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As all the members of our trekking group were from the southern tip of India, we all were excited to conquer the northern tip of India. And after we st...
Though I completed this trek around 10 months back, its memories that reflects in my mind are still fresh and the same. Being a trekker, the moment I g...
About the Destination:
Probably the most popular trek in Ladakh, Markha Valley Trekking will have you explore and experience a diverse geography. It extends from colorful canyon walls in the lower Markha Valley, ascending to alpine grasslands that fit beautifully into the nomadic lifestyle of the local population, and eventually reaching out to rolling grasslands that are surrmounted by snow capped mountains.
Trekking through the Markha Valley is a feast to every existential pore. “Little Tibet” as this region is fondly called, puts on display one of the world’s highest inhabited plateaus with grand views of the Great Himalayas, Zanskar, and Ladakh ranges. Apart from this is a colourful presentation of multi-hued prayer flags that drape quaint hamlets of the Markha Village, monasteries, ruins, and so much more.
Markha Valley trekking also presents an opportunity to scale two of the highest passes Gandala La (4,800m) and Kongmaru La (5,150m) in the Himalayas. While the first couple days on the trek will be spent in Leh getting acclamatised to the cold, semi-arid weather zone, the time can be well spent visiting local markets, nearby attractions (there are quite a few of them!), and getting to know the distinctive lifestyle of the locals. Each day on the trek promises to be a strong memory and the entire journey will make for the most precious travelogue ever!
Temperature Range: Day (25 ~ 30 c) Night (04 ~15 c)
Arrival in Leh
From the very start, this trek spells adventure and beauty. The flight from Delhi to Leh is simply phenomenal. Feast on some mesmeric aerial views of the snow-capped peaks as you close in on this cold arid land of passes tucked in the high ranges of the Himalayas.
Find your adrenaline rush as the flight lands on an enigmatic strip pitched between mountains on either side. Travel 6km from the airport to the city catching traces of what’s in store over the next 9 days. Check-in to the hotel and begin experiencing a whole new world situated at an altitude of 10,000ft. Unwind for some time and in the evening, you can enjoy an amble to the Leh Market.
A day in Leh
A day to get out, explore, and become a part of Leh and its culture. As you spend time doing so, get acclamatised to the weather conditions ahead of your Markha Valley trek. Sip on the traditional Leh butter tea and breakfast. Unravel hidden palaces, ruins, monasteries. Famous places include Shey Palace and Gompa, Thiksey Monastery, and the mysterious Magnetic Hill. Spend the day in leisure and stay overnight at the hotel.
Drive from Leh to Spituk and trek to Zingchan Village
Start your first day of the trek. Take a jeep ride through Spituk Village to reach Zingchen. Join the trip leading team at Spituk and start the short trek along moderate gradient. There will be horses here for carrying of the trek equipment.
From here on you’ll have old roads, wild roses growing along the dry arid and barren lands of Leh and Ladakh for company. Arrive at the lush valley of Zingchan Valley after crossing streams along River Rumbak. A leading trail through the village ends at the campsite, where you’ll stay over for the night.
Trek from Zingchen to Ganda La base
This day belongs to the elusive Himalayan wildlife as the trek meanders through Hemis National Park. If lucky, you will get to witness the wildlife. The protected area is home to denizens such as Arghali (great Tibetan sheep), red fox Tibetan wolf, Bharal (blue sheep), Lynx, mountain hare and more.
With gradual climbs of a beautiful gorge ahead of you, hike comfortably as you enter the village of Rumbak. Meet and greet local folk. Stop over for some local chai made by the village women. Pass the house of Yuruche to arrive at the idyllic campsite at Ganda la base. As you pitch tents for the night, soak in the spectacular views of the Stonk Kangri and Stonk Ranges.
Trek from Ganda La base to Skiu via Ganda Las
Today, you will experience passing through a Himalayan gateway in the ‘land of passes’, Ladakh. After the routine exercise and breakfast, prepare for the big day as the omnipresent prayer flags, chortens dot the way.
From the Ganda La you get to see the lofty Zanskar ranges giving way to the Himalayas in the distant. On one side you’ll also the Ladakh ranges. As you gradually begin the ascent of Ganda La (4,900m), you could spot local denizens like Arghali, Marmots, blue sheep roaming freely on the mountain ways. Arrive at Shingo after a 2hr trek. Break for lunch. Continue trekking to scale heights around 3,300m to arrive at the quaint village of Skiu and set camp for that night’s stay over. The backdrop is picture perfect with ruins of an ancient castle and an old monastery pitched against clear blue skies and the barren land of Ladakh.
