Sacred Yarab Tso Lake at Panamik – Nubra Valley | Ladakh – 2012

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The Journey so far…

Day 6 | Khalsar – Sumur – Panamik – Yarab Tso – Deskit – Hunder

It was an action packed first of the day so far, weather was partially cloudy throughout the day but as we entered Nubra Valley it started to further darken… another piss-off for capturing the beautiful Nubra Valley this time. No worries, but our eyes were watching some breath-taking views as we continued from Agham Village towards Khalsar Village of Nubra Valley. Our prime plan was to visit Yarab Tso Lake at Panamik and then head back to Hunder for a night stay at Snow Leopard Guest House. We continued our journey towards Khalsar village with some mind blowing vistas passing by and stopped at a small dhabha for lunch. A lot of tourist stop at this village for lunch mostly either while coming back from Nubra Valley or coming from Leh. We spent about 30-35 minutes or so and started back. I really was not feeling good taste, so skipped to have something to eat and decided to take something in dinner only.

Finally a beautiful road… Nubra Valley…
Finally a beautiful road in Nubra Valley
Enjoying Over a Bridge near Agham Village…
Dheeraj Sharma enjoying over a Bridge near Agham Village
Lovely Shyok River and High Hills
Lovely Shyok River and High Hills

We moved towards Sumur – Panamik stretch to see the unknown small but a sacred lake – Yarab Tso. The vistas were ruined by dark clouds so could not capture much as there was slight drizzle that started. Nothing much happened but a plain drive all the way up to Panamik via Sumur and as Tejas had enough of monasteries we were not very keen on seeing Sumur Monastery and also decided to skip the hot Springs at Panamik after being at Chumathang hot spring. I think the doze of whole adventure was already complete for the day after Shyok Village route 😉 … Soon amidst dark clods we managed to reach entrance of Panamik as the roads were quite smooth which accelerated our progress. Just before you enter Panamik Village, where the traditional gate built of flag as seen before start of almost all villages in Ladakh, there goes a dirt track/very rough towards left which takes you a place right at the foot of a small hill. The hike to Yarab Tso from that point is hardly 15-20 minutes while from Panamik side, the hike is a bit tough and longer. Thanks to Rigzin who knew it and perhaps thanks to him as we were also not too keen to visit this circuit but he told to show us something unseen 😀 …

Lovely Teger Village in Nubra Valley…
Lovely Teger Village in Nubra Valley
Somehwere near Sumur Village in Nubra Valley…
Somehwere near Sumur Village in Nubra Valley
Dark Clouds all Over Nubra Valley…
Dark Clouds all Over Nubra Valley

As we parked our car there, it looked awesome with such magnificent vistas around it. We started the easy hike and were there at the lake within 15-20 minutes and after spending some nice times around that lake we came back. The whole stoppage did not take more than 60-70 minutes in between the slight drizzle. We started back the the journey for the night halt at Hunder and the vistas kept changing on the other side of the hill. When you come near the Khalsar from Panamik side, there comes a T-Section from where you take right towards Deskit – Hunder – Turtuk villages of Nubra Valley, if you continue on this road then you exit towards Khardung La. We had to take right and reach Hunder. Meanwhile, Rigzin got a call as we were approaching that road, that an army truck has hit the taxi of the other group who was with Rigzin’s brother (I knew the one leading that group of 10, Deepak as he exchanged few comments on the blog). We quickly reached the point where the fight was going on with army guys and got into the action after seeing a big dent into Xylo rear window frame, especially Rigzin. Once they all decided to go to local Police, the army guy who was driving the backed out saying HE WAS DRUNK 😯 … Thankfully that car was on the other side of the gorge and to surprise stopped, just imagine if it had been on the other side. It was shocking to see such irresponsibility by army guys and later we felt it was routine for them. The Rigzin and his brother along with his friend asked 7K but managed to get 5K from those army guys in two trucks later after they went with them. The whole drama took about an hour but we kept enjoying the vistas as light and shadows played together.

Leading all the way to Sacred Yarab Tso…
Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
First View… Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
Don’t Swim… Sacred Yarab Tso Lake…
Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley

Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley

Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley

Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
Our Car Parked near Yarab Tso Lake…
Sacred Yarab Tso Lake near Panamik in Nubra Valley
A Gateway to Heaven — Nubra Valley???
A Gate of Prayer Flags in Nubra Valley
Beautiful Nubra Valley…
Beautiful Nubra Valley
A Stupa in Nubra Valley…
A Stupa in Nubra Valley
Lovely Teger Village in Nubra Valley… On the way back…
Lovely Teger Village in Nubra Valley

