Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hunder - Idyllic Village In Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Hunder environs

Connectivity of Leh through land and air route has seen tourists of all hues pouring in this Ladakh town in summer months between June and September. Most of the tourists avail of the tour packages offered by travel companies with duration anything between 7 days and 14 days. The discerning group of travelers make their own arrangement of jeep hiring from Leh and chart out an itinerary of their own. Leh being focal point of all jeep safari circuits, one rarely stays and has a feel of so many idyllic villages dotted all across Ladakh. During jeep safaris, at the most one gets a night halt at villages like Hunder, Tsomoriri and Pangong Tso. Those who go for trekking or on expeditions do come across many more villages for their overnight halts. 

In our ten day trip to Ladakh in early summer, with our own pre-set itinerary, we came across many idyllic villages, stayed overnight in some of them. If I have to select top three such villages as my choice, I would unhesitatingly select Hunder, Stok and Shey. Each of them is worth a stay for 2/3 days.
Hunder village, located in Nubra Valley, will be on top of my list of idyllic villages in Ladakh. Situated at an elevation of 10,000 ft, much lower than even Leh at 11,500’, keeps the visitors free from those high altitude sickness if at all one is prone to. This idyllic village has all the ingredient of modern amenities which will take care of a comfortable stay for every tourist and his family. There are plethora of guest houses, located in huge plots of lands, surrounded by greenery, with 24 hours water supply and good food. Some of them we came across are two storied Goba guest house, single storied Ibex guest house and a huge complex housing tented accommodation known as Organic Retreat. Some guest houses offer the genuine Ladakhi cuisine, including Ladakhi bread and low spiced yet tasty cuisines. For the non-vegetarians, egg preparations are always available for asking. 
Goba guest house
Ibex guest house
Hunder village abounds in Willow, Poplar, Apple and Apricot trees in almost every compound. An early morning walk in lush green environs, through the narrow but clean streets is a rejuvenating experience. From terrace of every house the wonderful vista of hillside enhances one’s perception of nature in its pristine glory. A careful eye on the flying birds among the trees will possibly result in a sight of specie of a beautiful bird with a few feathers in its crest and the wings with black and white patterns. Camera totting, I had a quite a chase in spotting and trying to shoot this bird by trespassing through the tented camp, but could not get a clear crisp shot to my dismay. Later, I discovered this species has a common name as ‘Common Hoopoe’ with biological name as ‘Upupa Epops’. 

Crossing outskirts of Hunder village, one arrives on the road which brings the tourists to this idyllic place. Distant snow clad hills is a reminder to the tourists, that it is still early summer and that one is at 10,000’ elevation.
Snow peaks from Hunder
The road, facing the hill is dotted with chortens of different sizes scattered rather randomly, breaking the monotony of otherwise barren hills.
Chorten on hill, Hunder

Tourists who are thrilled to do some climbing exercise in the adjoining hill, can take mud-stone steep track going up. Stepping over scattered pebbles one comes across ruins of few religious structures at different elevations.
Fort like structure on hill, Hunder
 Lay tourists are perplexed by Ladakh being mentioned as high altitude cold desert. They will have a real down to earth feel of desert, with sand dunes, the seabuckthorn bushes, the camels of Bactrian species, at a walking distance from Hunder village.
As the sun rises, so do the Bactrian camels on all their fours in their camps. The owners along with their camels in tow, begin yet another of their journeys to the sand dunes, to earn their livelihood. From village, tourists take a short journey to arrive at the spot to have an experience of Bactrian camel ride. For me, the two humped animal was some kind of a novelty; kept busy my shutter finger as much as possible, capturing camels in their various moods and postures. The young ones of the camels, stayed glued to their mothers and even if got separated, reunited with them without any hassle.
Bactrian camels at Hunder
At the end of the day at sand dunes with sunlight fading, momentary golden glow on the distant hills looks spectacular.
Evening at cold desert, Hunder
Places to visit around Hunder: 
Diskit is a short 8 km drive from Hunder and has the biggest Gompa in the Nubra valley. Monastic School at a somewhat lower elevation is an imposing structure and offers a great view of Gompa. 

Sumur is 40 km drive from Hunder, via the diversion point Khalsar. The journey from Khalsar to Sumur, is through greeneries interspaced with wild rose bushes. Samstanling Gompa at Sumur attract a lot of tourists. Panamik 20 km further, is a place of hot water springs. Beyond Panamik, the drive is restricted to Army who head in the direction of Siachen, the biggest glacier outside of polar region. 

Following captioned link gives footages of Bactrain Camel ride at Hundar:

Riding Bactrian Camel - Hunder, Nubra, Ladakh 


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