Here’s all about Himalayan Desert In India – Nubra Valley
The visit to one of the highest cold deserts in the world is an experience to cherish throughout one’s lifetime and cherry on the cake is – visiting the Nubra valley during the harsh winters. It requires sheer amount of madness and an innate desire to explore and to be with the local people to understand and experience as to how the locals deal with this harsh climatic condition. With this desire in mind and with support of the local knowledgeable people like Dr. Sonam Wangchuk, we set out on the journey to the Unknown.
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We visited Nubra Valley in the month of December 2023, and the roads were open due to the dearth of snowfall this year.
We considered ourselves fortunate that we could witness the beauty of this mesmerizing high altitude desert during the peak and harsh winters. This experience is something unique and worth remembering. However, the dearth of snowfall imposes serious consequences to the lives of the people of this valley. Lack of snowfall impacts the glaciers- the primary source of water and agriculture which is the primary source of livelihood.
While most of the people believe that Ladakh is inaccessible in the winters, this may be the best time to visit Ladakh for the adventurous souls- with some madness to explore the unexplored. Winters in Ladakh hardly see any tourists and you can have all of its stunning barrenness to yourself.
But visiting this high altitude desert poses serious challenges including harsh climatic conditions, inaccessibility of roads, food and lodging. It is imperative to do a lot of research and seek local support. If you are planning a visit to Ladakh and need any suggestions do write to us at [email protected]
Nubra Valley is a high altitude cold desert located in the northernmost part of Ladakh, India. It is situated at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the Karakoram Range and the Himalayas. The valley is known for its scenic beauty, sand dunes, and the Shyok River that flows through it.
Nubra Valley is also famous for its monasteries, such as the Diskit Monastery and the Samstanling Monastery. The valley is also home to the Bactrian camels, which are found only in this region. Visitors can enjoy camel rides on the sand dunes of Hunder and Diskit.
The best time to visit Nubra Valley is from May to September when the weather is pleasant and the roads are open. The valley is accessible by road from Leh, which is about 150 km away. Visitors need to obtain an Inner Line Permit to visit Nubra Valley, which can be obtained from the DC office in Leh.
There are several activities that a traveler can enjoy in Nubra Valley. Here are some of them:
1. Camel Safari: Visitors can enjoy a camel ride on the sand dunes of Hunder and Diskit. The Bactrian camels found in this region are unique and make for a memorable experience.
2. Trekking: Nubra Valley offers several trekking routes that are suitable for both beginners and experienced trekkers. The trek to Turtuk village is particularly popular.
3. Visit Monasteries: Nubra Valley is home to several monasteries, such as the Diskit Monastery and the Samstanling Monastery.
Visitors can explore these monasteries and learn about the Buddhist culture and traditions.
4. Visit Yarab Tso Lake: Yarab Tso Lake is a beautiful lake located in the Sumur village of Nubra Valley. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
5. Visit Panamik Hot Springs: Panamik Hot Springs is a natural hot water spring located in the Nubra Valley. Visitors can take a dip in the hot water and relax.
6. Visit Khardung La Pass: Khardung La Pass is one of the highest motorable passes in the world and is located near Nubra Valley.
Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the pass and take photographs.
7. Camping: Visitors can enjoy camping in the Nubra Valley and experience the beauty of the cold desert at night.
Strategic Significance Of Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley has strategic significance due to its location near the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan. The valley is located in the northernmost part of Ladakh and is close to the Siachen Glacier, which is the highest battlefield in the world.
The Indian Army has a strong presence in Nubra Valley due to its strategic location. The valley is an important supply route for the Indian Army and is used to transport supplies and equipment to the Siachen Glacier. The Indian Army also conducts regular patrols in the area to ensure the security of the border.
In addition to its military significance, Nubra Valley is also an important destination for military tourism. Visitors can explore the military camps and interact with the soldiers to learn about their experiences and the challenges they face in the region.
Overall, Nubra Valley’s strategic significance lies in its location near the LoC and its importance as a supply route for the Indian Army. The valley plays a crucial role in ensuring the security of the border and is an important destination for military tourism.
Best Time To Visit Nubra Valley
The best time to visit Nubra Valley is from May to September when the weather is pleasant and the roads are open. During this time, the temperature ranges from 10°C to 25°C, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as trekking, camping, and camel safari.
In May and June, the valley is covered with blooming flowers, making it a beautiful sight to behold. July and August are the peak tourist season, and visitors can enjoy the festivals and cultural events that take place during this time. September is also a good time to visit as the weather is pleasant, and the valley is less crowded.
It is important to note that Nubra Valley is located at a high altitude, and the temperature can drop significantly at night. Visitors should carry warm clothes and be prepared for the cold weather.
During the winter months, Nubra Valley is covered with snow, and the roads are closed due to heavy snowfall. It is not recommended to visit the valley during this time.
How to Travel to Nubra Valley From Leh
Nubra Valley is located about 150 km from Leh, and there are two ways to travel to the valley from Leh:
1. By Road: The most common way to travel to Nubra Valley is by road. Visitors can hire a taxi or take a shared taxi from Leh to Diskit, which is the main town in Nubra Valley. The journey takes about 5-6 hours and passes through the Khardung La Pass, which is one of the highest motorable passes in the world. Visitors need to obtain an Inner Line Permit to travel to Nubra Valley, which can be obtained from the DC office in Leh.
Enroute to Nubra Valley during winters, most of the shops and cafes are closed. One of the places that we encountered to eat was in North Pullu.
2. By Air: Visitors can also travel to Nubra Valley by helicopter. The Indian Army operates a helicopter service from Leh to Nubra Valley, which takes about 20-25 minutes. The helicopter service is available only for Indian citizens and is subject to weather conditions.
It is important to note that the roads to Nubra Valley are open only from May to September, and the weather can be unpredictable. Visitors should check the weather conditions before traveling and be prepared for any changes in the itinerary.
To sum up Nubra Valley, here are my thoughts
“The cold Nubra Valley seemed inexpressible in words and in thoughts also. Look in any direction you will fall for it and you will fall for it again and again”.