Duration: 18 days, 7 days trekiing
Accomodations: Camping on trek
Best time: June to October
This border area was first opened to outsiders in 1994. Fertile green villages are found along the Nubra and Shyok rivers which flow in the wide valley floor formed by the Karakoram Mountains to the north and the Ladakh Range to the south. This valley was on a major branch of the silk route between Leh and Yarkend, and a small herd of camels that descended from the caravans can still be found in the valley near Hunder. This trek begins from Sabo via the valley floor and then slowly climbs up a Diggar la pass La Pass (about 5300/ 17,490 ft) in the Ladakh Range before descending to Tangyar and Agham.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: ARRIVE DELHI. Our Local representative will greet you at the international airport and help you transfer to the hotel.
DAY 2: FLY TO LEH. (11,500ft/3,505m) : You will have an early morning transfer to the Domestic Airport for the flight to Leh. This must be one of the most sensational flights in the world! On the northern horizon you may be able to pick out K2, the world's second highest peak, and other Karakoram giants. On your left you can see Nun and Kun the highest peaks in Ladakh at 7100m and 7080m. On your arrival in Leh transfer to hotel. Day at your leisure for acclimatization
DAY 3: AT LEISURE IN LEH. Again we will take it easy today and your guide can show you around town. Leh is very Tibetan in many respects; the national dress, 'stove-pipe' hats and felt boots with turned-up toes are much in evidence. The Royal Palace which dominates the town is very reminiscent of the Potala in Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, large chortens, prayer flags and mud brick houses with flat roofs are a dramatic culture change from the hot, teeming frenetic rush of Delhi. Don't try to do too much on this first day! Visit the palace, poke around the bazaars, and if you're feeling really keen and strong, walk out to one of the villages just to the north.
DAY 4: PHYANG SIGHT SEEING. The Phyang Gompa has 50 lamas and seven 'novices' of the red-cap sect and possesses five chapels. The monastery is interesting for its museum containing some old Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian and possibly Saracen weapons and armour. The museum room itself is said to be nearly 900 hundred years old. The monastery has had several renovations recently, including the addition of a large house for the head lama and a new entrance hall with a large prayer wheel. The 650 year old Dukhany Temple was renovated in the late '70's. Return to Leh hotel.
DAY 5: DRIVE TO SABU (3400m/11,155ft), TREK TO SABU ZONG (3,830m/12,565ft). (3 to 4 hours trekking) It is only a short drive (7 kms) to Sabu situated at the foot of Sabu mountain (14,749ft/4,496m). From this pretty and prosperous village you start trekking north on the road through the extended village, following the Sabu River, to the camp site at the end of a dirt track. Camp.
DAY 6: TREK TO PULU BEFORE THE DIGGAR LA (4,770m/15,649ft) (5-6 hrs) Above the village you follow a well-marked trail up a sharp valley with a tumbling stream on the right. Sabu Mountain in on the left. Granite mountains, burnt grey or brown, are on either side of you. You may well see Dzos grazing in the valley and see other cattle, donkeys and marmots. There are one or two stone shelters on the way and again you may meet local people who are often up here collecting dried yak dung for their fires in the village. Eventually, you reach a large area of undulating meadows where there is a good choice of camp sites. Behind you, there are wonderful views across the Indus Valley of the Zanskar Mountains, with Stok Kangri (6,121m/20,082ft) dominating the scene. The camp area is about as close as practicable before the ascent of the pass. Camp.
