Nubra Valley Travel Guide

Hailed as the high altitude desert of India, Nubra Valley, is nestled towards the northeast of Ladakh at 150 Km from Leh. The tri-armed valley is perched 3048 meters above the sea level and is termed as heaven on earth. Nubra valley is popular for its scenic natural beauty of white sand dunes surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan peaks. The valley is predominantly influenced by Buddhist culture and boasts of several monasteries and centers of Buddhist learning. It is necessary for a tourist to acquire an Inner line permit for entering the valley. The Shyok River meets the Nubra River or Siachen River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges. Both the rivers are the main water resources for the eastern and the western sides of the Saser sub-range of the Karakoram ranges. Sandwiched between Kashmir and Tibet, Nubra Valley offers immense tourist attractions. It is the only place in India where double-humped Bactrian camels are found and tourists love to enjoy camel ride in Nubra valley while admiring the view of snow-covered mountain peaks.


The valley of sparkling sand dunes Nubra Valley is among the top visiting places in Ladakh. Stunning panorama, monasteries, and endemic camels are what you can witness during your trip to Nubra valley. With the highest battlefield in the world Siachen Glacier at 98.7 km north, Nubra valley offers unmatched beauty and adventure. The tri armed valley is formed by the Shyok River and its tributary Nubra River that originate in the Siachen Glacier and flow through the valley. The rivers meet at Diskit one of the popular tourist spots in Nubra Valley before merging with the River Indus.

The history of the Nubra valley dates back to the 7th century with the rise of Buddhism in the region. Diskit, the headquarter of Nubra Valley is home to the 350-year old monastery which is one of the top tourist attractions in Ladakh. Diskit town offers almost all kinds of facilities. It has a market that has a single line of shops as well as excellent views. Thick thorny shrubs cover the valley and are used by the locals as a source of fuel as well as for fencing. The villages that are situated around the valley are huge, flourishing and have thick plantations of poplar and willow.

 

Places to visit in Nubra Valley

Several ancient Gompas, villages, statues, etc. surround the area that are famous tourist attractions in Nubra valley. The nearby villages offer wonderful opportunities to savor beautiful views of the environs while taking a stroll. Moreover, the 32 - meters high statue of Maitreya Buddha is the landmark of the valley and a famous tourist attraction too. Hunder Sand Dunes and the Panamik hot springs also steal the limelight during the Nubra Valley tour. The very popular Siachen Glacier lies to the north of Nubra. Below are some of the famous places to visit in Nubra valley:

Samstanling Monastery:

This is the Chief Monastery of Nubra Valley located at Sumur village. The popular monastery painted in bright red, white and golden color is a must-visit during your trip to Nubra Valley. Here red-yellow trees and colorful flags of the tri-colored monastery create a brilliant spectacle leaving the tourists awe-struck. You can opt for a 50 minutes trek from the Sumur village or else can hire a cab. Regular buses and taxis are available from Leh to Sumur village. The Samstanling monastery remains open every day from 8:00 AM to 01:00 PM & again from 02:00 PM to 6:00 PM. You can visit the monastery by paying an entry fee of INR 20 per head.

Zamskhang Palace:

This ancient palace is located in the Kyger village near Sumur. Now a site of ruins and several small stupas, the Zamskhang Palace was the abode of the royals of Nubra Valley. The abandoned place with ruins scattered all around allows you to travel the time and learn about the past royal era of Nubra valley.

Diskit Gompa:

This 13th-century Gompa is amongst the largest and oldest monasteries in Ladakh. The main attractions of the monastery are the artifacts that include a statue of Maitreya Buddha and a huge drum in the hall, many images of fierce guardian deities, and a cupola showcasing a fresco portraying the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. You can also enjoy 260 degrees panoramic view of Nubra valley from the Diskit Gompa. It remains open every day from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM & again from 01:00 PM to 7:00 PM. You can visit the Gompa by paying an entry fee of INR 30 per head.

Panamik Village:

Travelers visit this village at a distance of 140 km from Leh to enjoy the majestic views of the mountains. The charming village is popular for its hot water spring that is believed to have healing properties. With the close proximity of Siachen Glacier, Panamik Village is the last tourist spot in the Indian Territory. As there is a very limited option for the guest room to stay and also the public transport is rarely available, it is suggested to take a day trip from Leh to Panamik Village and return the same day.

Yarab Tso Lake:

This Lake located near the Sumur Village is also called the hidden beauty of Ladakh. Beauty and serenity abound here like no other places in Ladakh. Breathe the freshest mountain air and soothe your soul amid the sheer bliss of nature. As the lake is settled at uphill and no transportation is available, you need to hike to the Yarab Tso Lake. Enjoy the sunset over the azure lake and tilt a camp to experience the simple joy of life.

