Nubra Valley in Leh

Leh is also known as the land of Tall Passes. It is one of the most visually appealing parts of the Himalaya and it’s juxtaposed between China, Pakistan and India. The Nubra Valley lies north of Leh and it is an austere yet breathtakingly beautiful valley.

Nubra Valley in Leh
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There are many charming villages and spots of scenic beauty in the Nubra Valley.

What to see in Nubra Valley

The famous Silk Route is situated in the Nubra Valley and this place has got loads of references in literature, movies and music. The silk route is actually an arduous stretch of rocky land between Leh and Yakhand (a Chinese trade town). For several hundred years textiles, wool, animal fur, snake skin, turquoise, indigo and precious metals were passed through this route sometimes legally and often illegally. This kept on happening till 1950 when China shut down its border. The amount of trade accomplished in this narrow somewhat dangerous valley that it got named as the Silk Route.

The Valley in Nubra
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If you are interested in geology, geography, politics, human history or simply nature then you will be fascinated by the Nubra Valley as it remains largely untouched by civilization and yet has seen frantic trade activity. The Siachen Glacier which is believed to be the second biggest glacier in the whole world is situated in the Nubra Valley. India and Pakistan have fought many battles in this ice-land but since 2003 there have been no further disturbances.

The Shyok Valley can be reached via the village Khardung and it is a place of immense natural beauty. You will see some of the oldest Tibetan monasteries in India inside this valley and all of them stand on acres of land which are separated from each other by huge chunks of rocky land. Surprisingly there are large numbers of wild camels9 Bactrian camels with 3 humps) in these parts and feral goats with long beards and big hairy coats.

Monasteries and Villages in Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley houses many villages and monasteries which have many interesting tales to share. Check them out below:

Diskit Village

It is the most commercial area of Nubra Valley but it’s still n larger than an overgrown village. There are many tiny shops here which sell Tibetan artifacts at surprising prices. The Diskit Gompa is a monastery which is artfully situated on top of a huge rock. Long engraved series of mounds with Buddhist Prayer and chants scribbled inside them are called Mani walls and they are uniquely found in Nubra Valley. You will also find Snow white domes called Chortens which contain holy relics owned by Buddhists.

Villages in Nubra Valley


The prayer session in the Diskit Monastery is an ethereal experience in itself with chanting monks dressed in iridescent amber gowns and resonating cymbals. If you have employed the services of a Ladakhi guide then you can witness the terrifying statue of a local deity carrying the head of a Mongol trespasser in its hands.

Hunder Village

Another Village which can be of great tourist interest is the Hunder Village (land of Sand Dunes) which is about 10 KM away from Diskit Monastery. The Hunder village has been covered several times by national Geographic Chanel for its exquisite beauty. The Hunder village is known for the peculiar culture of Buddhist-Nurban heartlands which are mainly populated by Buddhists and Muslims. The Shyok River is of particular interest as it presents excellent opportunities for photography.

Turtok Village

Turtok is a tiny village quite near the Hunder Village and a mere 50 km away from Pakistan border. This village is famous for its Apricot orchards and almost 70% of the apricot production of India comes from Turtok village. The Turtok village has a Turtok Gompa and a handful of tourist lodges which offer basic facilities but make for an amazing authentic experience.
Sumur- Sumur is arguably the biggest village in Nubra Valley. There is a 19th century palace called Zamskhang over here which has great architectural and tourist value. If you want to eat decent meals in some other cuisine apart from typical food found in Leh then this is the best place. There are some shops here too and a beautiful Gompa called the Samastaling Gompa.

Baigdandu

Baigdandu is a place which has a famous lore associated to it. According to myths Greek tribes visited this place when they came in search of Jesus Christ’s Tomb. Once they reached they were besotted by the enchanting beauty of the place and they stayed back. The inhabitants of these villages have aquiline nose, brilliant blue eyes and angular faces which are different from Mongloid tribes living around this area.

At the Nubra Valley in Leh

Terisha Tao

This is probably the most beautiful spot in the whole of Leh and Ladakh but it is so inaccessible that reaching here is a huge test of stamina and patience. The Terisha Tao is covered from all sides by jagged ridges and presents enchanting mix of clear blue skies and hundreds of flowers blooming in the rocky terrain. There are hot springs named Pamanik here which attracts many foreigners because of their supposedly medicinal value.

Ensa Gompa

The Ensa Gompa is not attached to any village and is very difficult to access. Yet it remains the most famous Gompa of Nubra valley. It’s right beside the bank of Nubra river and is undergoing reconstructive work. There are numerous streams of great auspicious power near this Gompa and clusters of Willow trees.

Best Time to Visit Nubra Valley

Nubra valley is overcast by ice for most parts of the year. The tourist season is very short (June to August) and it is better visit this Valley with a local guide.

How to Reach Nubra Valley

The nearest Railway station and Airport to Nubra Valley is Jammu after which you have to cover the rest of the distance by car, jeep or bus. Jammu station is 342 km away from Nubra Valley while Jammu airport is 350 km away. The car ride is recommended as you will have to change the bus a couple of times and will not get adequate comfort should you opt for a bus. Cab transport (on a shared basis) is available between different villages of Nubra Valley. The view is sensational as you emerge out of the Indus Valley and then cross India’s highest pass Khardung Pass (5602 m above sea level).

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