Surrounded by Himalayan ranges, Nubra valley lies sandwiched between Tibet and Kashmir.
A paradise for adventure lovers, Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir boasts of some of the most picturesque and challenging treks. High mountain ranges, colourful landscape, pristine rivers and pristine environment – the pleasures of trekking in Ladakh are many.
Travel.india.com lists five trekking trails in Ladakh.
Nubra Valley Trek:
Trekking at an altitude of around 10,000 ft above sea level and exploring the marvels of Indus Valley will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Referred to as the ‘Orchard of Ladakh’ due to its mild climate and rich vegetation, the valley offers unparalleled trekking opportunities and picturesque landscapes.
The journey to Nubra Valley leads through Khardung la Pass, (the highest motorable road in the world). After the pass, you get explore several villages of the Nubra Valley such as Khardong, Khalser, Deskit. If you are tired of walking, you can hire a Bactrian camel safari from Deskit to Hunder village for two hours.
The camel safari is very popular among the trekkers; the Bactrian camels in the valley are the prominent attraction. One can also visit several monasteries, especially the famous 350-year-old Diskit.
Markha Valley Trek
Amazing views of the Great Himalayas, Ladakh and Zanskar ranges, opportunities to test your skill and endurance –all these are more can be expected in the Markha Valley trek. Located between Zanskar and Ladakh and very near to Tibet, Markha Valley offers a window to the life in the Himalayas.
The sights of wild and barren landscapes, pastel canyons decorated with multi-hued prayer flags undulating in the breeze and monasteries which appear like fortresses are common during the trek.
The Markha Valley trek is meant for experienced trekkers and best undertaken between mid-July to October.
Darcha-Lamayuru Trek is considered the king of trekking routes. The entire route from Darcha to Lamayuru takes you through exotic Zanskar, where one can see distinguished Buddhist practices and amazing landscapes. You can also visit several monasteries.
Only professional trekkers should undertake the trek. The best time to explore the route is between the months of June to October.
Native to the steppes of central Asia, Bactrian camels can only be found in the Nubra Valley in India
Stok Kangri Trek
Unlike the Markha Valley trek and the Darcha-Lamayuru trek, the Stok Kangri trek can be undertaken even by amateurs. The only challenge you face is the altitude.
It takes around nine days to reach the pinnacle. From the summit, you get majestic views of the Zanskar and Karakoram ranges including K2, the second highest peak in the world.
The Frozen River Trek (Chadar Trek)
You get an idea of the trek from the name itself. Trekking on frozen river is a unique experience. During winter when the mountain passes remain snowbound, travelling on the snow covered river is the only way for Zanskaris. The 20-day trek is considered one of the toughest and challenging. The trek is meant for professionals only.
This article was first published in June 2013.