Tuesday 6 | September '05

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on the way to khardungla
today's pics (19)
leh valley
as we climbed
climbing to khardungla
drinking in the view
leh in the distance
glacier at khardungla
view from khardungla
down to nubra valley
the high road
the shyok river
the shyok again
the beautiful nubra valley
the sand dunes at hunder
beautiful hunder
Day 12 - Khardungla, the awesome Nubra Valley << | >>
9.10am: Leh  >  Khardungla   >  Khalsar  >  Diskit  >  Hunder :4.50pm

Our trip to Nubra Valley took us via the highest motorable road in the world through the Khardungla Pass. We set off around 9ish, climbed up to Khardungla at 5603m - the highest we have been so far - and then down into Nubra Valley.

leaving leh
leaving leh and climbing

We stopped at Khardungla and bought some caps and T-shirts as souvenirs before carrying on towards Nubra.

khardungla in the distance
khardungla in the distance

khardungla pass
khardungla pass

vivek at khardungla
vivek at khardungla

Of all the places I've been to in my life, I'd rate Nubra Valley as among the most desirable places to visit - of course, during season, because during winters it becomes bitterly cold and unapproachable if the road closes. Both the view of Leh town as we left it and climbed to Khardungla, as well as the beauty of Nubra Valley as we descended into it are etched in my mind despite the altitude getting to me with a splitting headache that made me puke a bit.

The Shyok River kept us company as we descended into the valley - grey, wide, winding and breathtakingly beautiful. No amount of descriptive writing or photography can do justice to Nubra Valley, which, cliched as it sounds, has to be seen and experienced to be believed.

We were initially planning to camp here, but we found a nice and very affordable little guest house called the Sand Dunes Guest House at a lovely little town/village called Diskit and we checked in there. Soon after we checked in we took a drive into a village called Hunder, where Omi and I took a double humped Bactrian camel ride across the sand dunes that covered that part of the valley.

the bactrian camels
camel ride

The Bactrian camels were apparently brought here by the Mongols many years ago, and they still survive in the wild here. They are left to roam free during the winters and caught again during season to provide rides for the tourists.

We then attempted to go to the Yak Breeding Farm - huge boards announcing it aroused our curiosity - and we found our first signs of develpment. The gate was closed, but the guy at the gate matter of factly tells us that they have no yaks whatsoever, only Jersey cows if you please!

This is one place I'd like to stay for a while some day - indescribably beautiful surroundings, gentle, polite people, and blissfully silent unlike Leh which is close to becoming a Manali.

Even Sangam Hotel where we had dinner had the right attitude. When we asked them what time they closed the reply was, "When the last customer leaves."

Highlights: The awesome beauty of Nubra Valley, the Shyok River

Downsides: Puking a bit on the way up because of altitude
  << | >>
today's route - 130 km
day 12 km odo
Leh   184146
South Pullu 31 184177
Khardungla 14 184191
North Pullu 17 184208
Khardung 16 184224
Khalsar 23 184247
Diskit 19 184266
Hunder 10 184276
total 130 3755