with this place. 

    With 15 tents on the premises, the camp provides ample parking space, free wifi, TV in the dining space, a special Gujarati Cook, and campfire on request.


    6) Royal Deluxe Camp

    As the name suggests, get ready for a royal experience at the Royal Deluxe Camp. Spread in an acre of area, the place is as green as it gets, with orchards of apricots surrounding it, and the crystal clear water of the river flowing past it. The campsite has 32 swiss tents, spread across the area, with properly constructed washrooms attached to them.


    7) Double Humped Camp Hunder

    The perfect mingling of wilderness with the beauty of the valley, the Double Humped Camp, Hunder is a majestic place to stay while in Nubra. Enjoying a breathtaking view of the rugged mountains around, the campsite has 10 deluxe swiss tents and a chef who takes care of all the needs of the guests arriving, making sure everyone leaves with a smile.


    8) Desert Himalaya Resort

    Tucked between the beautiful Karakoram and Ladakh Mountain Ranges, this campsite is spread in about 6 acres of unparalleled greenery. Blessed with a natural spring of crystal clear water, the resort grows all of its vegetables on the premises, and provides the guests with facilities for Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton, Cycling, Archery, Kite Flying, And Croquet.


    9) Nubra Organic Retreat

    Spread in acres of land, the Nubra Organic Retreat has 20 swiss tents with deluxe attached washrooms, with all of their doors opening up to the view of snow-capped Himalayas. Tastefully decorated with minute details in mind, the place is set at a perfect balance of man-made and natural. 

    Facilities here include restaurant, nature shop, power backup, running hot and cold water, laundry, wifi and emergency medical services.


    10) K2 Luxury Camp

    With 25 swiss tents, well-maintained area, modern amenities, hot and cold running water, and a spacious kitchen and dining area, the camp is a unique place to enjoy the beauty of Nubra and at the same time, enjoy the stay at the camps. You will get a projector for a movie screening, intercom and satellite television along with a flaming bonfire under a starry night sky.


    Other Essential Info about Nubra Valley

    - Mobile Connectivity

    Due to the remoteness, permit problems, and inaccessibility, mobile networks in the entirety of Ladakh are a questionable thing. The most prevalent one is BSNL while the others are mostly non-existent. For Nubra, mobile networks disappear as soon as you leave Leh, and come back when you enter Diskit/Hunder only.


    - Medical Facilities

    As such, there are no major medical facilities in Nubra Valley and the nearest hospitals are in Leh. There are 2 major hospitals in Leh, that are Dr P Wangchuk and the government funded SNM hospital.


    - ATM's

    Nubra Valley does not have any ATMs, so it is recommended that you carry your cash from Leh itself.


    - Petrol Pumps

    There is only one petrol pump in the entirety of Nubra Valley, located in the capital, Diskit. Apart from this hand operated petrol pump, you cannot find any other place for fill-ups in the valley.


    - Food Joints

    Where the people are very warm and lovingly welcome people into their houses to enjoy a snack or a meal, you can also find a couple of food joints here in Nubra Valley. A few prominent names in Nubra Valley include the Gyantse Restaurant and the Rangyul Guest House.


    - Minimum Duration for Visiting Nubra Valley

    For completely exploring the valley, you will need to stay here for a duration of at least 3 days.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    1) How do I get to Nubra Valley?

    Nubra Valley is only accessible from the city of Leh and can be reached via one of the two ways. The conventional route takes you from Leh to Khalsar from over the Khardung La Pass, while the other unconventional way takes you over Wari La’s unpaved and rough roads to finally reach Khalsar. Here's our full guide for leh-ladakh bike trip. You can also start your trip from srinagar to Leh


    2) What is there to see in Nubra Valley?

    Nubra Valley, in itself, is a beautiful region to witness. A few attractions that you can visit in this vast expanse of a place include

    -Diskit Monastery

    -Maitreya Buddha

    -Hunder Sand Dunes

    -Samstanling Gompa

    -Turtuk and Panamik Village


    3) Can I return to Leh the same day of the visit to Nubra Valley?

    Yes, it is entirely possible to visit Nubra Valley and return the same day. However, it has to come with a few bitter turns. You will only be able to visit Diskit and Hunder and will have to return early keeping in mind that it not advised to drive on the Khardung La Pass with less visibility.


    4) Is Nubra Valley worth visiting?

    Absolutely. Some of the most charming places in Ladakh actually find their home in Nubra Valley. This includes the hilltop beauty of Diskit Monastery, the green waters of Nubra River (Siachen River), the majesty of Maitreya Buddha, the quiet villages of Turtuk and Panamik, and the white sand dunes of Hunder. But above all this, the best reason to visit Nubra Valley is the warmth of love and welcome nature of the locals that you will get to witness. 


    5) What are the activities to do in Nubra Valley?

    Apart from sightseeing at the many amazing places, villages, and monasteries, you can enjoy a lot of other activities. Here are the names of a few :

    -Double Humped Camel Ride

    -ATV Ride or Quad Biking

    -Trekking in Ladakh

    -Rafting

    -Enjoy the Local Cultural Dance

    -Visit hot springs of the Panamik Village.

