Nubra Valley is just fascinating! We checked into a nice plush guest house last night…a little bargaining and we got a room for Rs.350. we have everything, except a TV. It is ironic that I spend more than that on a single meal sometimes, and drive a hard bargain at these guest houses. Nevertheless, I simply like this place. It has beautiful gardens and flowers are in full bloom. We had a nice dinner yesterday and I woke up to the smell of chai in the kitchen! At the morning chai, I meet an elderly Swiss gentleman. He seems to be enjoying his stay as well. We get into a conversation about the Alps and the Himalayas. At his age, he seems to like the conveniences associated with the Alps such as a restaurant around every corner and somewhat more oxygen to get by the day. Otherwise he seems to be happy going through the motions in Ladakh. He does say that he would have enjoyed it immensely if he was younger. I am glad to be taking this trip now in my life!!
The way to Sumur is through the other side of the mountain. We retrace our wheel marks in a quest to go around the huge rock and are once again mesmerized by what we see. In the desert we spot a couple of Bactrian or double humped camels. When we approached them, they banded together in unity and as we retreated, they seemed to go off their own ways. Remarkable, how animal instinct works! These camels were sold off to Rajasthani dealers last year for about Rs.35K each, but they did not survive the weather and died as soon as they got out of Ladakh!
We make another stop at the Sumur monastery. It is empty for all the Lamas are in Leh listening to HH the Dalai Lama’s preachings. We wander around, take a few pictures and are on our way again.
On route to the Panamik village, we stop at the sulphur hot springs. These were pretty disappointing, specially after having seen the Yellowstone geysers and hot springs. however, unlike their Yellowstone counterparts, these hot springs deliver water that can be used for all human purposes. It is non toxic and potable. Legend has it that it can be used to cure most of the stomach’s ailments, but we were too healthy to give it a try!
We take lunch at a road side restaurant. It is the only one and the best in miles of desert around us. A siesta after lunch is appropriate and we drive to a nearby stream for some cool weather. I lay down on a rock in the middle of the stream and am soon off to a sound sleep. the power nap ends with a honk from our driver who is insistent upon taking us to a place like we have never seen before.
As we climb up the mountain, he assures us that it is worth a visit. The mountain is not as steep, but it is probably a half an hour’s walk. We are surrounded by desert and another huge mountain range encircles the desert. As we reach the top of the mountain, a clear body of water begins to take shape. It looks like a sight straight out of a world that is least imagined. The picture below says it all, and I have no further words to express.
Life is just beautiful in the Nubra Valley, and I do not want to leave. I am forced by the others to call it a day and hunt for a lodging for the night. Luckily, we find an amazing guest house in Sumur. It has 5 rooms and only us as guests. The caretaker is an awesome guy who makes great chai. We are treated to a lavish dinner, cooked from vegetables plucked straight from the farm. I experiment a bit to capture the moon and with some camera histrionics come up with a shot like this. Everyone is impressed!! But it is the result of a solar flare! I keep trying to capture the moon late into the night and a distant light keeps troubling me. I loose my patience and give up. I guess it was a good thing to do because I can now enjoy the beauty of the starry night!