Suru Valley Ladakh

Suru Valley, Ladakh

Located west of the Zanskar valley, and fed by the Suru river, Suru Valley is one of the most beautiful regions of Ladakh. It stretches from Kargil town southwards for about 75 kms, then eastward for nearly 65kms to the foot of the Penzi La watershed, from where the Suru river rises. Most of the villages of Suru Valley are located at a mean elevation of 2,743m. It is surprisingly verdant for its altitude. The beauty of this region is enhanced with the towering Nun (7,135m) and Kun (7,035m) Massif for a backdrop.

Its population of about 40,000 mainly of Tibeto-Dard descent, are predominantly Muslims, their ancestors having converted from Buddhism around the 15th century. Across the valley, one can see treeless plateaus every now and then, once used as polo grounds of the Baltis. Polo is still the favourite sport of the region.

Suru Valley serves as Ladakh’s granary. Lower Suru Valley is extensively cultivated with barley, wheat, millet and bean fields interspersed with willows. The villages of Durchiks and Garkun, inhabited by Drokpa Buddhists, located at a lower altitude, produce grapes, apricots and melons of superior quality.

The valley remains fairly wide and picturesque but starts closing in from downwards from Sanku.
Trespone village, about 25 kms from Kargil is well known for its hilltop Imambara with its quaint blend of Tibetan and Islamic influence. It is also known for its production of the unique Scythian bow made of ibex horns and mulberry wood.

The Suru Valley is rich in wildlife. Red bear, wolves, ibex and mountain goats are found in plenty. Snow leopards are occasionally seen in winter, when they come down from the higher, colder habitats.

Being lower in altitude, the climate here is milder than other parts of Ladakh. Summer here is slightly longer than the rest of Ladakh.  The maximum temperature during summer is 30C. The best months to visit are between July and September.

The nearest airport is Srinagar, about 140 kms from Kargil. From Kargil, hire a jeep to tour the valley.

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