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  R E L A T E D   T O P I C S

 Places of Interest Ladakh
{
Drass Kargil Suru Valley Sankoo Rangdum Zanskar  Padum Phugthal 
Sani  Stongdey Zangla  Zongkhul }
Treks of Ladakh
{
Shang La-Matho La-Stok Kangri Padum to Martselang  Padum-Lamayuru 
Darcha-Padum }
Adventure in Ladakh
{
Trekking in Ladakh  Jeep Safari  Motorbike Safari 
Mountain Biking Mountaineering  River Rafting
Discover Ladakh 
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Pilgrimage Travel Wildlife Travel  Adventure Travel  Important Travel  Tips  Fairs & Festivals 
Arts & Crafts  Tourist Information   Modern Routes  New Areas   Culture Travel}
 

<< Indian Himalayas << Travel in Ladakh >> << Discover Ladakh >> << New Areas Ladakh >>

New Areas Ladakh -

Ladakh which were formerly closed to foreigners on account of their sensitive strategic position or proximity to international borders have recently been partially opened. Movement within them however is limited to a number of specifically designated circuits, and foreign visitors are allowed to go only in groups, accompanied by a recognized/ registered tour operator. The maximum time allowed on any circuit is seven days. Drok-pa-circuit, Nubra Valley Circuit, Pangong Lake Circuit, and Tso-Moriri Circuit are new Areas for the trekkers or travelers in Ladakh.

Drok-pa Circuit Area

In the Ladakh Valley down the Indus, between Khalatse and the Shayok -Indus confluence also called Indus River, live a people, known as Drok-pa, Buddhists in name, but racially and culturally distinct from the rest of the Ladakhis. Two of the five villages inhabited by them may now be visited, Dah and Biama. The route follows the Indus down from Khalatse, past the villages of Domkhar, Skurbuchan and Achinathang, along a fairly good road.

In the gorge of the Indus the sun's heat, reflected off bare rocks and cliffs, is frequently intense. The same heat makes it possible to take two crops every yera from the fields. Fruit is also grown- apricots, apples, walnuts and even grapes. Skurbuchan, Domkhar and Achinathang are attractive villages in Ladakh Valley, with an air of modest prosperity about them.

But the special interest of this region is less the landscape then its Drok-pa inhabitants. A minuscule community of perhaps no more than a couple of thousand, their features are pure Indo-Aryan, and they appear to have preserved their racial purity down the centuries. Their culture and religious practices are more akin to the ancient pre-Buddhist animist religion known as Bon-chos than to Buddhism as practised in the rest of Ladakh.

One curious feature is their abhorrence of the cow, or any of its products. They have preserved their ancient traditions and way of life partly through the celebration of the triennial Bono-na festival, a celebration of the harves, and partly through their songs and hymns. One of these is a description of an ibex-hunt for the ibex is specially sacred to them. Another recalls their migration from Gilgit - an event which must have occurred well before Gilgit came under the influence of Islam. Their language is said to be akin to that spoken in Gilgit, and by immigrants from Gilgit settled in Dras. Such a small and racially and culturally homogeneous community is bound to have much to offer scholars in the fields of ethnology and social anthropology.

Nubra Valley Circuit Area

The upper Shayok and Nubra rivers drain the east and west sides of the Saser Spur, the eastern most outcrop of the Karakoram. The name Nubra is applied to the district comprising the valley of the Nubra river, and that of the Shayok both above and below their confluence, where they meander in many shifting channels over a broad sandy plain before flowing off to the northwest to join the Indus in Baltistan.

The route from Leh takes the traveler over the Khardung-la, the highest motorable road in the world. The line of the road is different from that of the old pony-trail - longer and actually higher (18,300 feet / 5,578 m). The view from the top of the pass is amazing. One can see all the way south over the Indus valley to the seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range, and north to the giants of the Saser massif. For several kilometers, on each side of the pass, the road covered by deep snow in winter, is rough; for the rest of the way the surface is good.