Trek from Skiu to Markha
This day will be marked with innumerable ascents and descents. You’ll enter an area, which was majorly hit by floods in 2005. The village of Skiu is a perfect setting for a quick campsite. Enjoy local food and beverages prepared by the local women’s association.
From here, the trail towards Markha Village is ladden with thickets of willow and poplar intertwinned with chortens and prayer flags along the path. Take a glance at the barren cliffs rising high above the valley creating a remarkable contrast.
Land at the foot of a bridge over the Markha river just as you step outside another thicket of willow and gorse. Hiking beside the river throws spectacular views of the Markha valley below. At an altitude of 3,800m lies Markha, the largest village in the region with 20 households, an old monastery, and an ancient fort ruins. You could pitch tents or have the choice of a homestay.
Trek from Markha to Thochuntse
After breakfast, set to capture yet another milestone on this trek. As you leave Markha Village, a trail of old stone mills, fortress ruins, and Techa monastery are found en route. Techa chorten perches proudly on a cliff that rules over Markha. Several river crossings come along the trail as you pass through some of the last few hamlets in the valley.
As you move ahead of Umlung Village, you’ll be rewarded with the first sight of Mt. Kang Yatse (6,400m) and the sight accompanies you for a long distance. After lunch break at Hangkar Village, leave the barren lands to arrive at the green pasture filled Thochuntse, which is your abode for the night.
Trek from Thochuntse to Nimaling
The trail today leads you to Nimaling, the highest campsite along this trek. This beautiful plateau doubles as a grazing yard for the Markha locals in the summer months. Retire here for the night.
Trek from Nimaling to Shang Sumdo, Drive to Leh
Today finds you scale the highest pass on this trek, Kongmaru La (5,200m). Get undisturbed classic views of the Indus Valley and Ladakh ranges from here. With steep descents being the order from hereon as you begin your return trail. Enter at Shang Gorge known for its fascinating rock formations. Also visit sour-spring of Chuskurmo, popular in the traditional medication around here. From here drive to Leh, on the last leg of your trek.
Write Your Story
Rated : 5.0
As all the members of our trekking group were from the southern tip of India, we all were excited to conquer the northern tip of India. And after we started with the course of ttrekking we really came to know why people says that opposite poles always attracts. The Markha Valley has a unique factor to make the trekkers come again and again.
Rated : 5.0
Though I completed this trek around 10 months back, its memories that reflects in my mind are still fresh and the same. Being a trekker, the moment I got to witness the Himalayas along with other peaks like Zanskar and Ladakh ranges, all my dreams came true. Nice and extremely adventurous trek. Note: it can be best enjoyed if you have prior experience in the Himalayas or trekking.
Rated : 5.0
It’s like those moments when all you hear is just the sound of you breathing. Silence everywhere and wow…what a relief – no traffic, no people taking just you and the wind. That’s it.
Rated : 4.0
Ladkhak, no doubt the king of trekking place and this small Markha village is best for your next expedition. Loved the whole experience, the peaks and amazing views and worth capturing.
Rated : 4.0
Can’t forget that 9 day trip to MArkha Valley with my team, enjoyed the whole trekking trip and camping. Our tour guides and leader mad made all the arrangements of tools and food items before embarking the trek and that really helped us on the way. The best trekking destination for a strong group.
Rated : 4.0
Trekking along Markha River, we get stunning views of Valley below and it was an amazing shivering experience for me.
Rated : 4.0
Markha Valley trail is an amazing place to visit and trek. it is difficult as you pass through some huge passes in this trek. but as you move you just get in love with the place. also i had to make a lot of lifts and jumps during the trek, so it was challenging to me but and i was happy that i finished it.
Rated : 4.0
What a scenery it was, crossed Hemis National Park, Markha River, Buddhist Villages and rocky carron's and all these places were an additional gift apart from trekking. made some great memories here. i think after i came back from the trek i feel so good and actually think i have became callmer. thank you ladakh and thank you to all the members and guide for the trip.
Rated : 4.0
My 9 day trip to Markha Valley was awesome because of our group, our tour guide and those lovely scenes. amazing journey in the land of high passses. ladhak is seriously beautiful and with this trek i got to see it on foot. a must go for trekkers.
Rated : 4.0
Nobody can explain the beauty of nature, because nature always surprised us by giving a such wonderful gift . It was such a challenging and a magical journey for me and my cousins to walk up the mountain peak but had a fun with my brothers and sisters. It was a great day with family and the place was really wonderful with an awesome valley. It was like walking on the clouds, the valley was heaven on earth. All in all the entire trekking experience was so much fun and had a great time, loved the entire experience.
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