Hunder Sand Dunes:

This is the place famous for a camel ride in Nubra Valley. You can see sand dunes on one side and the mountains on the other side when exploring the desert valley on double-humped camels. The spectacular views accompany you when you enjoy camel safari in hunder, Nubra valley which is amongst the best tourist activities in Ladakh. Normally INR 200 per person is charged for a camel safari in Nubra Valley.

Ensa Gompa:

This famous monastery is located in the middle of the valley. The Gompa overlooking the snow-covered mountain has brightly painted walls. The comparatively less crowded spot offers a different experience during your trip to Nubra Valley. Ensa Gompa remains open every day from 8:00 AM to 01:00 PM & again from 02:00 PM to 5:00 PM. You can visit the Gompa by paying an entry fee of INR 20 per head.

Tourist Attractions Near Nubra Valley

The thrill is mixed in its air. When you travel amid the sparkling sand dunes on a camel’s back with the staring snow-covered mountains, you may feel like a character of an Arabian fairytale. The charm of the Nubra valley is no less than a fairytale. Below are some of the magically beautiful tourist attractions near Nubra Valley:

Khardung Village:

The scenic village is located a few Kilometers before reaching Nubra valley from Leh. You need to trek a few kilometers down from Khardung La pass to reach this village. The patchwork fields of the village on the foot of the arid Himalayas create amazing scenery that is a great treat for your eyes.

Turtuk :

Scenic landscape and indigenous culture is the main attraction of this place. This village came under the Indian sovereign in 1971. Find apricot trees wherever you see that enhances the beauty of the place. You can take a walk amid the surreal pathways while interacting with the locals and learning their culture. It is amazing to learn about the lifestyle of the people who live in the last village in India that make Turtuk a popular destination in Ladakh.

Shyok River:

Originating from the Rimo Glacier, a tongue of the Siachen Glacier, the Shyok River flows in a surprising pathway. The river first flows in the southeast direction towards the Pangong Range and then turns to the northeastern direction flowing parallel to its initial route. Shyok meets its tributary Nubra River at Diskit and finally merges with the Indus in Pakistan.

Warshi Village:

This is the last spot accessible to civilians in the Indian Territory located only 16 Km away from the Siachen Army Base Camp. The village was opened for the tourists in 2015 and before that, travelers were allowed up to Panamik Village.

Bukdang:

The place was captured by the Indian army from Pakistan in 1971 and this the reason the entire population is of Pakistani origin. Here you can experience a blend of Baltic and Buddhist culture as the majority of the population was Buddhist before the Muslim reign in the region.

Fairs and Festivals in Nubra Valley

A trip to Nubra Valley not just offer the natural wonders, you can experience the colorful culture and festivals in Nubra valley like no other place. Normally, the Buddhist festivals make for the most prominent celebrations in Nubra Valley. The major attraction of the Buddhist festival is the mask dance performed by the lamas in the courtyards of the monasteries.

Outside Leh, Nubra Valley is the prime destination to experience the festivals in Ladakh. The popular festivals take place in places like Diskit and Sumur in Nubra Valley. The famous festivals in Nubra Valley include archery competitions, sword dancing, flower displays, peacock dances, warfare demonstrations, and camel races. Out of the many festivals in Nubra valley, Dosmoche Festival and Losar Mela are central to this region and are celebrated with extreme enthusiasm in the region.

Dosmoche, also known as the 'Festival of the Scapegoat' is a popular prayer festival celebrated at the Diskit Monastery. This fiesta is also celebrated in Likir and Leh in the month of February when the Khardon peak gets covered with snow. For the celebrations, the locals gather at the Diskit Gompa which is the oldest and largest Buddhist Monastery. A huge Buddha statue is the center of attraction here and overlooks the entire valley. The masked dance performed by the Lamas dressed in a dramatic manner is a major attraction of the festival. It is a celebration of the victory of good over bad. The dance is also performed to avoid any ill-fortune over the valley.

Best Time to Visit

As per the climatic conditions, the best time to visit Nubra valley is during the autumn season which is between the months of July to September.

 

How to Reach

Nubra valley is situated at 150 Km from Leh. Regular buses and cabs will take you to the headquarter Diskit from where you can rent a car to reach your destinations. In order to reach Nubra valley, you have to pass through Khardung La, one of the highest motorable roads in the world. Another route, (opened in 2008), crosses Wari La from Sakti, towards the east of Khardung La, which connects to the main Nubra road system via Agham and Khalsar along the Shyok River.