At the confluence of the two rivers there is no dearth of water, but the sandy soil is not suitable for agriculture, which is confined to the alluvial fans where side streams debouch into the main valley. The valley floor itself is covered with dense thickets of seabuckthorn - a thorny shrub- which the villagers use for fuel and for fencing their fields ; though indeed, there is now less need for this than there was in the days of the caravan trade with Central Asia when up to 10,000 horses a year are said to have traversed the district. The villages are large and seem prosperous, and have thick plantations of willow and popular. The altitude is little less than that of Leh, varying between 10,000 feet (3,048 m) at Hundar, and 10,600 feet (3,231 m) at Panamik. Summer temperatures vary between 15 degree celcius and 28 degree celcius.

The main village is Deskit, which has a regular bazaar consisting of a single line of shops, and a gompa. This is situated on a rocky spur above the village with commanding views up and down the valley. From Deskit, the tour circuit proceeds down the Shayok to Hundar, past an area of rolling sand dunes, their contours apparently solid, yet liable to shift with every gale. Here there is a small population of Bactrian camels, shaggy double-humped animals, which in the old days, were used as pack animals on the Central Asian trade routes. During the past 50 years, they have been bred for transport purposes in Nubra; today visitors can take a camel safari out into the dunes from Hundar.

The other circuit proceeds up the Nubra river, taking in the pretty villages of Tirit, Lukung, Tegar and Sumur. Nubra's other kanor monastery, Samstaling is situated on the mountainside just above Sumur. This was the route taken by the trade caravans, and Panamik, the last village on this circuit, was at that time a busy centre, the last major settlement before the caravans plunged into the mountains of the Karakoram and the Kun-Lu. Here they invariable halted for a few days to make final preparations for getting over the mountains, or to recuperate afterwards. There would be no supplies, not even grazing for the animals, for about 12 days after Panamik, so they had to carry all their provisions for that time. The Government maintained a granary to sell foodgrains for the men, and even for the horses.

Pangong Lake Circuit Area

This route takes the visitor past picturesque villages of Shey and Thikse, and turns off the Indus valley by the side-valley of Chemrey and Sakti. The Ladakh range is crossed by the Chang-la (18,000 feet / 5,475 m) which despite its great elevation is one of the easier passes, remaining open for much of the year even in winter, apart from periods of actual snowfall. Tangse, just beyond the foot of the pass, has an ancient temple.

Tso-Moriri Lake Circuit Area

The area traversed by the Manali Leh road, and containing the drainage basins of Tso-moriri and other lakes is known as Rupshu. Here, the Zanskar range is transformed into bare rolling many-hued hills divided by open high altitude valley scoured by dust-devils. It is a landscape unlike any other in Ladakh -or elsewhere in India.

Discover Ladakh 
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Pilgrimage Travel Wildlife Travel  Adventure Travel  Important Travel  Tips  Fairs & Festivals 
Arts & Crafts  Tourist Information   Modern Routes  New Areas   Culture Travel}

Tours To Kashmir/Leh Ladakh Himalayas India :-

Srinagar Tour (Soul of Kashmir)
   
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Kashmir - Paradise on Earth
   
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The Amarnath Cave- Holy Heart of India
   
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Best of Himachal, Kashmir, Ladakh
   
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Leh Ladakh Tours| Ladakh the Last Leg Day to Day
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Hotels in Kashmir                              Hotels in Leh-Ladakh

 Trekking in Kashmir Valley -|- Trekking in Ladakh Valley, Jammu & Kashmir -|- Trekking in Kangra Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Lahaul Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Shimla Valley -|- Trekking in Garhwal, Uttaranchal -|- Trekking in Kumaon, Uttaranchal -|- Trekking in Darjeeling, East India Himalaya
-|- Trekking in Sikkim, East India Himalaya -|- Trekking in Arunachal Pradesh -|- Trekking in Bhutan
-|- Trekking in Nepal -|- Trekking in Tibet Go to Top

 

 

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