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Nubra valley


Sham valley




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  About Ladakh > Destinations > Sham valley      

Sham literally means ‘the lower area’ and comprise of regions to the west of Leh. More precisely, it comprises of the area of Indus valley from village Nemo and down along the Indus till it enters Pakistan from Batalik. The whole area is comparatively on a lower altitude and has plenty of greenery with vegetation. The climatic condition changes to an extent that Saspol and further below, there are two crops a year possible, whereas in Leh only single cropping pattern is carried out. Along with the crops, there is plenty of horticulture plantation and even grape vines. Apricot is one of the main fruit, which is exported out from Ladakh. In springtime, flowers bloom and the very air dances in ecstasy. Every time you pass a oasis (village) there is a sweet fragrance all around as if all creation is filled with joy.

Caution: Beyond Khaltse bridge, along the Indus towards Dha, you need ‘Protected area Permit’.

SHAM CIRCUIT: Leh-Dha (160 Km)
The Sham circuit consists of Leh-Khaltse of about 98 km. From Khaltse there is option to either cross the Indus to go to Lamayuru/Wanla or remain on the same side and move to Dha/Bema. Khaltse to Dha, the last point of visit with your permit is about 65km. From Khaltse, you do not cross the bridge (which leads to Lamayuru) instead you travel straight along the right bank of Indus. At the bridge there will be a police control check-post for the ‘inner-line permit’ that you must possess. The entire road is more or less plain and quite easy drive, but the valley starts getting narrower, passing through riverine gorges. You pass through number of small villages: Domkhar, Skyurbuchan, Achinathang on the right bank. Opposite Domkhar on the other side of the river is a small village, Takmachik.

The minor monastery on this route are of Domkhar and Skyurbuchan.The Drokpa community with a unique cultural identity is peculiar only to this pocket of Ladakh. We recoment you to stay a night in one of the Drokpa village to see and interact with the life and culture of the community.

Drokpas: They comprise of a community considered to be pure Aryan, and that once flourished throughout Ladakh. They are also considred the last race of the Aryans confined to this tiny pocket of the world. They are spread in some small pockets of few villages, in the lower areas of Ladakh. Your permit allows to visit only Bema, Hanu and Dha.

The Drokpas are said to be the remnants of Dards, who filtered into Ladakh from west fusing with or replacing the earlier Indo-European stock, often known as Mons. Later invasion by the Tibetan people from the east produced a population with Mongol characteristics. The Drogpas are actually Dards who have not followed the same evolution as the rest of the Dard population. They have remained Buddhist. While the other areas of Kargil have accepted Muslim faith more than 500 years ago. Beside their own peculiar traditions with many pantheons, unlike that of Buddhists, and in having remnants of Bon-chos, a pre-Buddhist religion, prove their fascinating exotic nature. The famous festival called Bono-na held every alternate year involves offering of goat sacrifice called Shringman-Lhamo and recitation of 18 songs of the Bono-na festival.

The Drokpas are also different in their features. They have more prominent nose with sharp features and blue eyes. They also robed differently with white goncha and adorned with jewellery and natural flowers on their caps.

Dah/Bema: Dah (2760m) is the last village allowed to visit with your ‘permit’. There are some guest houses in both these villages. There are almost no hotels, restaurants, or shops or phones. There are few Guest houses and a Government Dak bunglow at Bema.


high asia ladakh tour and travelsWomen in traditional attire from the Aryan valley of Dha Hanu












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