Suru Valley-The Hidden Gem of Ladakh

Suru Valley, located around 42 km from Kargil district of Ladakh, is the leading road towards Zanskar Valley, surrounded by the Suru river has mesmerizing view one can adore of.

Ladakh is itself an unexplored place for many people. But for travel enthusiasts, it is on must travel checklist. Kargil is a popular tourist place here that many people are aware of. But, a handful of tourists know about Suru Valley, which is not so far from Kargil. There are other tourist attractions in Ladakh like Oldest Monasteries, Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake, Zanskar, etc. You can visit these places if you are planning to come here.

suru valley
Near Penzila pass
Pc: source

About Suru Valley:

Suru Valley, elevated at above 3000mtr from sea level, surrounded by Suru River, is the most fertile land in the entire Ladakh. People rush from Kargil towards Padum to explore Zanskar Valley, but what about this beautiful place that comes in between? Suru Valley has passes to lakes to monasteries to glaciers, every criteria to make this place a popular tourist attraction. But these are considered under Zanskar Valley.

Located around 91km from Kargil district towards Penzila Pass, where one side of the Pass is Suru Valley and the other side is Zanskar Valley. The valley elongates 100kms comprises a population of around 25000 Dard and Tibetan descendants, where most of the population resides in Sankoo Village. Let’s explore this amazing place and tick mark it on our travel bucket list.

What To See In The Suru Valley:

There is a lot to see in the valley which can’t be covered in just a few hours or 1 day. At least plan for 3-4 days, so that you can see most of the wonders. I can guarantee you will never disappoint on your decision by staying here and will get mesmerize memories to share with your near and dear ones.

Nun-Kun Massif:

These twin mountain massifs are the greatest attraction found in almost every part of the valley. These 2 sister mountains reside next to each other separated by a 4km long snowy plateau called “Pinnacle Peak“. These are both beautiful and mysterious because Nun is forever covered with white snow and its sister is arid black. On a sunny day, you will get a chance to view these peaks clearly through out the journey.

Parachik Glacier and Safat Glacier:

Parachik glacier is on one side of the Nun Kun Massif and on the other side Safat glacier. These 2 glaciers melted down the Nun Kun massif to feed Suru river. There is a suspension bridge on the Suru river where you can come closer to the Parachik glacier. The melting water flowing from Safat glacier forms a stream called “Safat Nala” which finally merges into the river.

suru valley
View of NUN-KUN massif from Aeroplane…..PC: Wikipedia

Pensi la Pass:

This pass is also known as Penzi La, which is the border between Suru and Zanskar Valley. From Kargil, drive through the Suru Valley, climb up Pensi La, and then drive down to Zanskar Valley. By traveling on the top of the pass, you will get the magnifiscent view of the Drang Drung glacier which is the 2nd largest glacier after Siachen glacier. Many tourists travel to Ladakh and Zanskar valley to watch the adorable view of the white river that is formed by the melting water of this glacier.

Another least explored blue jewels lying on the top of the pass. To get there, climb up the pass, do a short walk and then you can find two lakes next to each other known as Ta Tso and Lang Tso lakes. Rarely you find any people roaming around these lakes because not many people are aware of these 2 gems.

Rangdum Monastery:

The 18th-century Monastery is situated about 5km from Rangdum village and appears like a small fortress. That’s why it is popularly known as Rangdum Fort or the Fort of Rangdum. The Monastery got its fame from another reason which is, it is believed that this fort was used as a base by Army General Zorawar Singh during the invasion of Ladakh.

Suru River:

The river can’t be ignored while traveling the valley as it is the soul of the valley that accompanies you throughout the journey inside the Suru Valley. If you are travelling in summer and love water adventure, then must try river rafting sports arranged by the Ladakh tourism.

Suru Valley
Rangdum Monastery…. Pc: Source

What To Do In The Valley:

Visit near by villages:

Sankoo village:

This is the main village of the valley where most of the population lives popularly known as the “Gulmarg Of Kashmir”. The green pasturelands and 2 tributaries of the suru river Karste and Nakpochu are major attractions of this place. Another unique place is Man shaped forest. This place is the base for any trekking. The most popular trekking is the Sankoo-Mulbalk trek. A must-visit place to explore. You can stroll around the 16th-century old local market.

Purtikche Village:

This small village is 17km from Sankoo village. Few hamlets are found across the Suru River. The overall ambiance of the place is really beautiful.

Panikhar Village:

About 7km from Purtikche village, Panikhar village has started. This is the base point for Nun-Kun trek.

Parkachik Village:

About 16km from Panikhar village, Parkachik village started where you get to watch the beautiful views of Parachik glacier and Safat glacier.

Rangdum Village:

This is the last village of the valley. The landscape here is different from other villages of the valley. Because it resembles more Zanskar valley than Suru. Barren mountain range with snowy peaks are major attractions. This village is famous for Rangdum Monastery.

suru valley
Views from the valley…Pc: Source

Do Photography:

Apart from sightseeing the valley, it is one of the perfect places for photographers. The mountains and snow are the best couple to be captured with one’s camera. The valley has both the beauties, also lakes, rivers, local people, snowy forest, some barren mountains are adding beauty to the valley. The pollution free clear night skies along with countless stars are like cherries on cakes which provides spectacular scenery for a perfect photograph. One should definitely hop onto the place and capture this mesmerizing view as memory by clicking photos and inspire their near and dear ones to visit this unexplored place.

Enjoy the Local Cuisine:

While travelling the Valley, talk with locals and relish their traditional Ladakhi food which is a fusion of Indo-Tibetan cuisine. Try their authentic Tibetan Momos, Thukpa, Skyu, Chhutagi, Tingmo, Chhurpe( Dried Yak cheese) and many more local food items you can relish the delicasies.

Know their Culture:

In Ladakh, most of the population are Buddhists, but in Suru Valley, most of the population are Muslims. These Muslims are from different nearby countries, that’s why here you got to know a variety of cultural practices by talking to the locals. Here the culture is different from traditional Ladakhi culture.

suru valley
Night Sky view in the Valley…PC: Source

How To Reach The valley:

There are 2 places where you can start your journey to reach the valley. But before reaching the valley first you have to reach Kargil. To reach Kargil, you can travel from either Leh or Srinagar.

By Road:

If you are planning to travel Ladakh in your own vehicle then you can start your journey from Leh or Srinagar. I think the best option is to start from Srinagar because the road will give you breathtaking views of Kashmir and Zozila pass in the middle. From Srinagar, the Valley is about 200km. Leh is also not a bad option but it will take more time about 8hrs as it is 307km away from Leh.

If you want to travel in the public transport system then you can easily get various direct buses from either Leh or Srinagar. In my suggestion take the busses in the morning time because for the long journey, by public vehicles takes more time.

By Air:

1st option is Leh Airport which is 215km from Kargil. After reaching the airport you can travel to the valley by Road through taxi or cab.

2nd option is Srinagar Airport which is about 133kms from Kargil. After reaching Kargil you can book a cab or taxi to reach the valley.

If you like budget-friendly and short time taking travel then take a flight from Srinagar as the flight ticket price is less than the Leh flight ticket.

By Train:

The train is not a good option but you can try. The nearest railway station is Jammu Station. After reaching the station you can take a road journey to Srinagar. Then again from Srinagar travel by road as mentioned above.

Best Time To Visit:

As Ladakh is the highest point in India, so winter is harsh there. The rainy season is also not a good option as landslides and road blockage are common problems there. So the summer season is the best option. Travel between May to September is the best time when you can get to see the maximum beautiful views of the valley.

suru valley
Suru river….. Pc: source

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