Soon after we reached North Pullu, submitted our self declared ILPs and moved ahead. We broke out for lunch somewhere on the road. Some Soups, Paranthas, Ladakhi tea is what we had and moved ahead. The actual plan was to visit Turtuk as well but since that was dropped the earlier day, we were moving ahead with many photo and sutta breaks. The views and hues change at every corner after you pass Khardung village. Now suddenly there was an urge to reach Hunder sooner. So we decided to move at a faster pace. Rigzin showed me the road which goes towards Pangong Tso via Agham. And we had the first glimpse of muddy shyok river. From the distance it was as if we were watching some marshland but the nearer we reached, we could see the immense force of water. The river was in full flow I suppose. I was praying that we should be in a position to take our desired Agham route. We passed Khalsar and next destination was Deskit Monastery. The giant statue of Maitreya Buddha was seen from distance and we’re excited to see it. Right from the top you get a 360 view of the entire valley and its HUGE, trust me it is. After a mandatory photo shoot of the area &amp; us we broke forward, bought some fruits some local bread from market in Deskit and we were on our way to Hunder. The road again zigzags through and suddenly there was piles of sand could be seen in distance, famous White Sand Dunes of Hunder. We decided to check in some home stay first get fresh and then visit the dunes. So we checked into Yourdum Guesthouse which is a lovely place surrounded by apple, apricot plantation and a stream which flows right next to the bungalow. We hurriedly freshened up and moved towards Sand Dunes. It’s nothing but wonder that you have this place tucked away between huge mountains on two sides, a river which flows at a good pace and some lush greenery and the SAND DUNES. There is also a stream which flows nearby in full force carrying cold glacial water. WOW, simply amazing this place is. None of us really wanted to do a camel ride so we just enjoyed the dunes walking far distances into a corner sitting there and chitchatting. We even watched a Culture Performance by some locals. We came back really tired, and were served a tasty dinner. We were so hungry, we simply ate in silence. I was chatting with Rigzin regarding next day plan and it was decided to start our day as early as 6 so avoid any issues on Shyok River road. I passed this plan along to others and we went to sleep after few games of cards.
There is a check-point at North Pullu. We had a small stopover as some paperwork had to be done by our driver. A beautiful small stream from Shyok river passed near the place where we had the national breakfast/lunch/dinner of the region, Chai-Maggi. :)
We took a halt for lunch at a small food joint around 1.00. On the way to Nubra Valley, we had to take a break at North Pullu medical camp of Army to look after the ill friend. The hospitality of Army people was overwhelmingly good. There were medical camps at almost every few kilometres. As his treatment took some time and other members of our group were busy talking to the officers and Jawans, I was just checking out their premises. As I was taking a walk, I came across a bulletin board. There were many letters attached to it. Can you guess who wrote these letters? No, not any soldier’s family members, but the students of various schools, who addressed it to our Indian soldiers. They were so touching, I mean even 10 to 12 year kids know the sacrifices and hardship our Indian soldiers face day in and day out, just to keep us safe. At such altitude where the oxygen level gets thinner and thinner, our soldiers patrol the borders relentlessly.
Before reaching Leh, we stopped at North Pullu for snacks and tea.