7 Valleys In Ladakh
February 15, 2023
Ladakh is one of India’s best tourist destinations. Its surreal scenery, pristine landscapes, and mesmerizing skies attract thousands of Indian and International travelers every year, despite its high altitude and cold temperatures.
Ladakh is called the land of passes because it has many high mountains and underlying valleys. The valleys are surprisingly comfortable because they are protected from cold winds and amazingly green because the rivers deposit fertile soil where orchards and flower groves can bloom.
If you are planning to visit Ladakh, here is a look at some of the best valleys in Ladakh:
This is arguably the best valley to visit in Ladakh. It is at the mouth of the Nubra River and is the last inhabited region before the Siachen Glacier and the international borders of India.
The Valley is very popular with tourists, naturalists, and photographers because it exemplifies the beauty of Ladakh and has historical significance. It lies on the ancient silk route that connected India to Central Asia and is a veritable oasis with sudden bursts of orchards juxtaposed with the stark landscapes that give Ladakh its surreal, out-of-the-world vibe which is world-renowned.
Nubra Valley is also home to the famous cold dunes near the village of Sumur and ancient Gomphas or Monasteries near the village of Teggar. Additionally, it is pristine and untouched, making it a pleasure to visit.
Dha Hanu Valley
Dha and Hanu are two villages that belong to the Brokpa ethnic group of people. Up until 2010, these were the only two villages of the Brokpa that tourists were allowed to visit. Since 2010, this valley is also called Aryan Valley to acknowledge the Aryan origin of the Brokpa people.
Legend has it that the Brokpa were once a part of Alexander the Great’s army and settled here by Alexander himself. This may explain their European features and their strange customs, rituals, and social systems that are more Greek than Indian.
The valley is about 160 Km from Leh and lies at a lower altitude. Therefore, the weather here is warmer and conducive to growing wine grapes, cherries, apricots, and walnuts. Its natural beauty and fascinating local customs make it a place worth visiting.
Called the “Gateway to Ladakh,” Dras Village is at a height of 10,800 feet and lies at the center of Dras Valley. The village is about 140 Km from Srinagar and boasts tall mountains on either side but a population of just 1200 people.
Dras Valley lies in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir and near the area where the Kargil war was fought. In Dras, a Kargil War Memorial shows how the Indian army navigated the coldest inhabited place in India and one of the coldest places in the world.
Dras Valley is ecologically interesting and has a very dry summer with very cold winters. It is covered by a thick blanket of snow from October to May, with temperatures reaching -45 degrees Celsius. Yet, it is popular with serious trekkers and nature enthusiasts who see it as the epitome of the Ladakhi landscape.
The Indus Valley gets its name from the Indus River, which was at the heart of the civilization that blossomed here eons ago. Now, Indus Valley is at the heart of Ladakh and is one of the most populous regions here with the most amount of agricultural land and activity.
The Ladakh range and then the Shayok and Nubra Valleys are north of the Indus Valley. South of the Indus is the Stok range, clearly visible from Leh. From this central location, one can visit any of the surrounding areas easily and also get a feel for the culture of Ladakh.
Many people visit this valley because it is a historic and cultural reservoir of the Indus Valley Civilization that evolved here and eventually came to cover a large portion of north India. There are many interesting shops, monasteries, buildings, and monuments here that help us understand the unique watershed developments that came to define the region.
Markha Village is relatively close to Leh. It is located between the Stok Kangri mountain range to the north and the Zanskar peaks to the south. Nearby, there is an old abandoned fort that is worth visiting. Hemis National Park is also nearby and the Markha River flows through the park and the valley. The valley has some charming old villages where the locals herd Yaks and make tea.
The reason why this valley is so famous for trekking and camping is that it has interesting rock formations and a divine scenery formed by mountains on either side. Trekkers can stay in parachute tents and go on long treks that take them up the mountains and further down the valley.
This trek is also called “The Tea House Trek” because of the many tea tents here that serve hot tea and biscuits for the trekkers. Campers can stay at the many designated campsites on the Markha River banks and engage in serious mountaineering and trekking.
Famously known as Lamayuru, the valley starts from Prinkiti La and extends to Wanla. There is a very well-made road here that travelers can use to traverse the valley and see its beautiful sights.
Throughout the valley, there are little hamlets and rural areas that offer a glimpse into the Ladakhi way of life where the locals make interesting handicrafts and clothes that can be purchased. Many of the hamlets and houses are located on the sides of mountains and one has to trek to get there.
At the end of the valley is the famous village called “Chilling.” Here, there are several accomplished metal workshops and metal smiths who make interesting wares and do repair work if required. Overall, the valley is worth visiting for its quaint pathways, trails, and spectacular views.
Set at an altitude of 13,000 ft. and on the Drang-Drung Glacier, Zanskar Valley affords breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. Located around 105 Km from Leh, it is a hotspot of adventure activities including water rafting, trekking, paragliding, snowboarding, and more.
The valley is named after the Zanskar river, which is a tributary of the Indus river. Zanskar means “copper star” and is so called because the river has a high amount of copper sedimentation. The Zanskar range separates Zanskar valley from the Indus valley at Leh.
Zanskar is famous for rearing Yaks which are historically central to life in Ladakh. The animal provides milk, food, warm clothes, transportation, plows the land, and provides dung for fertilization and fuel.
Around Zanskar, there are some famous trekking trails such as the Chadar Trek, Frozen River Trek, Padum-Darcha Trek, etc.
Although there are many hotels and resorts in Ladakh, one of the best places to stay is Lchang Nang – The House of Trees. This resort provides an authentic Ladakhi experience for tourists and is located in the most beautiful and pristine valley in Ladakh – Nubra Valley.
Additionally, it is an eco-cultural resort that exists in harmony with nature and uses only natural materials and sustainable sources of energy like solar power. Staying at Lchang Nang is a culturally enriching experience and is highly recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Where is Nubra Valley in Ladakh?
Ans. Nubra Valley is located in the north of Ladakh, between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges at an altitude of 10,000 ft. above sea level. It is 160 Km from Leh which takes 5 hours to reach.
Q2. Which is the most beautiful valley in India?
Ans. Nubra valley is regarded as the most beautiful valley in India because of its unique flora, spectacular views, colorful orchards and historical and cultural significance. It also has several important attractions and adventure sports.
Q3. What is Nubra Valley known for?
Ans. Nubra Valley is known for being the most beautiful valley in Ladakh. It is also known for its cold sand dunes near Sumur Village, its historic Gompa or Monastery near Teggar Village and the exotic flowers that grow there.
Q4. What is known as the valley of Flowers in Ladakh?
Ans. Nubra or Ldumra (meaning “Valley of Flowers”) is known as the “Valley of Flowers” in Ladakh because of the exotic and beautiful flowers that grow there.
Q5. Is it worth staying in Nubra Valley?
Ans. Yes. Nubra Valley is worth staying in for its unique landscapes, mesmerizing natural beauty and historical and cultural significance.