Ladakh, being one of the driest terrains in the Indian Himalaya. Markha Valley Trek lies in Ladakh, the land of passes. It is one of the most diverse treks in the Western Himalayas and the barren landscape of Leh, Ladakh and the Buddhist culture makes it look more beautiful.
The popularity of Markha Valley trek in trekkers in Ladakh is enough to tell, why it is one of the most sought trek in this terrain.
Leh (Capital Of Ladkah), the average rainfall is only 110MM per year and heavy rainfall are rare. It is because of Ladakh’s position which is northeast of the Himalaya Range.
Markha Valley trek trails wind past willow groves, patches of wild roses and canyons decorated with multi coloured Tibetan prayer flags rising and falling.
The Markha Valley Trek goes to Hemis National park and involves two crossings- Gandala La (15,748 ft) and Kongmaru La (17.060 ft). Some waist-deep river crossing sections of Markha River to trails going across Buddhist villages, which gives you an opportunity to meet the nomadic families while herd their yaks.
The ubiquitous “Chortens”–Stupas, Monasteries and Tibetan prayer flags signify the regions immersion in Buddhism. During the Markha valley trek you can connect with Tibet and immerse yourself in Tibetan culture.
Markha Valley trek or Tea House Trek. It is because of the accommodation in parachute tents enroute.at most villages.
Apart from trekking in cold desert valley, you will get to know the beauty of Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. In addition to this beauty, you will also stand in the unique list, who praises the beauty of the 21,000 ft Kang Yissay Peak and 20,086 ft Stok kangri Peak.
Markha Valley Trek Details
Terrain – Ladakh, Himalayas
Duration of Trek – 8 Days
Difficulty – Moderate
Best Season to trek – June to August
Base Camp – Spituk
Trekking Distance – 70 km (Approximately)
How to Reach Markha Valley Trek
After get to know, what is in there at Markha Valley Trek, One would definitely comes up with an idea of doing this trek at their own.
But, wait for a moment!
It is true that the beauty and experience here would be absolute awesome. But, have no idea, where to start?
You need not to think or ask friends or trying Goggling the route to reach the trek destination.
Here, in this journey to Markha Valley Trek. I will tell you, each possible route and you can choose the best possible route according to your convenience.
To reach Markha Valley Trek, you first have to reach Leh, A beautiful place itself.
Leh, almost whole of the year would be close for other part of country except May to September.
How to Reach Leh
Flights to Leh is as beautiful as Markha Valley Trek. Flights from Delhi to Leh leaving Delhi in between 4.00 am and 9.00 am. If you are from another city, you first have to reach Delhi one day before the flight.
After Landing, you will realize, why I am saying continuously that Leh itself a beautiful place. The landing runway is having mountains in both sides, which makes your landing in Leh mesmerizing too.
Flights could be as cheap as a road trip, if you booked the tickets early.
Highway calling Highway
If you want to have a lifetime experience, go along the Road.
Start your journey from Delhi or Chandigarh and reach Manali first. From manali, Leh is 2 days away with an overnight stop at Keylong.
We have seen some movies and stories of friends who choose the Road trip to experience the whole new world. Roads can connect heart of different culture.
Now when, you finally reached Leh. It is time to start and explore the beauty of Markha valley trek.
It will take you only 9 days to do the trek. In those 9 days, what you will do and what experience you will have. I will explain it in detail now.
So, are you ready to start trek? Or Are you ready to start trek?
Wonder, why I asked you twice the same thing.
Yes, You will also be excite to know, what you will have in this trek.
Your journey will start from Leh.
Leh to Spituk, Spituk to Zinchen (15km)
Reach Spituk early in the morning as it gets hot in afternoon enroute to Zingchen. Carry enough water as it take several hours to find a source of drinking water there. At Spituk look for the site of the Gelukpa Gompa in Ladakh.
Go through the village and cross the bridge to Indus River. After crossing the bridge look for the guards of Hemis National Park.
Trek from Zingchen to Ganda La Base (5km)
Walk for almost an hour and cross the bridge and reach to forest check post of Hemis National Park. The trail is laid by Forest Officials and goes till Sumdzom.
If you are fortunate, you have a chance to see ladakhi Ural and other wildlife.
Here you need to register yourself for obtaining permits to enter the park by paying Rs. 20 per day per person. After paying, you have to climb through a beautiful gorge before reaching the valley, which leads you to Rumbak village.
