September 24, 2023
Ladakh is a photographer’s paradise. Wherever you look, tantalizing images and visceral colors confront the senses. From unreal landscapes to worn-out prayer wheels, and old monks to mirroring lakes, Ladakh is full of indelible compositions and breathtaking textures that are bound to excite any photographer.
If you are a photographer, a trip to Ladakh is not just viable but a necessity. In Ladakh, you get the holy trifecta of natural beauty, fascinating architecture, and interesting people that lends itself to epic photography. Depending on your interests, you can choose to focus on a myriad of subjects in an environment that is peaceful and perfect for artistic thought.
Despite what you may have heard, travel to Ladakh is not just open but very convenient and comfortable now. The airport in Leh has been upgraded and the roads are always open in the summer for easy travel to Nubra Valley, considered to be the most beautiful place in Ladakh and the ultimate destination for travelers. Here’s a quick guide on how to get there:
How to get to Nubra Valley
The best way to get to Ladakh is by air. You can also drive there but the journey is long and fraught with difficulties. It will also leave you exhausted and over-prepared by the time you reach your destination. The fun of just landing in Ladakh provides a pleasant surprise that makes the stark change in environment and culture even more dramatic.
The only advantage of a road trip is that you have time to acclimatize slowly. If you fly to Ladakh, all you have to do is take a day off to rest at a resort before continuing on to Nubra Valley. This will allow your body to adjust to the high altitude of 10,000 feet in Leh and its rare air. You can use this time to organize your equipment and make notes on how to shape your project.
If you decide to step out in the evening, there are some noteworthy sites in Leh that you can capture including the Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace. Besides these landmarks, you can visit a number of interesting markets to get a feel for life in Ladakh. The features of Ladakhi people are very interesting and the skin is very good for portrait photography. The markets are the best place to find some typical shots to start off on an auspicious note.
From Leh, you can take a taxi to Nubra Valley or have your resort arrange reliable transportation for you. As a photographer, you will want to travel slowly and stop frequently to document your journey. Interestingly, Nubra Valley is at a lower altitude than Leh and it is stimulating to watch the landscape slowly transform and melt into a postcard picture. By the time you reach Nubra Valley, it feels like you have left modern civilization far behind.
Good places for Photography in Nubra Valley
Once you reach Nubra Valley, you will have no shortage of subjects to click. The beauty of this place is legendary and although lesser known in India, seasoned global travelers consider this valley as one of the most exotic destinations in the world due to its natural beauty and attractive geography. Add to this a Buddhist vibe that is very conducive to creativity and the pictures practically click themselves.
The clean air and direct unfiltered sunlight here are ideal for amazing photographs because the lens picks up even the slightest detail as everything glistens and gleams in the day. Depending on what you want to do, almost every kind of geographic formation is available here to practice and experiment with.
If you are a landscape photographer, Nubra Valley offers some truly captivating sights. Every day, the sky takes on different hues and shades, leading to an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors that are fun to capture and play with while the earth is tinted with various minerals. Not only are the landscapes in Nubra beautiful and dynamic, but they are also free of man-made interferences found elsewhere.
Besides landscapes, Nubra Valley also offers shimmering lakes, cold deserts, colorful orchards, granular terrain, beautiful birds, starry skies, ancient monasteries, monks in colorful attire, and much more for the avid photographer. They say that Nubra has every kind of topography found in nature, which is heaven-sent for any visual artist.
Where to stay in Nubra Valley
If you are traveling to Ladakh as a photographer, it is best to stay on the Sumur side of the valley, which is more peaceful and secluded. On this side, there is a resort called the Lchang Nang Retreat – The House of Trees that provides an amazing stay experience that is perfect for artists.
The resort has a great location on the banks of the Nubra River and offers great views and perspectives. You can get an independent cottage here that is built in the traditional style but has all the modern amenities you need during your stay. The entire resort is very eco-friendly and follows local customs, which are interesting to observe.
Making the Lchang Nang Retreat your base, you can visit all the interesting sights in Nubra Valley and also explore its deepest recesses. Within a week, you will get acquainted with the valley and begin to traverse it as your own playground, creating a wonderful catalogue of spellbinding pictures.