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Suru valley, Jammu & Kashmir



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The Suru, a little known but large river from which the valley takes it's name, flows south to north, one of the peculiarities of the left bank tributaries of the Indus. Fed by the glaciers on the north side of the Great Himalaya range, the Suru is a big river by the time it exits the valley near Kargil, the largest town in the region.

As you move up the valley from Kargil, you could be forgiven for forgetting that you are in the trans-Himalayas. Astonishingly verdant for it's altitude, in summer the valley abounds in wildflowers. The lower Suru is a wide valley, extensively cultivated, the barley fields interspersed with plantations of willow, with the blue-grey Suru itself, rushing through.

Suru valley is Dardic country. The Dards of the Suru valley are Muslims, though Shia as opposed to the majority Sunni's in the west. Consequently they draw religous inspiration from Iran and the walls of the village mosques are plastered with posters of the Ayatollahs of Iran. Religous and extremely peace loving, the inhabitants of Suru are a beautiful people, in a beautiful landscape.

Nevertheless, the lower Suru valley is like a long, magical garden with hostile looking mountains towering on all sides. Suru is a crossroads between the Muslim and Buddhist regions of the Himalayas and represents the easternmost extension of Islam in the Himalaya. Great peaks like Nun and Kun become visible and at every bend you become aware of the looming presence of the Great Himalaya itself. After the great bend at Nanga Parbat, Nun and Kun are the first peaks above 20,000 feet. Nun at 23,410 feet and Kun at 23,250. This is great trekking and climbing country, the route from Dras across the Umba la being a popular one. The climb to Nun base camp starts at Tangol.

At Tangol the landscape changes dramatically, the valley narrowing down and the great peaks crowding in..the river flowing in a deep gorge, almost like a crack at points....till Parkachik, where the valley widens again.

Beyond Parkachik is glacier country with the valleys having been gouged out by long extinct glaciers.....  Not all are extinct though. With ice walls stretching hundreds of feet, the Rangri glacier debouches straight from Nun into the Suru river itself. In one of the most amazing sights in the Himalayas, if you are lucky enough to witness it, large chunks of the glacier crash straight into the river... Great slabs of ice periodically peel off the glacier's 300 foot high front wall, to go crashing into the river flowing below.

From Parkachik to Ringdom is a long, long drive, over extremely rough country, and through some truly spectacular landscapes. A gateway to Zanskar, and an indication of the start of Buddhist regions, is the Ringdum gompa, overlooked by a fantastically striated, pyramidal mountain, it's sedimentary layers clearly visible.





 

 
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Jammu and Kashmir The Paradise on Earth
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Capital - Srinagar
Ideal time to Visit - March - October
Road trip summary J&K
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Travelogues to J&K
Planning a visit to J&K read through travelogues to plan your trip
This period covers three seasons in Kashmir i.e., spring (March-early May), summers (early May-late August) and autumn (September-November).

The blossoms of spring, the cool weather of summer and the gold and red hues of autumn all provide the peak season for Kashmir travel. From December to early March is the winter season for Kashmir, when the entire valley wears a white blanket of snow.
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