Coordinate 4147

Caricato 9 settembre 2015

Recorded settembre 2015

5.373 m
3.083 m
132,65 km

Visto 783 volte, scaricato 13 volte

vicino Tiggur, Jammu and Kashmīr (India)

The third and last part in which I have sectioned the traversal from Pangong to Leh features the return from Nubra valley to the capital, with the traversal of the Khardung La, often dubbed as the highest motorable pass of the world.
Highest or not, the striking feature is that cycling up from north you find 2200 metres of ascent spread over a rare 60 km length!
Consider, however, that gradients are extremely steady, much unlike on the Chang La. Moreover, you do not find the unpleasant feature which characterizes the south side of Wari La, namely, switchbacks alternating ascents and descents!
The descent on Leh must not be underestimated, since the road has pavement, but this is mainly covered with treacherous gravel and often by sand.
At the end of the track you see us abandoning the main road, because we had to reach our guest-house locate in the vicinity of Sankar gompa. Just for information, in the darkness we could do this only thanks to the GPS.
Touristically, the highlight of this stretch is given by the sand dunes and the camels at the confluence of the Nubra river into the Shyokh river. If you have little time in Sumur, I recommend to choose this visit instead of the temples, also because Samstaling is not exceptional.


I report below the description that I gave to my 360° panorama of the Nubra dunes,


This picture shows the confluence of the Nubra valley into the Shyokh valley. The place is remarkable because it also hosts an area of sand dunes where it is possibile to spot some of the few authentic camels remaining: I mean, two-hump Bactrian camels, whereas in the vast majority of the world nowadays only dromedaires are to be found. There was no way to include the animals in the 360°, since they were jealous of their privacy while resting in the shadow of some trees. Yes, shadow, because - believe it or not - at times an unexpectedly burning sun gazed out of the restless clouds.
Another remarkable feature of this "Konkordiaplatz" is its location between Himalaya and Karakorum. This is the point where the contrasting realms of Hima-alaya, "the abode of snow", south, and Kara-korum, "the black scree", north, find their ideal meeting place. As the Betracher sees, it is not my intention to tear the veil covering these names, with all their mysteries and all the awe inspired by them. Namely, as you see, my picture actually shows little more than clouds!
The name Nubra is itself magic for people interested in High Asia. Here the merchants coming from the Indian plains took a last rest, and possibly also a bath in the hot sulphur springs of Panamik, before tackling the potentially deadly 5500 m passes of the Karakorum, the only way for them to join the Silk Route between Khotan and Kashgar.
Nowadays these epic undertakings are no longer possible. Namely, civilians cannot go past Panamik, whereas only the numerous Indian army convoys can ride further 100 km to the so-called Siachen Base Camp, located at the beginning of, and named after, the glacier which outside the polar regions is second only to Pamir's Fedcenko.
Indeed, one cannot forget that this Konkordia (...) is located more or less at the border of nuclear powers, namely, India, China and Pakistan. Actually, during your daily going you meet more than one detail reminding this. Photographing camels here, for example, is possible and welcome. Incidentally, also Buddhist people are always glad to be photographed. This remembers me to note that, hidden by the dune with the two seats, on the other side of the valley there is the Diskit gompa with its new 32 m statue of Maitreya Buddha, consecrated by the Dalai Lama in 2010.
But just ten kilometers away, pointing the camera at the highly strategic bridge over the Shyokh river, giving access to the whole of Nubra, could take you straight into jail.

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First village of Nubra valley. We stopped there since there were rumors that the road to Panamik was in desperate conditions, due to some recent floods.
Religinė architektūra

Animist temple

Pre-Buddhost temple little below Samstaling
Religinė architektūra


A recent temple built in the XIXth century

Prayer wheels

A couple of kms north of the village centre


One of the few spots where you still find authentic two-humped camels.


More often visited are the dunes of Hundar, but there are sand dunes south of Sumur, not far from the Nubra-Shyokh confluence.

Fork to dunes

You will not miss this fork: namely, the camel rides are well advertised!!


A little resort on the side of the road


Little bridge on a river coming from the Karakoram

Shyokh bridge

This bridge yields the only access to Nubra. Due to its strategic importance, it is strictly forbidden to take photographs here.


The little village at the foot of Khardung La. Now in in very bad conditions after recent floods.

Shyokh camping

The unique accommodation in Khalsar!

Fork to Agyam

Turning left you follow the Shyokh valley. See the track Pangong Nubra 02.

First view on Khardung

After the desertic Shyokh valley, the view opens over the lush terraces below Khardung.

Khardung village

Situated in a very scenic position. The height is lower than 4000 m, far from the record 4400 m reported by some guidebooks.

Panoramic spot after Khardung

Very pleasant panoramic spot among terraces hosting little group of houses.

North Pullu

The police check-post on the north side of the pass. Here you are requested to leave a copy of your inner-line permit.

Little tarn

Some kms after North Pullu

Last metres

Few hundreds of metres before the pass.
Passo di montagna

Khardung La, 5368

Claimed to be the "highest motorable road in the world". Incidentally, according to my GPS the Chang La would be 4 metres higher: 5372. In any case, forget the old legend of 5600 m still claimed by some books and maps.

View on the Indus valley

Few dozens of metres after the pass there is a first balcony on the south side. Leh, the Stok range and, in the distance, even the Nun Kun massif are visible from here.

South Pullu

The police check-post on the south side of the pass. We were not even stopped here due to the late hour. I do not know whether in North Pullu one does skip the check due to the same reason.

Road to Tsemo palace

The main road to Khardung La passes behind the hill hosting the Tsemo gompa and palace. A short dirt road leads to them.
Religinė architektūra

Sankar gompa

Beautiful gompa in the quiet and suggestive upper part of the town.



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