Every traveler’s dream is to escape the monotony of city life and at least for once, experience the calm and quiet of the sparsely populated valleys in the crown jewel of our country, Jammu & Kashmir. So, we bring to you a compilation of some of the most beautiful valleys that will tempt you to plan your much overdue getaway in the lap of the great Himalaya!
#1 Nubra Valley
Once an ancient gateway for the famous Silk Route, Nubra Valley or the Valley of Flowers is a high altitude cold desert with a combination of absolutely stark scenery. From steep slopes, sand-dunes to fertile river beds, groves of poplars and barley fields to village settlements and camels grazing in the valley, your visit to Nubra will want you to come back for more and for better!
#DidYouKnow Nubra Valley is the warmest in entire Ladakh!
Popular attractions: Disket Gompa and camel safari from Deskit to the Hunder village.
#2 Drass Valley
At the base of the Zojila Pass lies the popularly known as ‘Gateway to Kadakh, the Drass Valley. At 10, 597 ft abovel sea level, it is the second coldest place in this world to ever be inhabited. The temperature during the winters drops to as low as -45 degree Celcius and shrouds the entire valley with a blanket of snow; however summers are a total game changer!
#DidYouKnow: Drass Town is so small that it will take you barely 15 minutes to see it all!
Popular attractions: Base camp for trek to Suru Valley; Drass War Memorial, Draupadi Kund, Pugu Valley
Photo Credit: Ladakh Valley
#3 Zanskar Valley
250 kms from Kargil and 480 kms from Leh, Zanskar Valley deserves a spot on every traveler’s bucket list. Overlooking the valley are the gorgeous Nun Kun mountain massif that offer an absolutely splendid view. Zanskar is home to monasteries like Stongdey, Suney, Karsha, Phukta and Zongkhul and thus a paradise for those seeking peace of mind.
#DidYouKnow: The Zanskar River freezes in winter and becomes a trek route for avid trekkers. The trek is popularly known as the Chadar Frozen River Trek!
Popular attraction: White Water Rafting in the Zanskar River and Chadar Frozen (Zanskar) River Trek Photo Credit: Narenderkumar Gautam
#4 Padum Valley
Capital of Zanskar, Padum is fast becoming a favourite among those who love trekking and rafting expeditions. It is trekking base for many destinations like Kishtwar, Lamayuru and Lahaul in Himachal.
#DidYouKnow: There’s an ancient 8th-century rock carvings on a boulder near the river bank is an evidence that the region was influenced by Buddhism back in the day!
Main attraction: Karsha Gompa which has 500-year-old frescoes!
Photo Credit: Candle Tree
#5 Markha Valley
Markha Valley gets its name from a tributary of Zanskar, Markha. It is home to the now in a state of ruin old castles and forts. Once you’re there, you’re guaranteed panoramic views of monasteries and remote villages.
#DidYouKnow: While enroute to the Markha Valley you may spot the ibex!
Popular attractions: High altitude pastures of Nimaling and the compelling beauty of Kangyatse peak!
Photo Credit: James
#6 Suru Valley
Poplar and willow trees add a dash of green to the canvas of Suru valley. The valley comes to life in spring when the apple and apricot orchards are in full bloom! Like other valleys in J & K, Suru valley too is a base for numerous thrilling treks, one of which is the trek to the Nun-Kun peaks from Tangole village.
#DidYouKnow: Lower parts of the Suru Valley are one of the most fertile regions in the whole of Ladakh!
Popular attractions: The towering peaks of Nun at 7135 metres and Kun at 7035 metres!
#7 Shyok Valley
Shyok Valley is a visual delight with the Shyok River passing through it and the magnanimous mountains overlooking it. The Shyok River originates from the Rimo glacier and travels a distance of approximately 550 km fed by various other glaciers before finally crossing paths with the Indus river.
#DidYouKnow: Shyok River is also known as the river of death!
Popular attraction: 35 meter statue of Lord Buddha facing down the Shyok River towards Pakistan.
Photo Credit: Ameeth Srivastav
Cover Photo Credit: Jamie McGuinness
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Written By: Sharanya Manola