Permit / Permissions

The Inner Line Permit is required to visit Nubra Valley for all travelers including the Indian citizens and foreigners except the permanent residence of Jammu and Kashmir. The permit is valid for three weeks for the Indians and one week in the case of foreigners.

Suggested Itinerary

The attractions of Nubra Valley can easily keep you engaged for 3 to 4 days. Camel safari, visiting the surrounding villages, lakes, and monasteries take 3 days if you like to explore the things comfortably and in detail. Those who have time constraints can take the same day Nubra valley tour from Leh. In this case, you won’t be able to explore the nearby attractions on Nubra valley like Turtuk, Yarab Tso Lake, etc. However, most of the travelers opt for 2 days plan for the Nubra valley tour from Leh. Staying for a day in the valley is highly recommended.

Preferred Vehicles

The higher ground clearance vehicles are most preferred to visit Nubra valley. SUVs are ideal to cross the high passes of Khardung La during the journey from Leh to Nubra Valley.

Accommodation Options

There are several guesthouses which prove to be a comfortable accommodation option in Nubra valley. Some of the best accommodations in Nubra Valley include Hotel Sten Del, Olthang Guest House, Sand Dunes Guest House, and J&K Tourism Rest House at Diskit town.

Medical Facilities

Diskit Village has a hospital where you will be able to get basic medical aid and treatment.

Phone Signals in Nubra Valley

BSNL Postpaid Connection is available in most parts of Nubra Valley though you may face a loss of signal sometimes at some places.

Petrol Pumps

Good functional petrol pump is available at Diskit throughout the year, still don’t forget to refill your tank in Leh as you won’t find one before reaching Diskit.

Things to Do in Nubra Valley:

Now as you know that this high desert land in Ladakh is the prettiest among all Trans-Himalayan regions, you have started planning a trip to Nubra valley. Next comes, what are the best things to do in Nubra valley. Below we have pointed out some of the best activities in Nubra valley that will allow you to enjoy the charm of the valley to the fullest:

  • Take a selfie at Khardungla - Nowhere else you will find such a wonderful backdrop for taking a selfie.
  • Sit on the bank of the river Shyok - Nature can be so blissful! You will realize this fact if you spend some time here.
  • Enjoy hospitality at Army Canteen - Now the army canteens that spread across the entire valley offer snacks and food to the travelers. You can enjoy some snacks from the army personal on your way.
  • Pay homage to Maitreya Buddha - The majesty of this towering statue will simply leave you awe-struck. Visit the Diskit Monastery from where you can enjoy the best view.
  • Experience the thrill of dune biking - Ride your bike through the white sand dunes for an unmatched adventure experience in Nubra valley.
  • Enjoy a camel ride in Nubra valley - The most popular activity in Nubra Valley for all types of travelers is exploring the region on the back of a double-humped camel.
  • Stay with a Ladakhi family - Several homestay options across the entire valley provide you the opportunity to come close to the Ladakhis and enjoy their culture like a local.
  • Taste apricots - The valley delivers the best apricots to the world. If you visit Nubra Valley during July and August, you can witness an apricot fiesta especially in the village of Turtuk where you can also pluck a few.
  • Take a dive in the hot springs - They really exist near the village Panamik where you can take a dive in the natural hot water.
  • Spend a night with the stars - If it is a clear sky, come out of your home and you will see the sky so close to you presenting a natural star show. You will experience shooting stars if not many a few for sure.

Facts about Nubra Valley:

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Ladakh, Nubra valley has diverse attractions that attract travelers from around the globe. Here are some facts about Nubra valley that will help you plan your Nubra valley trip hassle-free.

  • Nubra Valley is the northernmost part of Ladakh.
  • It is situated about 150 Km away from Leh
  • Nubra valley is sandwiched between Kashmir and Tibet
  • The Shyok and Nubra Rivers crisscross the wide and plain region of Nubra valley.
  • You have to cross the stunning Khardung La which is the highest motorable pass in the world to reach Nubra valley
  • Nubra valley is popular for its scenic natural beauty of white sand dunes surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan peaks.
  • The valley is predominantly influenced by Buddhist culture and boasts of several monasteries and centers of Buddhist learning.
  • This is the only place in India where double-humped Bactrian camels are found
  • Nubra Valley was a major stopover on the Silk Route during the medieval era
  • This popular tourist destination is also known for producing woolen textiles made of Pashmina wool and horticultural crops and fruits like apples, walnuts, apricots, almonds
  • The headquarter of Nubra Valley is Diskit where you will find hotels equipped with modern amenities and offering international cuisines
  • You will find guest houses and tents for camping in Nubra valley
  • The best time to visit Nubra Valley is from July to September
  • During the winter, the temperature falls down to minus ten degrees Celsius

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