Finally, Rigzin decided to move with us to Hunder as those guys went back with the army guys to get the money. We inquired a room at Snow Leopard Guest House at Hunder and decided to take it as it appeared very nice and it was newly built in the new block of the guest house. Family looked quite friendly and nice to us and we settled the deal for Rs 800 with extra bedding with dinner costing Rs 200 per person and Breakfast costing Rs 100 per person. We relaxed for a while as it rained outside and also was quite cold too, had a walk in the village before the light went off for the day. When we returned dinner was served in buffet and it was not even up to the average mark!! Worst food I had on the entire trip so far but room was quite comfortable… I chatted with Deepak (from the other group) and after walking in the lawn for sometime, decided to go to sleep imagining myself in the ocean of snow the next day…

Beautiful Nubra Valley… Leading to Deskit – Hunder…
Beautiful Nubra Valley... A Road Leading to Deskit - Hunder
The Fight Point… Leading to Deskit – Hunder…
Beautiful Nubra Valley... A Road Leading to Deskit - Hunder
As Dark Clouds Surround Nubra Valley…
As Dark Clouds Surround Nubra Valley
Light and Shadows Play in Nubra Valley…
Light and Shadows Play in Nubra Valley
Sand Dunes of Hunder Village…
Sand Dunes of Hunder Village
Sand Dunes of Hunder Village…
Sand Dunes of Hunder Village
A Trail in Hunder Village…
A Trail in Hunder Village

The Journey ahead…

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

39 Comments

  1. Girija Sankar on

    Hi Dheeraj
    Gone through your entire Ladakh experience. And Shyok Village Route experience was really exiting.
    Couple of quick question,
    1. How feasible is it to do it in bike?
    2. Is their any accommodation option available in Khalsar or Agham or near by areas in Wari La route. If no them I have to consider Sumur or Diskit 🙁
    Regards
    Giri

    • Hello Giri,

      1. It is only advisable in case you have a backup plan to exit. There shall be at least few vehicles with you so that in case of any help of mechanical failure you may not get stuck. There will not be much help available in miles in case required.
      2. No, there isn’t any stay option available once you move towards Wari La from Agham and next stay is Serthi/Sakti village only.
      You have to stay at either Deskit or Tigerr villages

      • Thanks Dheeraj

        One more quick question,
        I was going through one of your post and in the comment section it was written “Bikes from other states are not allowed for Leh sightseeing”. Is it correct???

        Regards
        giri

        • No Giri that is not true. It is true for rented bikes from other states. In case the bike is under your name or your father name or relative which you can prove relation, it is totally fine to take bike and ride there.

        • Thanks Dheeraj…
          That’s a big relief. I have been to Ladakh in 2012 and yet again planning for 2016. It will be a 23 days long covering Zanskar, Nubra, Pangong Tso, Hanle and Spiti Valley.
          So in future I will keep bothering you with my questions 🙂

          Is there anywhere I can register myself in your website?

          Regards
          giri

        • Hi Giri,

          Regarding being member or joining DoW, there is no specific criteria we define except: If you are aligned with DoW Vision and DoW Causes and of course you like the spirit of Adventure plus love Himalayas and travel up there, you can be an active member of the DoW community and participate at the link http://devilonwheels.com/india/ … It can be accessed over mobile app of all platforms too, on the move or while traveling, details of which you can see in the announcement section of the community in above link.

          We share all the information about Himalayan Travel, share each other experiences, help each other build travel plans for Himalayas up there only. We publish all meets including Delhi Meets for Travel Chats on Himalayas as well as Himalayan Mega Meet for DoW Causes that happens once a year, in the community only. All active members are present in community, share experiences, guide others and reviews hotels/eating joints of Himalayas so that we can build up more knowledge together by sharing with each other and helping each other out for travel to Himalayas.

          Please register there and start participating. Join us over Delhi Mini Meets if you around here, check events section. Once a year we call a mega meet where we all travel to Himalayas together in a large group and execute various DoW Causes to spread smiles up there in Himalayas.

          More closely & actively you participate in the DoW Community, more it will make you feel to be part of DoW Community 🙂

          In order to need help in posting topics to DoW Community, you can read the step by step guide: http://devilonwheels.com/india/himalayan-travel-tales/how-write-travel-tale-t3.html

          Regards
          Dheeraj

  2. yarab tso,small but sacred lake, i wonder if this lake stays pristine and away from mass tourism. Domestic tourists should be encouraged & educated about responsible tourism.

