KI - 26 Markha Valley Trek
The Markha Valley Trek is one of the most diverse and fascinating treks in the world. It not only gives complete glimpse of Himalayas magnanimity, but also gives the trekkers the pleasure of trekking high into the Himalayas along with the adrenalin rush of crossing two passes at over 15,000 feet height. From there the trek circumvents slowly along the edges of the Indus Valley, gradually hurtling down the terrain that changes its texture from incredibly narrow valleys to really wide and open expanses giving the trekker complete feel of what Himalayas are and how trekking in this area can be.
What makes this trek all the more fascinating is the presence of monasteries inbetween that brings live spirituality and makes this trek a heady mixture of being with the God, especially when one catches the glimpse of monasteries dotting the landscape perched high atop hills. As one treks to the upper end of the Markha Valley, the hard work of having travelled so far is rewarded with the spectacular view of snow-capped peaks that emerge just before crossing the 5150m Kongmaru La Pas, prior to descending to the famous Hemis Monastery, where the trek ends.
Day 01 :
Arrive Leh (3505 m). Our Representative will then escort you to your pre-booked hotel situated in the central part of the city. The day will be spent in complete rest to acclimatize you in this high altitude region. In the evening you will take a light stroll to the market. O/N in hotel.
Day 02 :
Free at leisure.
Day 03 :
Today we visit the ancient monasteries of Shey, with its enormous statue of the Buddha and Thikse Monastery, known as one of the most important Gompas known in Central Ladakh. The monastery has some beautiful paintings and gilded statues of the Buddha. In the afternoon we drive down to the most wealth and famous monastery known locally as Hemis. Built in the 17th century, the monastery is tucked away in a secluded grove of poplars and is known for its interesting architecture and wall studded murals. We return back to the hotel in the evening. O/N in hotel.
Day 04 :
Free at leisure.
Day 05 :
Drive Leh to Stok and trek to Kilchay: (4/5 hrs). A 30-minute drive gets you to the roadhead at Stok, where you begin the trek. The trail passes through the higher section of the village, keeping to the true left bank of the Stok Nala, heading steadily towards the apex of the flood plain of the Stok valley. Here the trail enters the gorge of the Stok Nala, climbs past the ruins of Styang La Khar fort with an extensive willow grove at its base and then turns to the right along a subsidiary valley, climbing a little more steeply to enter a cirque which shelters the summer shepherd settlement of Kilchay. Camp is set here for the night.
Day 06 :
Khilchay to Yurutse: (6 hrs) – 4140 m. The initial climb to Stok La (15,998 ft/4,848 m) is steep and from the top the trail does not drop but instead winds through a complicated knot of ridges, keeping near the crest. The descent into the Rumbak valley is steep and dusty but can be exhilarating for anyone who wishes to indulge in downhill scree running. The trail, keeping to the true right bank of the Rumbak Nala, passes through the village of Rumbak and then crossing to the true left bank, climbs up the valley of a subsidiary stream to the tiny settlement of Yurutse. Camp is set a little beyond at the foot of the Kundu La. O/N in Camp.
Day 07 :
Yurutse to Skiu: (7 hrs) – 3500 m. The climb to the Kundu La (16,097 ft/4,878 m) is not as steep as that of the previous day's to Stok La, but it is longer. From the pass, a spectacular panorama of white fringed mountains, merging into the distant ranges of the Karakoram, is revealed. The trail descends steadily to the head of the Skiu valley where a number of rivulets join to form a small stream. The broad grassy shoulders of the upper valley narrow sharply to the pinched waist at Sumdo with its few houses and fields at the junction of a small stream with the Skiu Nala. From here the river swoops exuberantly down a tight, narrow gorge choked with willow and wild rose with the trail leaping from bank to bank all the way to the village of Skiu on the banks of the lower Markha and the campsite. Since Skiu is only at about 9,900 ft (3,000 m) and the Markha valley is quite narrow, the temperature is higher here. At dusk just as the evening shadows begin to envelop the valley it is worth walking back along the trail where the Skiu Nala meets the Markha, to visit a small monastery cared for by an old nun who comes every morning and evening the light the butter lamps at the altar of Chamba - the Future Buddha. Overnight in camp.
Day 08 :
Skiu to Markha (6 hrs). Follow a good path on the right bank of Markha where one can find great vegetation. Then cross right bank of river and cross through barren plain and arrive at Chaluk. Thereafter walk along the left bank of river and after another crossing climb towards Markha village. Good camp site beyond the village and near river. O/N in Camp.
Day 09 :
Markha to Hankar (7 hrs). Start trek towards the main valley on the right bank. The path is sometimes difficult in the river bed and pass the monastery of Humlung. Then carry on trek along the right bank and arrive in Hankar where there are several houses. O/N in Camp.
Day 10 :
Hankar to Nimaling. The path improves and cross a broad valley on the right side. The valley becomes narrow and higher and cross bridges on to the left bank and then reaches Tchatchuste. We climb pastures to reach Nimaling. This is one of most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh dominated by the Kang Yaze. O/N in Camp.
Day 11 :
Nimaling to Shang Sumdo (06/08 hrs). Cross the Markha valley and follow long climb along the mountain side, then zig zag road leads towards Kongmarula. Follow steep descent into gorges and then keep walking on the left bank to Chukirmo. Thereafter crossing right and left bank and arrive Shang, a beautiful camp in groves and there is a monastery an hour away from the village. O/N in Camp.
Day 12 :
Shang Sumdo to Hemis and drive to Leh (03/04 hrs). Hemis is the most important monastery of Ladakh, 360 years old. The gigantic Tankha, one of the largest in the world, is displayed once in 12 years. Last was in 1992. O/N in Hotel.
Day 13 :