Nubra is a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh
valley. Diskit the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh
town, the capital of Ladakh district, India
. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra (the valley of flowers). The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges. The Shyok river is a tributary of the Indus river. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 ft. i.e. 3048 metres above the sea level. The common way to access this valley is to travel over the Khardung La
pass from Leh town.
Like the rest of the Tibetan Plateau, Nubra is a high altitude cold desert with rare precipitation and scant vegetation except along river beds. The villages are irrigated and fertile, producing wheat, barley, peas, mustard and a variety of fruits and nuts, including blood apples, walnuts, apricots and even a few almond trees. Most of the Nubra Valley is inhabited by Nubra dialect or Nubra Skat speakers. The majority are Buddhists.
In the western or lowest altitude end of Nubra Valley near the Line of Control i.e. the Indo-Pak border, along the Shyok River, the inhabitants are Balti of Gilgit-Baltistan, who speak Balti, and are Shia and Sufia Nurbakhshia Muslims. Siachen Glacier lies to the north of the valley. The Sasser Pass
and the famous Karakoram Pass lie to the northwest of the valley and connect Nubra with Uyghur (Mandarin : Xinjiang). Previously there was much trade passing through the area with western China
's Xinjiang and Central Asia
The 32 metre Maitreya Buddha statue is the landmark of Nubra Valley and is maintained by the Diskit Monastery
. Along the Nubra or Siachan River lie the villages of Sumur, Kyagar (called Tiger by the Indian Army), Tirith, Panamik, Turtuk and many others. Samstanling monastery is between Kyagar and Sumur villages, and Panamik is noted for its hot springs. Across the Nubra or Siachan River at Panamik, is the isolated Ensa Gompa. On the Shyok River, the main village, Diskit, is home to the dramatically positioned Diskit Monastery.
The beautiful village of Baigdandu is also located in this area. There is a marked presence of people with startling blue eyes, auburn hair and rosy cheeks as against the typical mongoloid features of the Ladakhis. Local lore has it that they were a Greek tribe who came in search of Jesus Christ's tomb and eventually settled here. Baigdandu is also known for the goats that give you the famous Pashmina shawls.
Currently the only road access to the Nubra Valley is over Khardung La pass which is open throughout the year. Its status as the highest motorable road in the World
is no longer accepted by most authorities. The Indian Government has completed another road pass over Wari La from Sakti
, to the east of Khardung La, and the road connecting it to central Nubra along the Shyok River is said to be almost completed as of 2008. There are also trekkable passes over the Ladakh Range
from the Indus Valley at various points. The village of Turtuk is a virgin destination for people who seek peace and an interaction with a tribal community of Ladakh. The village is stuffed with apricot trees and children.
The Nubra River is a tributary of the Shyok River, which flows through the Nubra region of Ladakh, into the Indus River to the east of Skardu, Pakistan
. The Siachen Glacier melts into this river.