My flight was in the morning so we called a taxi and reached on time, very excited about the trip and cooking up stories about the trip that how I would travel, and what all things to be done. The plane took off the sky was not that clear we could not even see the land. The flight landed at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh after around 1 hour 15 mins of flight. This airport is the 23rd highest commercial airport in the world with an elevation of more than 10000 ft. Once I came out of the flight I could feel the cool breeze and nice sunny weather. Post completing the check out we were outside the airport and looked for a taxi which is easily available here and told the driver to take us to the bike rental place to pick up our bikes for the trip. We reached there and took the bikes for the road trip. Then we connected with a travel agent to get us an Inner Line Permit and foreigners need to take Protected Area Permit because this is a sensitive area on the border of lined up with Pakistan and China. After some time we finally got the permit and we started our road trip to the Nubra Valley. There were two routes to reach Nubra Valley from Leh via Wari La and Via Khardung La. We choose khardung La because of two reasons one is the main highway being used by most of the vehicles so if we get in trouble there would be people to help and another reason was Khardung La is the world's height motorable road and wanted to cover this point.
When we were on the way found some amazing landscapes and beauty was of the mountains and plains was just mesmerizing. Then we reached the first check post at South Pullu where the army people check the documents and keep a copy, we fortunately had multiple copies of the permit so we submitted one there. Then we moved ahead to the found some bad patches in the road was completely came off. The post following the beautiful valley and scenic mountains we reached the highest point on the khardung La after a long drive of around 40 km from Leh. This is the point every adventurous biker to cover and took some awesome pics with my friends along with the signboard which says 18,380 ft this is the elevation of this road. I was feeling on top of the world the emotions were running through I just can't explain in words how I felt. There is a small cafeteria so I decided to take some rest and get hold of a cup of tea. There was an army shop selling souvenirs selling caps, hats, and other stuff written khardung La on it. I thought I will buy it when on my way back to Leh. A post covering the snow bounded khardung La I moved a little ahead the view was just awe and splendid landscapes, amazing valley, the road was feeling like ending up in the rocks, golden shining sunkissed mountains. Finally, after a while I reached Khardung Village, it was surrounded by the snow-capped desert mountains, rich green fields, the cool breeze went passing through my ears was stunning. I decided to eat something however only chips, biscuits, and maggie were the only options to grab. Post that we took some magical pictures of the breathtaking views of the village. Now, I again started to get on with the road trip and moved towards Khalsar, just before the road was splitting into 2 one way was showing Sumur and another road was to Diskit. We planned our first-day hotel booking at Diskit so we moved towards this route. Diskit the headquarter for Nubra valley. The sun was about to set and we are feeling a little tired also, so went to the prebooked hotel to check-in and spend the rest of the night. Because we heard about the night a lot, we came out of the hotel and surprised to see the deep blue sky with the glittering star it was a never-before view. We were wandering taking some amazing pictures.
One of the friends wanted to visit a bar so we took help from the locals and located a bar in Diskit – Sangan Bar. We were told that this is the only bar in the entire valley. It was nearby a Sten Del Hotel access lane which somewhere in between the famous bazaar area and old Diskit. The doors of the bar were absolute blank you can't make out if it is a bar. When we entered we found the interiors are quite different from a normal bar in the metro towns. There are a set of cabanas which gives you a private space with your gang. We ordered a beer, wine. This was amazing the way we were having fun together we decided to order some snacks along with it to finish up the dinner and went back to the hotel to stay overnight.
After relaxing in the night, we were fresh and took the lip-smacking breakfast and we were all set to enjoy this amazing day. We started first visiting the Diskit Monastery which is one of the most ancient monasteries of all time made in the 13th century. We could take a 360-degree view of the entire Diskit village and nearby area it was just treated to an eye. We entered the building of the monastery and saw the priceless artifacts and wall paintings describing the preaching of Lord Buddha. Not too far there is a 106 ft tall crown statue of Buddha which is also known as Maitreya Buddha is the situation. You can take the Outstanding view of the entire valley from here. The statue of the future Buddha is facing the Shyok river which meets Nubra River here and makes the valley. I was just admiring the architecture of the Buddha statue was amazing apart from other material it is said to have used 8 kgs of gold donated by the Diskit monastery. The chanting of mantras, prayer flags all around and a peaceful environment cant be expressed in words. I decided to sit there for some time could feel my inner self and my soul was quite calm.