    -Shopping in Panamik Village

    -Night camping on the white sand dunes of Hunder.


    6) What are the other attractions near Nubra Valley?

    Here are the names of places to visit near Nubra Valley:

    -Khardung La Pass

    -North and South Pullu

    -Phyang (or Fiang) Gompa

    -Pangong Tso Lake


    7) Is Panamik famous for its hot water springs?

    Yes, the village of Panamik is home to sulfur-rich hot water natural springs, and they are located nearby the Siachen Glacier. Apart from these hot water springs, Panamik is also famous for enjoying a shopping spree for Pashmina Shawls and dry fruits. Nearby the village, there is also the famous Ensa Monastery.


    8) Is Ldumra the original name of Nubra Valley?

    Yes, according to the local scholars of the region, the valley was also called Ldumra in Tibetan. According to the Wyllie Translation of that word, Ldumra means the Valley of Flowers.


    9) What are the other things to keep in mind while visiting Nubra Valley?

    Yes, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

    -Always carry a first aid kit and your own personal medication. There is a high chance that you won’t find both in the remoteness of Ladakh, especially Nubra Valley.

    -Keep a torch with extra batteries, and a swiss army knife.

    -Keep hydrated as dehydration is the first thing to happen in altitude sickness.

    -Carry energy foods like nuts and dry fruits as appetite is usually reduced to the altitude.

    -Keep your documents, especially IDs and permits handy and safe as you will be flashing them a lot during the journey.

    -Keep a list of important contacts on a paper as mobile batteries die quick in colder environments.

    -Carry enough cash as there are not much ATMs in Ladakh and none at all in Nubra.

    -If you wish to stay in Leh, here's our full guide on hotels on stay in Leh


    10) Why is Nubra Valley a famous tourist attraction?

    Because it is the perfect blend of many colors and cultures. You will find dusty hills, snow-capped peaks, a clear blue sky, green patches, white sand dunes, emerald-colored river, and colorful monasteries, all in the same place.

Attractions

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favorite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above the sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Hemis Monastery

The biggest monastery in the North India is Hemis Monastery, one of the must visit attractions in Ladakh region. Set on the foothills of Indus, Hemis Monastery has 200 branches and over 1000 monks are staying there. It belongs to the red sect Brokpa of Buddhist order. Here the young Lamas are trained for the royal monasteries at Leh, Shey and Basgo.

History

Hemis Gompa came into existence 17th century and it was built by Chapgon Gyalshas and from then on the gompa was getting the royal patronage of Ladakh till now. But there is a saying that the monastery was founded by the first incarnation of Stangsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. After the missing of the head Lama in 1956, a young 12 year old boy from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh has been recognized as the head Lama of the gompa.

Structure of the monastery

The biggest monastery in the region has a surprising architecture and the building is quite appreciable. There are a lot of big statues and stupas decorated with stones and also the splendid collection of thankas. The collection of thankas is believed to be the largest and it would be shown to the public once in 11 years.

Location: Hemis Village is located 43 km south of Leh town and it is very easy to reach the monastery by bus or jeep.

Timing: 08:00 am to 01:00 pm and 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm

Entry fee: INR 100

Highlight: Hemis Festival is the prime attraction at the monastery which celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. The tenth day of the Tibetan lunar month every 12th year is the date of festival.


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Markha Valley Trek

Adventure lovers always had an affection to Markha Valley and still it fulfills the dreams of a trekker or adventure seeker with the unrivalled collection of natural spectacle. Long day trekking tours are offered by a lot of tour providers all over India which promise a journey through the most scenic locations and villages. The awesomely exciting feature of this trek is that it will let the trekker cross two high altitude passes in Ladakh; Gandala La at 4980 meters and Kongmaru La at 5276 meters.

 Being one of the diverse treks in Ladakh region, Markha Valley trek offers a lot of adventurous moments throughout. The barren land of Ladakh and the Buddhist temples found throughout the journey make the trek special. The route winds past the Ladakhi villages and it goes to Hemis National Park where the chances to spot some rare wildlife species are comparably high. The nomadic groups of people will be a unique picture to keep in heart. The symbols of Buddhism like ‘chortens’, stupas, multi colored prayer flags and numerous monasteries narrate the story of Buddhist culture embraced Markha centuries ago. Another interesting fact heard about Markha Valley trek is that it is also called ‘tea house trek’ due to the accommodation provided in parachute tents in most of the villages during the tour.

Maximum altitude: 15000 feet is the maximum altitude the trek will cover.

Location: In most of the cases, the trek starts from Leh. The trail usually goes through Chilling, Skyu and then to Markha. From Markha it would take the trekker to reach Hankar and Nimaling and finally return to Leh. The ideal trekking distance is 75 kms and it would be graded as difficult.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August, September and October are recommended as the best time to do Markha Valley trek.