DAY 7: DIGGAR LA (5,250m/17,230ft) TO DIGGAR LARTSA (4,665m/15,305ft). (6 hrs) Follow the stream to the east, skirt a large moraine and begin climbing; the La summit can be seen from here. The ascent is a series of zig zags up a steep rise to the pass which is adorned with prayer flags and the views are breathtaking (that is if you have any breath left at all!). The mountains you can see to the north are the Saser range of the eastern Karakoram, which contain Ladakh's highest peak Saser Kangri, 25,165ft/7,670m. Do not expect to see K2 from here – it lies further to the northwest. However behind you there are also fabulous views of the Zanskar range. Moorcroft describes the ascent as being no less than 1,200ft/366m from the foot of the climb. It is about 2 to 3 hours to the pass, and the same down from the Pass to Diggar Lartsa. Heading north from the pass you descend into the valley, joining a small stream which flows all the way to Diggar village. After descending a short steep slope below some ruins cross to the left bank. The route crosses a beautiful small plateau where the stream forms slow moving pools. At the end of the plateau there is a camping place. There are more further down but they get fewer the closer you get to Diggar. Camp.
DAY 8: TREK TO DIGGAR VILLAGE. (3,855m/12,647ft). (3-4 hrs) As you near Diggar, which can be seen as a green patch in the distance, the path drops steeply to a collection of chortens and prayer flags and passes an impressive granite peak on the left. The stream disappears into a deep gorge on your right and flows far below the village. The marmots here are more easily spotted and you may well see Lammergeyers. At the village there is an interesting temple built onto a huge boulder and old monastery above, which is currently being extended. House owners on the opposite side of the valley seem to be fighting a losing a battle against the river as every year it erodes their fields more and more. You may be invited into the camp owner's house to partake in a drink of the local brew. From the mani wall to the north west of the village you have tremendous views of the vast plain of the Shyok river and the eastern Karakoram. Camp at the far end of the village.
DAY 9: TREK TO KHEMA ( 4400m/ 14,520ft) (5 hs) We leave Diggar village hiking up in the valley to Khema, passing a few Doksa from Diggar village. In the high pasture the path is well defined and the walk is interesting as we might see a some wild life . Khema is small village. Camp
DAY 10: TREK TO TANGYAR (4000m/13,200ft). (5-6hs) Today we go over the small pass of Kirtila (4800m) . We follow the valley up in the morning through
the zig zag to the Kirtila pass. From the top you will have beautiful
view of Khalsar and the Nubra valley. From the top we descend to Tanga
Doksa then continue to Tangyar village. Camp
DAY 11: TREK TO AGHAM - DIVE TO DISKIT (3,340m/11,022ft) (3-4 hrs) Leaving the beautiful village of Tangyar behind, you contour around the mountain side to the left for about an hour. Then you come to above a huge, flat plain and cross it (altitude 3,700m/12,139ft). After skirting some granite bluffs, you enter a narrow, twisting defile leading down to the bottom of the main river valley. This descent takes about 45 minutes. The defile itself is fascinating geology with compacted strata of varied coloured sands. Then it is out onto the valley floor and about an hour on the flat to Agham. On your right are cliffs of conglomerate, and Agham itself is a veritable jungle of bushes and trees. There are a number of different camp sites here set amongst tamarisk trees. The new road goes past here. This a short day's trek, but in the afternoon you could walk up the road to a new bridge which takes half an hour, and then another half hour brings you to a rather nice traditional Ladakhi house on the right hand side. We meet the transport and dive to Diskit camp or Guest House.
DAY 12: DiSKIT MONASTERY FESTIVAL. Today we witness the festival if the timing of the trek corresponds to the festival date. This is a wonderfully relaxing day where you will visit arguably the most beautiful monastery in the Nubra Valley at Diskit.
