As you ascend out of Leh, drive past the Indus Valley and over the Khardungla pass (18,379 feet), you are rewarded with some of the most stunning landscapes of the trans Himalayan region, even more remote and stunning as you descend into the intriguing Nubra Valley. Visitors are enthralled and there is a photo-op at every turn, with panoramic mountain views, picture perfect villages, hidden lakes and monasteries often perched high on a rugged cliff. Characterised by the Shyok and Nubra rivers, the valley sits at about 10,000 feet and enjoys lots of sunshine in the summer months, inviting visitors from April to October. Wedged between Pakistan, Tibet, China and the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, the Nubra Valley connects India to the southern branch of the old Silk Road trade route from China, through the Karakoram Pass. Another route and fairly remote access to Nubra is through Warila Pass, extremely picturesque and much quieter than the Khardungla route.
Nubra valley comprises several small villages: Diskit, Hunder, Panamik, Sumur and Charasa which are like green oases in the otherwise high-altitude desert of Ladakh. In the tiny hamlet of Teggar lies Lchang Nang – a tranquil piece of heaven set amidst an orchard of elm, apricot, and apple trees.
From the use of solar energy, minimal use of plastic and keeping 15 acres of grazing land intact to using mud and willow as building materials, a stay at the retreat is a lesson in sustainable hospitality.
Know Your Host
Lchang Nang is owned by a local family, the Kalons who have lived in the region for generations. It is a role model for sustainable hospitality in the valley. The team at Lchang Nang is warm, friendly and hospitable and trained to deliver an exceptional experience. The Lchang Nang experience begins...
Lchang Nang is owned by a local family, the Kalons who have lived in the region for generations. It is a role model for sustainable hospitality in the valley. The team at Lchang Nang is warm, friendly and hospitable and trained to deliver an exceptional experience. The Lchang Nang experience begins when the guests are greeted with a fresh glass of sea buckthorn juice, known to mitigate the effects of high-altitude sickness. You are then taken on a tour of the property to be acquainted with the landscape, understand house rules and guest preferences and be informed about the activities that await you.
Translated as a ‘House of Trees’, Lchang Nang is a boutique hotel with 17 cottages, constructed in Ladakh’s signature architectural style using local poplar trees, stones, and mud, which is best suited to the changing seasons and temperatures of this region. Lchang Nang’s concept balances the past, present and future in a sustaining manner; a commitment to the past by honouring traditional Ladakhi cultural elements and a vision of a better future through sustainable and eco-friendly practises that form part of their everyday operations.
Each cottage of the Lchang Nang Retreat sits in a space of its own with features like sit-outs leading from the suites into the gardens with views of the surrounding mountains. Designed to accommodate couples as well as families, the rooms are categorised as Nomad King, Tranquil Twin and Family cottages. There are enough twin rooms hence perfect for friends and families travelling together. Large, sunny rooms have a signature style that is comfortable, uncluttered with a pleasing sense of colour. The Nomad King rooms are spacious with king sized beds and a sunbed while every room has enough space to accommodate a third bed for easy triple occupancy.
Local and Indian cuisine in the company of mountains has a different charm. The Kalon’s offer your palate a chance to get acquainted by the local flavours, though generic continental and Indian food can also be ordered. There is an in-house café that can accessed through the day for snacks, tea and coffee. The tea stations are a favourite with guests to relax with a piping hot tea in hand and watch the clear blue skies and high rugged mountains in the distance.
Lchang Nang is a wonderful place to unplug and relax in the beauty of nature and/or to lounge in the sunny library. Yoga sessions twice a day are held in the Sunroom and wellness therapies for rejuvenation are available.
The tea stations - Wonderland and Ladakhi Kitchen, the former a throwback to Alice’s escapes in wonderland and the latter a museum of Ladakhi object d’art from the Kalon’s kitchen, are places to relax over endless cups of tea or juice served complimentary through your waking hours. In season, workshops are conducted in making jams, dried snacks and oil from the apricot orchard. Lchang Nang is the only property in the Nubra Valley to have a Fireside Bar, with music and a campfire to warm you on cool nights.
