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Posts Tagged ‘Nubra valley’

Gateway to Nubra

Gateway to Nubra

Nubra Valley is about 150 km north of Leh, the capital town of Ladakh, India. This is where Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. We were exited to go to that place. We left Army camp at Leh by 7AM and proceeded towards Nubra valley. We met the first check post at South Pullu. There were two check posts – One from the District police and the other from the Indian Army. The police did not allow us to pass the check post even after telling it is an army vehicle. They needed written permission from the army as per the direct orders from SP. We called up captain Upul and instructions walked up to the army check post where he called on the secure line and authenticated our permission. It was nice to be inside the army bunker sitting beside a heater and watching the working of capacitor charged phone like secure equipment.

Kardung La

Kardung La


Kardung La top

Kardung La top


After passing the check post and an hour’s drive, we reached Kardung La – The highest motorable road on the planet. Just before this place we pass through a gateway like rock called Gateway to Nubra. It was freezing cold there and clouds passing over even threw a few hailstones at us. There were a few Bike enthusiasts who were congratulating themselves upon their successful voyage to the so called ‘Biker’s Mecca’. This place is secured by the army and there is a communication tower too. No one can leave this place without his/her photo in front of the stone slab that declares its altitude – 18340 ft!
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The descent to great valley of Nubra starts soon after passing the kardung la. The Nubra Valley had blown the beauty of my previous sights right out of the water. All the adjectives in the dictionary cannot do justice, and my attempts to capture the tiniest bit of its essence on camera have so far proved futile. I can only suggest you come and see for yourself. We passed through small streams flowing across the road. All along the road there were cheesy saftey slogans like “If married, divorce speed”, “If you sleep, your family will weep”, “Be gentle on my curves”, “Feel the curves but don’t hug them”, “Check your nerve on my curve”, “Mountains are pleasure if you drive with leisure”,”It’s not a rally, enjoy the valley” and my favourite, “Love thy neighbour but not while driving”! 🙂 .
North Pullu

North Pullu


We passed through another check post at North Pullu – Infact they were waiting for an army vehicle with us to pass the point. The garden like Kardung village is 45 minute drive from North Pullu. We stopped at a small hotel – the only hotel – for some tea and snacks. Two of my friends fell sick and threw up because of altitude.
Left to Diskit, Right to Panamik

Left to Diskit, Right to Panamik


road to Paradise (Siachen)

road to Paradise (Siachen)


Spot the car - Siachan river bed

Spot the car - Siachan river bed

After an hour’s drive we reached the Nubra desert. It is a desert located in the middle of mammoth mountains. The road forks here. One road leads to Diskit and hunder and another straight road bisects the white desert and continues towards Panamik. We took the panamik road and stopped in the middle of the desert to enjoy the view around and take a few snaps. The road to panamik passes through wonderful gardens of Sumer village. Panamik is located just 40kms from Siachen base camp and is famous for its hot sulphur springs. It is not that good a tourist place since the springs were no good compared to the ones at Manikaran. On our way back we stopped at a place 8km from Sumer and began our trek. We crossed the Siachan riverbed – we had great time and fun crossing that river – and saw a hill standing in between us and our destiny – the green lake. After trekking filled with numerous breaks we reached the lake, of course took some photos, rested for a while and returned via the same route back to our car.
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Green Lake

Green Lake


We crossed Sumer at out 4 PM and got stuck at a traffic jam 8KM ahead. Traffic jam?! At 17000ft above sea level?! Hold on. There was this army truck which had met with an accident and had blocked the only possible route connecting Panamik to the civilized world. We had to wait for more than 2 hours until army rescue truck came and cleared the road. There are a few good – made for tourists – hotels at Sumer where we could have stayed. It is a strict no no to travel in Nubra after 6:30PM (Due to various reasons – winds, snowfall, landslides, extreme temperatures). Since there were many vehicles waiting waiting with us all the while, we decided to head towards Diskit. This was a rare experience and one of the most wonderful rides of my life. Our “Schumacher of Ladakh” Langchung knew this route at the back of his mind and was driving at 60kmph along perfectly blind curves masked completely by darkness and dusty wind. The road edged hill on one side and a welcome freefall awaiting on the otherside. His drive seemed as if the road is being formed exactly in the direction where he commands our scorpio as we could not see anything 2 meters ahead of us. We reached Diskit by 8PM and LangChung drove us to a pretty good lodge named ‘GuestHouse’ where we had dinner( soup, tea, noodles and bread) and retired for the day. (Before I forget – there was this guy named Jack whom we named jumping jack was jumping all around us like a Allauddin’s Geni waiting for our requests. He was very funny.)

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