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Home » Ladakh Tourism » Ladakh Valley

Ladakh Tourism >> Ladakh Valley

Dras Valley
The Dras Valley is an enchanting valley formed by the Dras River which rises in the Machoi glacier near the famous Zozila Pass. The river is joined in its course by many other rivers and streams flowing in from snowfields in the nearby mountains. The river Shigar flowing in from the north drains an adjoining part of the Dras Valley. In summer, as the snow in the upland smelts, the volume of this river rises considerably. It meets the Suru River near Kharul a short distance away from Kargil. The terrain is characterized by rock and stone with the occasional greenish patch formed by willow and groves. The short summer season in the Dras Valley begins in May, when the snows begin to melt. Crop sowing activities start late, while harvesting is done early so that the crops are brought in before the beginning of snowfall. The valley of Drass is inhabited by Brokpas who probably migrated to this tract from Gilgit several centuries ago. They grow mainly barley and other coarse cereals as there is a lack of irrigation facilities in many parts of Drass. Poor and unproductive soil and the short growing season adds to the poor agricultural production . As a result, food grains have to be imported from the Kashmir Valley. Fuel too is a scarce commodity and has to be brought in from across the Zozila Pass.

Nubra Valley
Visitors to this flowering glen find it a coveted treasure. During early summer, Nubra is clad in endless bushes of yellow and pink wild roses, and once the valley is through with the season of roses around August, a carpet of wild lavender lies gently on it. Nubra is also a relatively warmer valley in Ladakh and helps in growth better crops and fruits, making Nubra the Ldumra or orchard of Ladakh.

Dotted with apricot plantations, Diskit is amongst the larger villages in the region, and home to the 350 year-old Diskit Gompa - the oldest, and the largest monastery in the Nubra Valley. Diskit has a number of rudimentary hotels and guest houses, with an odd store here and there. The road between Diskit and the quaint little Hunder Village winds through a gorgeous stretch of sand dunes. In Hunder one should keep his eyes open for the double-humped camels! The Hunder Gompa has some old frescos and a statue of Buddha. The monastery is also the best place in the village for a view of the dipping sun.

Salt Lake Valley
With a length of about 20 km and a maximum width of about 7 km, The Salt Lake Valley is one of the widest open areas in Rupshu. Its average elevation is 5,000 m and can be approached from Leh across the Tanglang La pass. Thuggi is the main settlement of the Salt Lake Valley. There are two lakes in this valley -- the fresh water Panluk Lake with an area of about 2 square kilometers and the salt-water Tsokar Lake with an area of about 10 square kilometers. Deposits of impure salt occurring on the northern shore of the Tsokar Lake are collected by the Changpas and used as barter to obtain goods from other parts of Ladakh.

Shyok Valley
The Shyok Valley is the valley of the Shyok River -- the river of death. This is a Yarkandi (Central Asian) name, probably given by the Central Asian traders who ventured on this treacherous route for centuries and perished. Rising from the Khumdang glacier, which can be approached from Shyok,The Shyok River takes a southerly course after it is joined by the Nubra River. Nubra and Changchenmo rivers fill the waters of Shylok River.

The river freezes in winter, thus forming an easy access between the Khaplu and the Nubra valleys. In summer, as the snow melts in the uplands, the river overflows its banks and inundates the surrounding plain for many kilometers, at times creating a vast marsh. During this period, the Shyok River has to be crossed on rafts of inflated skin.

Suru Valley
The average elevation of the Suru valley is 3,000 m. Winters are very severe and heavy and frequent snowfalls occur, though the Suru Valley does not become as inhospitable as the Dras Valley. The cold season begins around mid-November and usually continues till May. During this period, most of the valley is covered with a thick layer of snow. The Suru Valley is formed by the catchments of the Suru River, which rises from the Panzella glacier. On its way to the confluence with the Indus River at Nurla it is joined by numerous tributaries, including the Dras River which flows into the Suru River at Kharul.

The general topography is as rugged and mountainous as most of Ladakh. However, the Suru Valley is relatively more fertile. It extends from the Panzella glacier to south of Kargil town, where the Suru River merges with the Botkul River rising from the Botkul glacier.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the people of this valley as the valley is blessed with a relatively longer summer which begins in May. The main crops raised by the people of Suru Valley are wheat, barley and millets. Improved varieties of wheat have recently been introduced. This has helped to increase the production of cereals. Some of the vegetables grown here are turnip, radish, peas and black peas. Grapes, apricots and melons are produced in fairly large quantities at Darchik and Garkoon along the lower course of the Indus through Ladakh. These find a ready market in Kargil. Liquor is made from grapes.

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