Suru valley – a lost world

By simplyhuman on 2013.09.10 In himalaya photography

Vallée de la Suru

Vallée de la SuruThere is always a kind of a hurry while travelling in mythic places such as Ladakh and Zanskar in the Indian Himalayas. The cultural heritage of the monasteries of Lama Yuru or the monatery routes around Leh will keep the focus of the visitors. Hikers will pack as soon as possible and head to the pathes and peaks, expecting great landscapes and breathtaking views.


However, on the road from Leh (Ladakh) to Padum (Zanskar) following the Indus River and then crossing high passes, a discreet 110 Milles valley is worth a stop.

The Suru valley ends in Kargil, a not so pretty city a few Milles from the Pakistani border.  Kargil will be the last serious market place if going in the Suru valley. The market is really crowdy and anything from Ayatollah Khomeiny Green Books to fancy dresses, cattle, tea from the british Raj era, … can be purchased.

The atmosphere is heavy and  having bought vegetables, tea, fuel and tsampa flour for the next few weeks, one will be happy to leave and start the journey.

The valley is wide and green at the outskirt of Kargil with many rich villages, public schools, kids playing on the road. Going higher in the valley (up to 15000 feet ASL) it gets Vallée de la Surunarrower, steepy, with very small fields and wild streams coming down from the ridges. The agriculture is an agriculture of survival.

Between the buddhist Zanskar and the mostly sunni Kashmir, the Suru is shiite area, under the influence of Iran. What is the most surprising fact is that during summer, there is no men in the valley. Having left abroad or to southern India to work, the men have left the valley in the hands of women.

Some young boys – dressed the occidental way – play cricket on the road as the girls are in the mountain keeping the cattle.

The higher in the valley, the poorer get the villages: the high altitude and the steepy sides of the mountains doesn’t allow a high productivity. In some places, You’ll need to walk miles before finding a place to settle a single tent as every flat area is used for farming.

Vallée de la SuruAt the start of the valley awaits Nun-Kun, a 25000 feet glacier. In the last ten years, the glasier has melt down of nearly a third, leaving a dirty snow grey hole. This reminds us that every gesture will have an impact on this far glacier.Vallée de la SuruVallée de la Suru

1 Responses to "Suru valley – a lost world"

    Comments (1)

  1. Very sharp wonderfull pictures. Thanks for this short spiritual ‘virtual’ journey.

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simply human

My name is François Struzik and I work as a professional photographer.

I use to focus on serious and sometimes not very funny issues.

I travel most of the time for work and sometimes just for the pleasure to discover other places. And then I love to bring my family.

We visit very often Great-Britain but we stay a lot in Sweden too. In other words, we love to be outdoor!