Here, you can stay in Parachute tent and have tea, and move towards the camp of Ganda La base.
Ganda La Base to Skiu (Approx. 20km)
Biggest and beautiful day it would be as the pass will cross in the Himalayas, leaving you with its beautiful impression.
After some stretching exercise start your trek from Ganda La (4900m). You may get a chance see Blue sheep, Arghali and Marmots roaming in the hills.The Views of the Zanskar Range and the Himalaya Range are very pleasant.
After taking some rest and lunch and before reaching Skiu. Beautiful Leh Ladakh, with old monastery and castle, gives you picture perfect views.
Skiu to Markha (20 Km)
Markha Valley is in the eastern side from Skiu. After 2km of trek, the trail winds high above the riverbed. 2005 flood has wiped out most of the trails.
You will face a number of tiring 50m ascents and descents before the trail finally reaches a side gorge and campsite about 3km above Skiu.
source : http://bit.ly/1WB5CQB
You will find a Dhaba here, runs by Women Association of ladakh, famous for buckthorn juice and locally made wheat biscuits.
The trail continues through a series of willow and thickets to a bridge that goes over the Markha River. The Trekking along the Markha River, you get stunning views of the valley below.
Cross the river and you will reach Markha (3800m). Markha is one of the largest village in the valley. It has 20 houses, a ruined fort and an old monastery.
Markha to Thochuntse (12 Km)
The day is a moderate one. Markha valley trail continues as it passes through a ruined castle , an old stone-mills, and the Techa monastery.
While trekking the path will intersect the River a number of times before cutting through the last terrain of the valley.
On crossing the village of Umlung, you will have a first look of Mt. Kang Yatse(6400m) and it will stay in your sight until you cross Kongmaru La.
After 2 hours, you will reach an old village, Hankar. A kilometer beyond Hankar the trail splits into two ways.
One going to Thochuntse while other to Zalung karpo La.
Follow the trail which goes along the tributary and takes you to Thochuntse, another 1 km. Pass a bridge, made up of stones and here you will enter a field area which is Thochuntse.
Thochuntse to Nimaling (around 6 km)
An easy trek of 6km, starts from Thochuntse.
After taking breakfast, it’s time to follow a trail which leads you to Nimaling, the people of the Markha Valley bring their herds to graze during the summer months in Nimaling.
Nimaling (4700m), gives you an amazing view of Mt. Kang Yatse to the right, and you can also become the part of the camps here, which are at a height of 4600m.
Nimaling to Shang Sumdo via Kongmaru la Pass(around 17 km)
Highest Altitude pass crossing to the trek makes it a difficult day for you.
Jab Aaye hain to poora to karenge hi….
First look towards Kongmaru la Pass from Nimaling. Cross a stream terrain and then proceed to the north, and climb a long face of a ridge which leads you to Kongmaru la Pass. It will take you 2 hours to hike from Nimaling to Kongmaru La Pass.
Once you reach the top of the pass, the view of Indus Valley and Ladakh Range will make your effort worth. The beautiful views, array of wildflowers on the slope will make your trek unforgettable.
The downhill from the pass to Shang Sumdo is brutal. This terrain have rocks and sleepy ways.
Shang Sumdo to Leh
Now, time to say Goodbye to Markha Valley Trek.
Reaching to Leh from Shang Sumdo via Martselang(2 hour walk along jeep road where Jeep will pick you up), you may also visit some monasteries of ladakh such as Thikse, Shey and Hemis.
Things to carry with you
It is very essential to carry the things which are commonly used in trekking. Trekking is an adventure and you will do it solo or in group.
Although, you will have the things during trek.
But, it would be great, if you have some essential things with you. A list of things, I would recommend you to carry during Markha ValleyTrek are:
- Trekking Backpack
- Water Bottle
- Flash Light (Don’t forget to take extra batteries)
- Warm Jackets
- Hiking Shoes
- First AID kit
- Sun Screen Lotion
- Camera (Indeed)
- Hiking pants/trousers
- Sunglasses (Protection and Swag, Both needed)
Trekking in India is not rare now. You just need to have proper guidance, proper place and proper stuff.
And your trek would become a memorable one.
Make a Plan, pack your bag, go and explore the whole new way to know the nature and beauty of Markha Valley Trek.
Ps: If you have any doubt, you can comment us. I would love to hear your voice. Stay Safe and do trek.