Ladakh, like Tibet, can be labelled as the ‘roof of the world’. Located at an altitude of more than 3,000 metres, this Himalayan region dominated by Buddhists is also known as ‘Little Tibet’ due to the strong influence of Tibetan culture. Ever since Ladakh was opened for tourists in 1974, the region has seen a steady increase in the footfall of tourists. Majority of tourists visit this tiny Himalayan region that achieved the status of a union territory in 2019 for adventure and to seek solace in the mountains.
While Ladakh has plenty to offer to tourists, the three-day tour to Nubra valley and Pangong lake remain one of the most popular tours in the region. Both the places are known for their distinct culture, flora and fauna, and the unique experience they offer to tourists. Nubra compared to other parts of Ladakh, except for Sham, is one of the warmest parts of Ladakh. Pangong Lake, on the other hand, is on the Tibetan plateau and is known for its harsh climate, especially in the winter. Therefore, the best season to visit Ladakh and to do this tour is summer.
The three-day tour starts and ends in Leh, the capital of Ladakh. Here are the top places that can be visited during the tour:
Khardung La Pass
Until 2017 Khardung La wore the moniker of the world’s highest motorable road. Even though it lost the title to Umling La top that is situated at an altitude of 19,300 feet, Khardung La still remains one of the most visited mountain passes in Ladakh. Khardung La, situated at an altitude of 17,900 ft, is the gateway to Nubra as it connects the Nubra valley with the rest of Leh. While the view from the top of Khardung La is nothing short of breathtaking, it is quite a challenge to stay out in the open for more than ten minutes due to thin or low level of oxygen. Therefore, it is always advisable to stay inside the car.
Diskit is the administrative headquarter of Nubra and is abuzz with activities. Even though there are many things to see in Diskit, its standout feature is the 32-metre-high statue of Maitreya or Future Buddha (known as Chamba in Ladakhi) and the majestic Diskit gompa. His Holiness the Dalai Lama consecrated the statue of Maitreya Buddha in 2010. Diskit gompa is one of the oldest monasteries in Nubra and was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa who was the founder of Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, in the 14th century.
Hunder Sand Dunes
Hunder is the most famous tourist spot in Nubra Valley. The presence of sand dunes spread over a few acres of land flanked by snow-capped mountains and glaciers is enough to mesmerise anyone. The cherry on top is the ride on double-humped Bactrian camels. A ride on a Bactrian camel in the sand dunes of Hunder is one of its kind of experiences and it is must-try for tourists.
Chang La Pass
The highlight on the way to Durbuk block from Leh is definitely the Chang La pass. Situated at an altitude of 17,590 ft, Chang La is the gateway to Durbuk, the home to Pangong Lake. Even though the road leading to Chang La is treacherous, the view from the top is enough to rejuvenate anyone. The glaciers, snow-capped mountains, stupas adorned with colourful prayer flags and a cup of hot tea is what the journey to Chang La so memorable.
Anyone would fall in love at the first sight of Pangong Lake. That is how much beautiful Pangong Lake is. The waters of Pangong Lake is sandwiched between the barren and snow-capped mountains and glaciers. This 134-km-long Lake is shared by both India and China-dominated Tibetan Autonomous Region, with 60% of the Lake in Tibetan Autonomous Region and the remaining part in India. Pangong is considered to be one of the highest brackish (slightly salted) water lakes in the world. What makes Pangong Lake so popular among the tourists is its colour-changing abilities. The Lake changes its colour from shades of blue to green to red.