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Suru Valley Tour
 
The Suru Valley is formed by the catchments are of the Suru River, which rises from the Panzella glacier. On its way to the confluence with the Indus River at Nurla it is joined by numerous tributaries, including the Dras River which flows into the Suru River at Kharul.

Suru Valley forms the mainstay of Kargil district. Lying nestled along the north-eastern foothills of the great Himalayan Wall, it extends from Kargil town, first southward for a length of about 75 Kms Upto the expanse around Panikhar, thence eastward for another stretch of nearly 65 kms upto the foot of the Penzila watershed where the Suru valley rises. Its composite population of about 30,000 -- mainly of Tibeti-Darad descent -- are Muslims who had converted their Buddhist faith around the middle of the 16th century. The upper valley reaches of the valley, particularly around the Sankoo bowl, the Panikhar expense and the higher stretch beyond, present a spectacle of breathtaking features-majestic mountain ramparts crowned by snow capped peaks, undulating alpine slopes draining into wild mountain streams of foaming cascades of pristine water, awesome glaciers descending along the Himalayan slopes to the river bed in riverine formation, Quaint villages of adobe houses straggling dry hillocks surrounded by large tracts of lush crops downward the patches of alpine pastures uphill. The beauty of this region is further enhanced by the sheer contrast provided by the towering peaks of Kun (7035 m) and Nun (7135 m) which loom over the skyline in their crystalline majesty.

The general topography is as rugged and mountainous as most of Ladakh. However, the Suru Valley is relatively more fertile. It extends from the Panzella glacier to south of Kargil town, where the Suru River merges with the Botkul River rising from the Botkul glacier.

The average elevation of the Suru valley is 3,000 m. Winters are very severe and heavy and frequent snowfalls occur, though the Suru Valley does not become as inhospitable as the Dras Valley. The cold season begins around mid-November and usually continues till May. During this period, most of the valley discovered with a thick layer of snow.

As the snow melts, the water becomes muddy, often attaining darkish hue which is quite a contrast with its normal bluish-green shade. The color becomes normal in early September when the melting of the snow in the uplands slows down considerably. The summer season begins in May and it becomes warm fairly quickly. Vegetation growth picks up rapidly. The summer season lasts relatively longer than in other parts of Ladakh.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the people of this valley. In many parts of the Suru Valley, two crops can be harvested each year whereas in many parts of Ladakh raising even one crop a year may not always be possible when summer starts late or there is early snowfall.

The main crops raised by the people of Suru Valley are wheat, barley and millets. Improved varieties of wheat have recently been introduced. This has helped to increase the production of cereals. Some of the vegetables grown here are turnip, radish, peas and black peas. Grapes, apricots and melons are produced in fairly large quantities at Darchik and Garkoon along the lower course of the Indus through Ladakh. These find a ready market in Kargil. Liquor is made from grapes

How to reach ?
Sankoo, Panikhar and Parachik are connected with Kargil with regular bus services, in summer even twice a day. A bus ride from Kargil takes 2 hours to Sankoo, 3 hours to Panikhar and about 4 hours to Parkachik. Rangdum is serviced by the BI-week bus service to Padum, which increases according to demand. Some trucks plying between Kargil and Padum also offers a lift in the cabin for the price of a bus seat. Cars and jeeps taxis can be hired from Kargil for visiting different places in the Suru Valley, including Rangdum and Penzila.

 
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