Nubra is a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra (the valley of flowers). Diskit, the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 ft. i.e. 3048 metres above the sea level. The common way to access this valley is to travel over the Khardung La pass from Leh town. Non-locals require an Inner Line Permit (obtainable in DC office, Leh town) to enter Nubra.
The fertile Valley of Nubra formed a part of the overland route between Tibet and Turkestan, prior to the partition of British India, and even until the Indian/Chinese war of 1967. Once dotted with garlands of camel and yak caravans, this Silk Route is also known as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ of Ladakh, and is amongst the greenest valleys in the region, you may also be able to spot feral camels descendants of the caravan trade.
The romance of the Silk Route still hangs in the air as you cross the formidable Khardung La (pass)- the highest ‘motorable’ pass on the planet that connects Leh to the Nubra Valley. The road from Leh rises steeply to meet Khardung La and then dramatically plunges into a whirlpool of bends and turns to gradually unfold itself along the rushing Shyok and the Nubra Rivers.
Enjoying a typical Ladakhi meal in Nubra is quite a delightful experience. Chang, a local brew (type of ale or beer) and butter tea are must haves in Nubra.
The 250 years old Ensa Gompa, nestled on top of a rock overlooking snow-peaked mountains across the valley is much further away than it looks. It takes at least a six-hour walk to reach, which involves crossing the river at Hargam. The hot springs on the outskirts of Panamik invite one for a literally sizzling bath experience, which will most probably be the first contact with hot water since one leaves Leh.
The Nubra Valley is one of the last treasures of our planet, living in sheer isolation for most of the year in the heart of the great Himalayas. A real Shangri La, with no ‘Baywatch’, no mobile phones and no Ray Ban sunglasses.
Best Time to Visit
The unearthly beauty of Nubra Valley is best explored in the season in the months of July to September. The pleasant autumn season lets you enjoy the beautiful sight of the unexploited paradise. The heavenly region of Ladakh experiences extremely cold climate throughout the year. Summers here are the slightly less cold months of the year. Winters are extremely harsh with unbearable conditions. Nubra valley enjoys pleasant summers from March to May. Winters envelop from November to February when temperatures drops as low as -4°C. No matter which month you choose visit, the climate is pleasant. Temperatures are low and woolens are a must. Nights make the coldest time of the day as temperatures dip drastically.