Now, our next stop was Sumur Village and it is said to have the prettiest views in the valley. It is primarily famous for its Samstanling Monastery. This monastery is based on a hill so once we reach the village we kept our stuff down there and decided to do a trekking to the hill to reach this beautiful monastery and it took almost 50 mins for us to reach the gates of the monastery. This is among the old monastery in the town around 180 years old. We were stunned by the use of colors on the walls red, golden, and white which enlightened the entire atmosphere around. There were series of prayer flags in different colors hanging all around which is an important part of Buddhism. Once we entered the building we found various wall paintings depicting a story of Dharmachakara which was just a treat to watch the way this monastery has preserved it. This monastery houses around 100 monks who work here and do prepares and lives around the monastery and practice the religion. We got some quality clicks here as this place was based on a certain height so we could take a gorgeous view of the entire village and valley around. Now, it was time to explore our next destination, Panamik Village which is mainly famous for its hot sulfur springs. In the 22km long ride there some magical scenes which we captured in the DSLR and overall this was an amazing bike riding experience for me. This trip is a must one for every passionate biker. This is the last village in the valley on this route. We heard that the sunset view from the lake is priceless and there was some time in it. So we decided to start our trek to another ancient Ensa Monastery which around 260 years old. We came here with the intention of fun and adventure so this was another option for us to trek. If I need to describe the view of the monastery from the village it was like a stair placed on the top of a hill. It was an Unparalleled view and I wanted to see the view post reaching the monastery. I was surprised to enter the monastery as most of the monastery has a lot of use of bright colors and on the contrary they have used black color and the monastery was quite different from the other ones. As I imagine it was a picturesque view from the top from the monastery and mountains were felt just 10 – 15 meters far. It was splendid to spend some time here in peace. Then, once we came back to the village we, sat on the bank of the river, enjoy the freshness in the air, and viewing the blue sky with bubbles like clouds. Across you can see the majestic mountains snow-capped giving an awe-struck view. The sun was setting between the mountains, golden rays on the mountains giving pleasant scenes for the eyes. The moment was quite captivating and we didn't forget to capture some pictures of the vibrant art of nature. Then, we went to the much-heard market in the village to buy some clothing and souvenirs and the most famous Pashmina shawls. There were multiple things to choose from like, carpets, rugs, woolen socks, even organic stuff was also available like green apples, apricots, green apples. Dry fruits like almond, walnut was also available at reasonable rates. As we could not carry much weight going back so I chose to bought some shawls and a kg of walnuts. Then we decided to head back to our home-stay is this village. The home-stay owner was quite generous and we were really happy with the services offered.
This was the final day of the trip. It was a bright sunny morning with cozy weather conditions and mesmerizing beauty of mountain just behind the village with snow all over it. We went ahead to the Turtuk village which was opened for tourists in 2010 only. This place is famous for the Balti people and their famous Balti dishes. Once we reached there we met the humble Balti people spoke to them to understand their culture and way of life. Life doesn't seem too easy at such an altitude but I salute to the generosity of these people. The Shyok river is passing by the village and goes to Pakistan and I felt so excited to touched one more border of India and Pakistan. We visit this village house a Balti Heritage museum, it is displaying the Balit Culture. I could not locate many options to take up the lunch however finally got one fine location and order the high on spices Balti dishes which was yummy and it enhanced my taste buds. Balti dishes are known for this chili and extensive use of masala a must-try food once you are visiting this village.
Now, it was time for the eye-catching cold deserts of Hunder. This is a must-visit place, it is only this place in India that we finally found double-humped camels to ride. We took that ride exceptional experience on one hand it was dunes and on the other hand, it was beautiful snow-capped mountains. Never seen such a stunning view, I handed over my camera to the guide to take some memorable pictures. Then, it was time for the dune biking as we had done a lot of mountain biking till now. The dunes were endless so we gave full throttle to the bikes we rented from there it was a first time experience for me to ride these bikes. It was about to be sunset the moments were waiting for the sun to set in the sand dunes. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for us and we thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the place to visit for nature, culture and landscapes, greenery and much more.