  3. Great pics and great blog:) Just a thought, the bridge photo should not be posted in public for security reasons. If you noticed there was a board at the bridge, to not take a photograph. Its a border region and such locations are very strategic for a nations security. Thank you. Nimita:)

  4. padmapriya on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Thanks for sharing the details on Leh Ladakh, it has being a great help to me. I have the following itinerary in mind, let me know if this sounds doable.
    Day 1. Bangalore – Chandigarh – Manali(overnight bus)
    Day 2. Stay in Manali
    Day 3. Manali – Keylong/Jispa
    Day 4. Keylong/Jispa – Leh
    Day 5. Leh, any local sightseeing
    Day 6. Leh – Nubra valley
    Day 7. Nubra – Pangong (Can this be done in one day?)
    Day 8. Pangong – Hanle
    Day 9. Hanle – Tso Moriri
    Day 10. Tso Moriri – Leh
    Day 11. Sham Valley.
    Day 12. Leh – Bangalore flight.

    Is this too hectic? or manageable?

    • This is too much rushed up. Do it like:

      Day 6. Leh – Nubra valley
      Day 7. Nubra – Leh
      Day 8. Leh – Pangong Tso
      Day 9. Pangong Tso – Leh (cover hemis, thicksey, shey on the route in these two days)
      Day 10. Leh – Tso Moriri
      Day 11. Tso Moriri – Leh
      Day 12. Leh – Bangalore flight.

      If you want to include Sham Valley then do day trip to Pangong Tso on Day 8 and do Sham Valley on Day 11

  5. Dear Dheeraj,

    Hope you are doing well.First of all thanks a lot for all your help extended. Though I have written to you earlier but I could not find my reply so writing back again
    We have prepared following itinerary as per your suggestion
    Day 1: Reach leh by flight from jammu
    2:Rest & local sight seeing
    Day 3: Leh to Nubra (Diskit/Hunder?)
    Day 4- Nubra to leh
    Day 5- Leh to pangong tso- tent night stay
    Day 6- pangong to leh back
    Day 7- leh to tso moriri- tent night stay
    Day 8- tsomoriri-tso kar- tent night stay
    Day 9- tso kar- leh
    Day 10- leave for jammu for vaishnodevi trip

    Any suggestions on this?
    1. Also, I was worried about AMS, though We will take care and also follow your advises. But, is it necessary to carry an oxygen bottle in all through our journeys in ladakh?

    2. We have hired Xylo, is it good for travel in ladakh? Also, we are 3 people and that person has charged us 20,000 per pax, inclusive of breakfast & dinner + hotel stay at leh & diskit and tent stays at pangong, tso moriri & tso kar + all taxi transfers for all 9 days + permissions if any. Does this sound ok?

    3. I have seen the weather forecast from may 28 to june 9th and its shows ‘showering and cloudy’, we are traveling on the same days and it made me worried as we have tent stays also. what should we do if in case it rains? Are rains heavy in ladakh?

    I am sorry to shoot so many questions but I know that you are the right person for this. 😉

    Thanks a lot,
    Pooja

  6. Laxmichand on

    Dheeraj,
    I can’t quantify how greatful d whole group is to U for this extremely helpful guidance & information.
    I thank YOU once again

  7. Laxmichand on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    1 more qn pl; Can v start from Sissu, finish Chandratal lake & reach Manali by same evening ? advisable ?

    • Not possible to reach in Day light. However late night if you body allows to be on arduous journey for 2 times in single day then may be yes. Advisable = NOT AT ALL 🙂

  8. Laxmichand on

    GM Dheeraj ,
    more qns
    1 Tso Moriri to Sarchu, dist is apx 220kms, Sarchu to Sissu is 135 km, & Sarchu to Battal is + 67 i.e. 202 km. & addup from Battal to Chandratal 10km + 2-3 km trek.In all 215 kms apx. Is it bcs of road condition Gramphoo onwards d reason u r asking to stay at Sissu ? As ppl r travelling from Sarchu to Manali which is apx + 98 km from Sissu. i.e. total apx 235 kms from Sarchu. Or there is other reason ? like it will b dark wn v reach Chandratal etc…?

    • Yes, road conditions are the prime reason I am asking you to halt at Sissu. We started from Sissu at 7.30 AM in the morning and reached Chandratal about 1-1.30 PM only.

  9. Laxmichand on

    Thanks a million Dheeraj.
    Ur guidance is extremely helpful.
    R there any decent accomodations available at Agham or Thangyar village ? Even Homestays ? same qn for Man or Merak ?

    • I really doubt on it but you can check. I will advice not to count on it though and better target Sakti which do have some home stays. Man – Merak will have few home stays. But, you can get them at Spangmik too with better facilities.