The monastery was founded and built around 1420 AD by Lama Shesrab Zangpo of Stod (the chief disciple of Tsong Kha-Pa, the founder of the 'yellow hat' sect of Tibetan Buddhism) during the reign of King Dragspa. Approximately 100 monks live in the Gompa. The little town at Deskit at the foot is the largest village and is the administrative centre of Nubra, complete with a bazaar and shops. Presently, there is a huge outdoor statue of the Buddha being constructed on a protruding bluff above the town. Incidentally, on the way to Deskit, you pass the famous sand dunes of Nubra and if any of you are interested, then it may be possible to arrange a Bactrian camel safari. In any event, continuing onwards you drive to Hundar which has a palace, deserted 50 years ago, and now belonging to the monastery. It was originally three stories, but ever since a flood filled up the bottom floor with silt 100 years ago, it is only now two stories. Hundar is a pretty village full of religious and historical sites including the palace and monastery and a huge Chorten arch with fine paintings in the dome. Inside the temple, the desiccated hands and head of a Tibetan soldier from an invading army of the past are kept in the chapel of the protector deities. Remember to ask the monks who may tell you the legend surrounding them. Overnight camp at Hundar.
DAY 13: DRIVE TO TIRIT, AFTERNOON VISIT SAMSTANLING. This is a beautiful short drive of less then two hours that starts to give you an idea of the scale and beauty of the Nubra Valley. The road at times is cut out of cliff faces, and on the way, you will meet the road coming down from the Khardung La. Thereafter, you drive over the Shyok to Tirit. Our Ladakhi partner's family has a small "palace" here, set in huge gardens and orchards. They have 25 large family-sized tents with separate showers and toilet block. There is a very nice dining room attached to the main building. After lunch, visit Samstanling Monastery, passing on the way the abandoned Royal Palace. The monastery was founded by "Lama Tsultim Nima", some 140 years ago, and is the sister Gompa of Rizong Monastery. The "Kushok" (reincarnate spiritual leader), whose title is Shas Rinpoche, is a very close adviser on scholarly matters to the Dalai Lama and is often found in meditation retreat at Samstangling. At present 60 monks reside in this gompa nestled among apricot orchards. After this visit, drive up the Nubra Valley from Sumur for 22 kms to Panamik. This is the beginning of the Restricted Area; the military base for the Siachen Glacier is 50 kms further up the valley to which you will see supply convoys being driven. Often, if you are lucky and have keen eyes, you can spot herds of blue sheep not far from the road and there are an unending number of interesting road signs. In Panamik, we hope to arrange for you to visit a house in the village. Return to overnight at the tented camp .
DAY 14: DRIVE TO LEH. We drive on the highest motorable road in the world over the (5569m/18,380 ft) Kardung La pass. The road descends from the pass down a spectacular gorge to Leh.
DAY 15: AT LEISURE IN LEH. A chance to relax in the relative luxury of Leh, and do any last sightseeing and exploring. There will no doubt be a chance to have a final celebration with your guide and crew before the flight tomorrow. In the summer there are often polo matches on a Sunday. Overnight in the hotel.
DAY 16: FLY TO DELHI. Our representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel.
DAY 17: RELAX IN DELHI. Late night transfer to International Airport.
DAY 18: FLY HOME.
LAND COST: on request
- All accommodation in Delhi and Leh with breakfast.
- Camping accommodation as per the program with all meals during the treks.
- Mule drivers and mules during the trekking.
- All monastery entrance fees, wild life fees and camping fees.
- English-speaking guide in monasteries and while trekking.
- Service of cook and attendants during the trekking.
- All camping equipment including North Face or equivalent sleeping tent, foam mattresses, dining tent and toilet tents
- All transportation from Delhi Airport pick-up and return.
What’s not included:
- Medical and evacuation insurance
- Miscellaneous expenses and tipping to the staff
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and food in Leh and Delhi.
- International Air ticket to and from Delhi.
- A single supplement.
- Laundry and other services not mentioned in the package. If you need any arrangement, please let us know.
IMPORTANT TREK NOTES:
Whilst every effort is made to keep to the above itinerary, clients will hopefully appreciate that this is Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region. There will quite likely be changes to the itinerary in terms of anything from on-the-spot choice of campsite to when a rest day is taken. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns off the beaten track, local availability of horses or yaks, can contribute to the need for changes. The Trek guide will do everything in his power to see that you are inconvenienced as little as possible in such circumstances. Timings are approximate.
© Yama Adventures, 2017.