The road to Nubra Valley
Forget off the beaten track, this is virtually off the map. A seldom-seen jewel in India’s Himalayan crown, crossing into the Nubra Valley is an adventure in itself. From Leh, the road rises, then rises some more, then keeps going up further and...well, you get the idea. Khardung Pass stands at a heady 5,359 metres above sea level, pretty much as high as it’s possible to get in a car. The top-of-the-world views are reason enough to travel here, but the Nubra Valley is if anything more spectacular. A narrow cut between the Ladakh and Karakoram ranges, the valley is a world of stark sandy deserts bordering verdant orchards, of rivers and pools perfectly reflecting the scree-covered steep-sloped tawny mountains. The light is intense, the air possesses an otherworldly clarity – just look at the brilliant white glisten of the snow-capped peaks. The India of renown – the land of saris, spices and maharaja splendour – feels a universe away.