  10. Laxmichand on

    A few more qns Dheeraj,
    V have planned : from Sxr – Leh -Manali by Rd. V want to do river rafting [RR] on d way to leh.V hv planned Saspul – Khaltsey for RR. V r starting at 6 am from Sxr, can v reach Mulbekh by evening , halting for 1 hr at Sonmarg, Having Lunch & s/s at Drass [90 mnts holt] ?. 2] Next day starting at 7 am from mulbekh, can v finish Lamayuru & go to Saspul, have lunch there & go for RR – Saspul to khaltsey, from khaltsey [go/dont to Uletopco], & then to Alchi for nt stay ? 3] start at wt time from Alchi finishing Likir, I-Z confluence, Magnetic hill, Gurudwara PS & reach Leh at around 2 pm. 4] At wt time should v start from Tso Moriri, having a 15 mnts stop at Tso kar, 45 mnts for Lunch [ pure veg – where ?],15 mnts break for tea & reach Sarchu in time [safely]? 5]At wt time should v start from Sarchu to reach Chandratal lake with similar breaks at Surajtal [15 mnts],Lunch break 45 mnts , 15 mnts tea break?

    • Laxmichand, yes, you can reach Mulbekh by evening if you start early morning from Srinagar. Second day is also possible but River Rafting with un-acclimatized bodies will be a call for AMS, IMHO. But, considering timeline of Day 2, it also feels doable though not suggested. You can start from Alchi at 7 AM. You can start at 7 AM from Tso Moriri. You cannot reach Chandratal directly from Sarchu. You need to break the journey at Sissu and then next day make a trip to Chandratal from Sissu.

  11. Laxmichand on

    Thanks a lot Dheeraj,
    I went through wt u suggested.I have a few more qns,1] v r 18 ppl in 3 four wheelers planning to reach pangong Tso from Diskit via Warila pass. wt is ur advice ? How long [apx] it will take to reach by Xylo. Is there any possibility of a stay at thangyar as I read somewhere Thangyar has good Hotel & descent stay. If yes apx cost ?

    • I don’t think Tangyar has hotels, it must be home stays. Also, Diskit to Wari La can be taken but keep in mind that it is a desolate route but since you have a group and other vehicles as well. So, not much of a worry. Just ask locals if it is open or not during your day of visit.

  12. Laxmichand on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    I wanted to know about the bridge at Agham village, is that d shortest way connecting Nubra to Pangong lake, the eastern most road via Shyok village ? is it open in August ? Is it on the eastern side of the road on which Warila – pass is there ?

    • Regarding Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso route, in order to take Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Shyok village, you need not have any permits. However, with such a small distance it appears tempting to be done BUT just to analyze the difficulty I will strongly suggest that you read:Trip Report | Nubra – Shyok Village – Pangong Tso Route. The report is from last June & in July/August, most likely the route will be washed away. So better confirm first, analyze the high risk involved and then only attempt it or better avoid it unless very much sure. Next possible way is to attempt Wari La route, which is also a bit desolated but doable enough. Remember that any help required on both these routes will be HARD to find in distance.

  13. A spiritual experience.
    Now a days, it has become a social status to go to Kailash Manasarovar and Mrutyunath and other such high altitude . I feel, as many people have access to these places, by helicopters and what not, people are spoiling the sacred , pristine spaces.

    Whereas, these areas, which I see here, seem to be remote, out of general public’s reach, thus exclusive. Hope the places remain so.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Pattu,

      Seriously, very few people know about this lake but it is sacred and special for the local people and this is the precise reason that it is still not polluted and intact to original beauty. In time to come, you will see more of its pictures over the net and more people visiting the place. I hope they keep it as is. But, unless we take some responsibility, nothing can be done to respect and preserve such bodies mother nature.

      Regards,
      Dheeraj

  14. Hi Dheeraj, how r u.I am ready to go on 6th of sept. Do you have any idea about the weather at that time.Is this a good time for photography, as i stay there till 17th.

    • Hi Himadri,

      I am doing good and I hope for the same for you too!! Thanks.

      Weather should be fine at the end of your trip as we are experiencing delayed monsoons this year as well. So, may be at later stage of your trip rains/dark clouds might reside the region.

      Regards,
      Dheeraj Sharma

  15. Sir u got clouds everywhere. Do u think now it’s good to go in the month of April for photography? No blue color of sky?

    • No Swapnil, it is not good time to visit. Learn from my mistake 😀 … For photography, September mid onward is the best time to visit Leh – Ladakh.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  16. When we go to these serene places, we know how difficult it is to build or maintain basic facilities like roads, bridges, restrooms etc. Even to get food articles. Kudos to people living there and kudos to who are helping bridge this gap. 🙂

    • Yes Nisha, it is really tough up there just for survival. Almost 6 months an year they prepare themselves for the survival in next 6 months of winters. May be witnessing their spirit along with mother nature has given me enough confidence and another direction in life and most probably that is why I am so fond and in love with this place 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  17. What gorgeous captures! That bridge captivated me the most!! Beautiful scenes, nature at its very best!

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