Where Maitreya Buddha stands tall: Diskit, Nubra Valley
Located at a distance of 120 km from the town of Leh is the town of Diskit which is also the headquarters of the Nubra Valley and thus attracts most of the backpackers, bikers and tourist. Diskit is situated at an altitude of 10,310 feet above sea-level and at the edge of the desert in Shyok Valley. The town was an important stopover for caravans between Tibet and China during the trade times.
Diskit is easily approachable by road from Leh. The best way to travel to the town of Diskit is to hire a jeep from Leh. The jeep ride takes around five hours from Leh, provided one leaves early in the morning thus avoid getting caught in the traffic jam near Khardung La. Shared jeeps also ply on this route on a daily basis and are a good option for solo travellers.
Buses for the Diskit leave Leh four times a week i.e. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from the Leh bus station. These buses return back to Leh the following morning. It is advisable to check the timing of the buses the previous day and also to reach an hour before the departure time of the bus since the buses are always over crowded. The bus journey takes around seven hours and is not one for the faint hearted.
The town of Diskit is situated just below the main road. There are two main attractions for travellers in Diskit the first is the Diskit gompa which is seen perched high up on a mountain shelf and looks very picturesque. The impressive statue of Maitreya Buddha that stands at a gigantic height of 106 feet is a huge tourist attraction in Diskit.
Walking is the best way of getting around the town of Diksit. The town is small and it takes not more than 10 minutes to go from one end of the town to the other. To visit the Diksit gompa there are top options one is to take a jeep which takes around seven minutes from the town and the other option is to hike which takes about 40 minutes.
The accommodation provisions in Diskit are mainly guest houses and private luxury hotels. There are also plenty of village home-stay accommodation which are generally the preferred option for backpackers and budget travellers who visit this town. The home-stays provide noting more than a room and a mattress to sleep on the floor. Wash-rooms are usually outside the house with noting more than a hole and two logs.
Diskit has no restaurants of any kind, but there are a couple of dhabas that serve some really good noodle soup and momos. All the home stays come with food which is noting but the local basic food that is eaten by the villagers and consist of dal, rajma, rice and chappatis.
The best time to visit Diskit in Nubra Valley is during the summer months from June to September. Diskit remains cut off for major part of the year because of snow fall. Landslides are a common occurrence between October and May.
Heavy woolens are recommended even during the summer months, since the mercury level drops well below 5°C at night. The temperature during the days is well above 30°C and sun-glares are a must during the day time since sand storms are a frequent occurrence.
Diskit is a must visit place for everyone who travels to Nubra Valley, as this village is home to the largest Buddha statue in the valley.