A variety of complimentary activities are on offer in the property and in the surrounding area which include daily yoga classes, a nightly campfire, possibilities for stargazing, guided village walks and renting out mountain bikes. Take a cultural immersion walk where you can visit a traditional Ladakhi kitchen maintained by the women’s alliance. Get a glimpse of the local dance as local troupes perform traditional dances in traditional attire. Fascinating sights abound all around the Nubra Valley: the ancient Ensa Gompa, steeped in myth and history, Yarab Tso (lake), Charasa village walk, Panamik sulphur hot springs, Diskit monastery and its 150 feet high colourful statue of Maitreya and sand dunes at Hunder and Sumer, where you have the chance to view Bactrian camels, once used by traders for transporting goods from India to China and vice versa.
Intimate hospitality and really getting to know the local culture in Ladakh’s high mountain terrain. This is good for families as well as solo travellers or groups, who would appreciate the grit of running a retreat in the challenging environs of the mountains.
The retreat is open from May to mid-October.
The way Lchang Nang’s operations are designed, they ensure that the local communities are involved and hence benefit financially. Most of the produce is sourced from the organic garden and from the local village as far as possible; the sea buckthorn juice is from a local women’s collective who sustainably harvest it locally. Cows are fed appropriate leftovers supplemented by alfalfa and willow trimmings. The milk from these cows is used in the kitchen and processed in to milk, butter and curd. A soon to open gift shop and art gallery will ensure that the art and craftwork from the community is showcase and sold. Many of the activities like village walks encourage visits to local Ladakhi Kitchens with a paid entry and also visits to the monasteries raise awareness about the architecture and cultural significance of these places of worship. Local dance troupes perform traditional dances in traditional attire at the hotel allowing for preservation of traditions.
Local villagers come and trim verdant foliage such as alfalfa for the winters as fodder for the barren months. Local women are employed for housekeeping and gardening purposes. While building, locals were hired and built with sundried mud bricks, stones, wood (no cement was used), all sourced locally. A local temple artist was hired to paint Buddhist motifs on the walls and ceilings inspired by age old temple art.
Lchang Nang is the first traditionally built hotel in the region. It helped revive the old sustainable techniques of housing and gave immense confidence and pride to the locals that a commercial project can be undertaken using completely local techniques and skills. Villagers are routinely given a tour of the property, to showcase the environment friendly initiatives undertaken. The village youth and children are taught about the initiatives and encouraged to replicate the sustainable practices.
Every aspect from running the property to its architecture and activities presents the perfect example of sensitive land use, using renewable energy and engaging the community. Lchang Nang is the only property in the entire region of Ladakh and beyond which is totally powered by an in-house captive solar power plant, meeting all the energy needs of the resort for kitchen appliances and water heaters. Each cottage has its own solar water heater, offering hot water at any hour of the day. All cottages have been built using solar passive technique, where the windows are oriented towards south to trap maximum sun in the winters/early spring/autumn and less sunlight in the summers. Biodegradable toiletries and amenities are used.
Guests enjoy the luxury of drinking pure energy free glacial water, a healthy connection to Mother Earth that is impossible elsewhere in India, and further a reduction of reliance on single-use plastics. The glacial water that is high in Calcium and minerals is safe for all. Water is channelled through the property in a gravity-fed traditional Ladakhi Flood Irrigation Technique, fostering dynamic lakes and streams and supporting all kinds of life throughout the grounds.
Waste is segregated and wet waste is composted and manure used in the organic garden. Other waste is segregated for recycling. Guests and staff are encouraged to pick up plastic litter in handmade locally sourced baskets while on village walks.
As Lchang Nang is operational for only 6 months in a year (the summer months), initially staff retention was a problem. Have recently tied up with properties in other parts of India, where the working seasons complement each other for sharing resources. This also gives increased exposure to the staff and teaches them how to work in different conditions and handle new situations, thus enriching their existing skillset and boosting their self-confidence.
by Thankmel8rr on 08/15/2022
Lchang Nang is a destination for travellers who are on a lookout for experiential travelling . The food is awesome . The BBQ near the pool was also a nice touch . Their take on sustainable tourism...
by Neel_Raghavan9 on 07/23/2022
Brilliant location.Nice Independent cottages surrounded by an exceptional view in 3 directions.Karakoram to the East,Himalaya to the north and Salatore range to the west The resort has lot of...
by Vishu0107 on 07/20/2022
It was a great stay for us and service was very good Mr Hamid is very helpful and jolly person I ever seen he gave us lots of information about nubra and his native place Turtuk bcoz of him Hame...