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India: Jammu and Kashmir: Hunder, Leh, Pangong Lake, Thiksey
Hunder, Ladakh, India: Sand dunes in the valley
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Between Hunder and Diksit one comes across nature’s magnificent making. On the foothills of high rocky mountains are beautifully crafted sand dunes reminding the traveler of a harsh desert and seen in the distance are snow-capped peaks… not to forget streams carrying water from the melting glaciers.
Hunder lies in Nubra Valley which is about 150 km north of Leh. In the valley is the confluence of River Shyok and River Siachen that seperates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges. Siachen Glacier lies to the north of the valley. The Sasser Pass and the famous Karakoram Pass of the silk route fame lie to the northwest of the valley and connect Nubra with Xinjiang.
We departed from our hotel in Leh at 8:30AM. It’s a good idea to leave as early as possible as rains and melting snow may cause road block. About 40 kms. from Leh towards Hunder one has to negotiate the Khardung La pass which stands at 5602 metres, making it the highest motorable road in the world! This claim is being debated though – thanks to modern measuring techniques. Being a very sensitive zone, the entire region is almost under the blanket of the Indian army.
For our overnight stay we were to be at Nubra Organic Retreat. It has 20 Swiss-tents, with attached facilities and basic amenities to make the guest feel welcome and comfortable. The premises, as the name suggests, grows its own vegetables and also boasts of stream running through the property. The laid back tourist can easily spend days in one of their hammocks with a book in hand.
By the time we reached the camp, it was 2PM. Time to enjoy a wholesome lunch and some rest. At 5 PM we left for the sand dunes which were only about 2 kms. away from the camp site.
Whilst I was enjoying snapping the sand dunes, the rest of the groups were busy enjoying their rides on the Bactrian camel which are famous for their double hump. The ride on the camel back costs only Rs 200 per person. It’s a must do. The setting sun gave me a clue of things to happen at sunrise. I would absolutely make it a point to come back to the sand dunes when the sun shows up from behind the mountains.
As planned, the enthusiastic ones from our group were at the sand dunes at 6:30AM. The next one hour was play and photography time. As they say, a picture is worth more than a 1000 words.
We left our camp at 10 and headed back to Leh. Our last night in Ladakh was to be at Ladakh Sarai. Cottages built on the outskirts of Leh did a fitting farewell. Sun tanned and rejuvenated we were all ready to board our flight home the next morning.
Hunder Image Gallery Photo viewer
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