Markha Valley Trek
A Glimpses’ of Markha Valley
Markha Valley breathing a beauty of its own adorned with small hamlet across the Markha river lies between Zanskar and Ladakh range. It is one of the most accessible and popular region of Ladakh among the nature lovers. The valley is named after the village Markha which is the biggest village in the entire valley.You can start your odyssey with Markha Valley either from Spituk or Stok village which are located at a drive of half hour from Leh. The trekking route traverses through breathtaking view of high mountain passes like Stokla, Gandala, and Kongamarula. The trail takes you across lush green villages, small oasis, river crossing and nomad houses surrounding with Yaks, horses and other domestic animals.
The cool breeze, rustling prayer flags and mellow sound of prayers enrich your holistic and spiritual experience. People are very friendly, greeting you saying Juley and welcoming your presence with a big smile reflect the hospitality of Ladakhi people. While trekking, you will come across villages namely- Shingo,Skyu, Markha, Hanker, Chakdo, Shang Sumdo. The rich history of Markha is also reflected by the remnants of important castle and meditation haven which are centuries old. The view and location of such places are awesome. Markha valley is a heaven for the every trekker and nature lover as it comprises of the all the adventure that refresh and rejuvenate life out of its boredom; leaving us with so much insight and knowledge which remain valuable throughout our life.
Day to Day Program
Markha Valley 7 days
1st Day: Jingchen to Gandala Base Camp (4,380 m),
You will drive from Leh to jingchen village 3,380 early in the morning. Your staff comprising of horse man,cook and helper would be waiting for you here. The trekking start from here and it is walk of 6 hrs. It is your first day and you don’t have to push yourself hard. So, we start slowly. After criss-crossing the river that you are following you reach Rumbak village (3,800 m). From here, you have to ascend gradually until you reach the camp site Gandala base camp (4120 m). You can take enjoy ur time at the camp site enjoying the view of Stokla.
2nd Day: Ganda La base camp (4120m) to Skyu (3400m) via Ganda la (4900m).
You trek along the mountain side ascending up to the Ganda la (4900m). From the top of the pass, you can enjoy the stunning view of Zanskar range, Stok Mountains and the trekking route passing through Shingo village is visible. You can click photograph of rustling prayers flag in wind on the top of pass. Onward, here it is an easy but a long descent following a gorge to the Markha Valley. You can also come across some marmots if you are lucky. You will reach Skyu village as the gorge ends and there is Markha valley welcoming you. In the village, there is small monastery. It is a walk of 6hrs.
3rd day: Skyu (3400m) to Markha (3700m).
Day start with an easy walk following the right bank from Skyu . It is all green with plants of sea buckthorn; a very important medicinal plant visible in plenty. After crossing the river, you reach Chaluk and Tunespa Village. The landscape along the trail is wonderful mesmerizing you each and every time and finally you reach Markha. It is after this village that the valley has been named Markha Valley. It is walk of 8hrs.
4th Day: Markha (3700m) to Tatsungte (4150m)
Today, you have several river crossings until you reach village Umlung. The monastery of the Umlung village is always closed as monks are busy in their work visiting the villages across the Markha Valley to perform prayers. It is a nice and easy walk to the next village Hanker with snow clad Kang Yaste(6400m) in the background standing majestically. The Castle of Hanker village is situated on a hill top but the condition of castle is dilapidated. You camp at Tastungte( 4150m). It is a walk of 5 hrs.
5th Day: Tastungte(4150m) to Nimaling(4720m)
Today, starts with an ascent until you reach a small lake. While ascending, you can enjoy wonderful view of Markha Valley and Kang Yaste. You camp at Nimaling. It is a very famous place for animal grazing in Markha Valley and few villagers settle down here in summer to graze pashmina goat and yak. Kang Yaste is situated just at the background of Nimaling. The expedition of Kang Yaste also starts from Nimaling. It is very cold here and the weather keeps changing very oftenly due ot high altitude and its topographical location. There is a very famous proverb after this place in Markha valley depicting the nature of its weather. It is like Nimaling, Chharling , Khaling which means within second it is sunny, cloudy and snowy.It is a walk of 3hrs.
6th Day:Nimaling (4720m) to Shang Sumdo(3360m) via Kongmaru la(5100m)
It is walk of 7 hrs.It is long climb along the mountain to the highest pass of the trek. A zig-zag trail leads you up to the Kongmaru la(5100m). From the top of pass, you can have a splendid view of Zanskar range and Ladakh range.After crossing the pass,it is along descent to chuskurmo. Finally, you reach the lovely village Shang sumdo(3660m)
7th Day: Shang Sumdo (3660m) to Hemis(3500)
You have to cross several times the river until you reach the village Hemis3500m .You often walk along the riverbed. The monastery of Hemis is one of the famous and most-visited monasteries in Ladakh. From Hemis, you drive back to Leh. The taxi will come to pick you here. The trek ends in Hemis.
How is a usual day of Trekking?
Early in the morning you are served bed tea in the tent with morning wishes by our staff. After bed tea, you start packing your things. Breakfast is served in the dining tent. After breakfast, you are ready for the day. Guide walks with you but before living don’t forget to check your bag that contain all the important things you need during the day like Camera, sun cream, water bottle, lunch box etc. You will carry a light backpack containing all these important things required during the day and the other things will come of the horse back. At noon, you stop for lunch at a nice location and have some rest. Trek continues and the horseman and kitchen staff will lead you on the way. Before your arrival at the camp, our team would have put your tent and would be waiting for you with tea, juice and light snacks. After the arrival at campsite, you can enjoy your leisure in your own way. The dinner is served around 7 in the evening. After the dinner, the guide briefs you about the next day and give you timing for the next morning.
The food menu in breakfast, lunch and dinner keep changing ranging from Indian, Tibetan Chinese, Ladakhi, Continental, and Italian.
Important Things You must know before the starts of the Trek
- You must be well acclimatized before the start of the trek. As starting trek, without taking precaution leads to untoward incident.
- You must bring warm clothes, good trekking shoes, Slipper for river crossing, Walking stick.
- Sun cream is very important to protect your skin.
- Sun glasses
- Water bottle and water filter.