Located at an altitude of around 10,000 ft. Nubra Valley is a high elevated cold desert. The merger of the rivers of Shyok and Nubra (also known as Siachen) forms this valley. This valley separates Ladakh and Karakoram ranges. Siachen Glacier lies to the north; The Renowned Sasser Pass along with Karakoram Pass lies on the border of the Nubra valley and also joins Uyghur (in China). Nubra valley even boundaries Pakistan and China, this is why it is also referred to as the ‘Land of Maitreya.’
History and Culture:
Except near the riverbeds, the area has scanty vegetation. In most of the villages around Nubra Valley wheat, barley, peas, mustard and a variety of fruits and nuts, including apples, walnuts, apricots, and almonds are grown. Nubra dialect speakers inhabit this region. Most of them are Buddhists. Residents in the western part along the LoC (ie.Indo-Pak border), are of Balti of Gilgit-Baltistan, who speak Balti, and Shia / Sufia Nurbakhshia origins.
How to Reach?:
By Air: Kushok Baluka Rimpochee Airport, Leh is the nearest airport to visit Nubra Valley. Alternatively, travelers can also reach Shaikh-ul-Alam Airport, Srinagar. Both are well connected to all major Indian cities. From either of the places, visitors can take a bus or private transport and reach Diskit in Nubra.
By Road: NH 1 and NH 44 connects Srinagar, Jammu, and Leh. Travelers must cross Khardung La Pass (K-Top). Foreign national require ‘Protected Area Permit’ and all Indian nationals need ‘Inner Line Permit’ to enter the Nubra valley. Distance/travel time from different locations are:
• Srinagar – Diskit – 540 Km / 15 Hours
• Leh – Diskit — 150 Km / 5 Hours
• Jammu – Diskit (Thru Leh Manali Highway) – 900 Km / 25 Hours
By Rail: Jammu Tawi is the nearest railway station and well connected to many locations. Travelers can reach Jammu Tawi by train then take a taxi/bus.
Best Time to Visit Nubra Valley:
Seasonal and climatic conditions in different periods of the year are:
Sr. No. Season Months Avg. Temperature
1 Summer April — July 8*C to 20*C
2 Monsoon August – September 10*C to 20*C
3 Winter October – March -10*C to 15*C
Summer is the ideal season to visit the valley.
Nubra Valley Hotels/Camps/Tents and Food:
Nubra offers a wide choice of hotels, camps for shelter. Almost all of the places are fit for stay with family and provide comfortable, clean and healthy facilities. Visitors can stay at Diskit, Hunder, Panamik, Sumur, and Turtuk. There is a PWD rest house also available at Turtuk.
Mind-blowing varieties of Ladakhi foods are available. Visitors can also taste local confectionary items like apricot and apple jam. The best local dish is Sku – soup with ingredients of vegetables, flour, and mutton. Favorite recipes include rogan josh, rista, goshtaba, marchwangan korma. However, for vegetarians, normal food options like dal, rice, and paneer are available at all places.
Transportation For Nubra Valley:
No public transport is available in the valley and visitors must either have their vehicle or rent a taxi from Leh to go around. In case of any problems, visitors can always contact the army personnel posted who are very helpful to assist getting around or reaching hotel safely.
Things To Do In Nubra:
• Hunder Sand Dunes – Enjoy cultural dance and camel ride on the famous two-humped Bactrian camels.
• Diskit Monastery – A towering architecture in existence for over seven centuries. Has a 115 ft statue of Maitreya Buddha
• Visit Shyok river – a scenic beauty which has filled the valley with white colored pebble stones
• Hot water springs of Panamik – Situated at the height of 10,500 feet, the hot water springs have high Sulphur content and have medicinal properties which can cure rheumatism. Experience a dip in the warm waters!
• Shopping – An excellent place to buy pashmina shawls, woolen socks dry fruits like almonds and walnuts.
• Stay in camps – Lifetime experience surrounded by snow-capped mountains and icy desert!
• Adventure Activities – Trekking, biking, off-roading, hiking and many more activities.
Travel, Health, Security, and Communication, etc
• One can experience Acute Mountain Sickness [AMS] due to high altitude. Carry preventive medication for AMS.
• Vehicles with more top ground clearance are preferable.
• Drink lot of water to keep tummy fit – Preferably drink boiled, sterilized or packaged drinking water.
• Avoid coffee, tea, tobacco, and alcohol – Over consumption of all these may lead to respiratory failure and problems.
• Wear warm woolen clothes, as much as possible. Preferable to wear thermal ware. Carry waterproof clothing as well.
• Consume many carbohydrates for maintaining high levels of energy.
• Oxygen kit- Carry a small oxygen kit after consulting a doctor regarding procedures to be followed in case oxygen levels drop.
• Diskit is the headquarters of Nubra valley and has a hospital, which can handle basic medical needs. Army posts can help to control any respiratory problems, which is quite commonly encountered. Besides, chemists/druggists shops are also available.
• Keep identity proofs handy. This will help to comply with security checks at various army check-posts.
• Fill fuel in vehicles adequately. Many times, petrol pumps in the valley may not be functional.
• For any threat / unexpected emergencies or security, issues avail the assistance of the Kargil Police Stations, which falls under the jurisdiction of Jammu and Kashmir.
• Communication services of BSNL are the best and most reliable. Prepaid mobile connections will not work, and in general, mobile signals are feeble and unreliable.
• No ATMs are available – Travelers must draw and carry adequate cash from Leh.
• Urdu is the official language of J&K and Kashmiri the local language. The local population of Nubra speaks a variety of Ladakhi and Balti dialects. However, many can speak Hindi and English too.
Cost typically varies depending on the mode and the place from where one travels. Also, the duration of a trip, type of accommodation and the activities are undertaken also affects the cost. However, on an average for Indian travelers, the expenditure will be in the range of Rs.50,000 to Rs.80,000 per person for one week trip. On the same basis, the cost for foreign travelers will range between $1,500 – $2,000 (excluding travel cost).
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