The White Desert in Hundar Redefines 'Pristine'!

Tripoto
Photo of Hundar Sand Dunes, Hunder by sheralli

Ladakh has enough to offer to keep you glued in awe of its beauty, for the rest of your life. Even if you are not a disciple of mother nature, you are bound to get soaked in the vastness of this surreality.

While I can't stop singing the glory of Ladakh, let's move on to one of the gems of this place that is Hundar. Hundar is essentially a small part of Ladakh in India that is blessed with the pristine white desert and the gorgeous Bactrian Camels.

Photo of Hundar Sand Dunes, Hunder by sheralli

How to Reach Hundar?

Hundar is located on the way to Diskit Monastery from Leh. It is a little ahead of Nubra Valley, on the same route. Post Nubra Valley, you will begin to spot the white sand dunes, from a distance.

You can fly down to Leh or drive the road via Srinagar or Manali. Either way, after reaching Leh, the road to Hundar is just one, which goes via the highest motorable road in the world, Khardungla Pass.

Photo of Khardung La Road, Leh by sheralli

But you know what the best part about travelling to Hundar is? It is the mystical landscape that your eyes will witness. You will be stunned to catch the sights of the mighty, beige mountains, lined with turquoise blue water of the Nubra River.

I tried my level best to capture this awe-striking sight in my DSLR, but I don't think any lens in the world can do justice to what your eyes can behold. Below is the picture of Nubra River, with a small village populated with people carrying a huge heart.

Photo of Nubra Valley, Leh by sheralli

Things to do in Hundar

There is a lot to do in Hundar. It truly depends on your taste and preferences. Some of you might just want to sit under an apple tree and let your thoughts flow on a paper, while some of you might love to camp in the white desert and enjoy star gazing.

To give you a few options:

Bactrian Camel Ride

One of the things I loved experiencing is the Bactrian camel ride in Hundar. It was one of a kind experience because, the bactrian camels are way different than Rajasthani camels or the ones you will find in Dubai.

Bactrian camels have a double hump and are super furry. They are shorter in height and are extremely cute to look at. These camels are believed to be very agile. Probably this is the reason they are tied to one another with a rope while riding.

Photo of Hunder Sand Dunes by sheralli

It is one person - one camel basis. It will cost you around 200 per person for a 15-20 minutes ride. You need to reach this spot before 5 PM, as after 5, they don't accept the entries.

Camping in the White Desert

You can rent a tent and put up your own camping site anywhere on the sand dunes. I am not very sure if you can source or rent tents in Leh. It is better to get your tent along, if you have camping in your mind.

Else, there are camps already set up, in Hundar but not on the sand dunes. These camps are set up at a little distance from where the desert is. You can book these camps online or just go there, check them out and book then and there.

I went in the month of September. Renting a camp was not a great idea as it was pretty cold out there. We took shelter in a cozy homestay cum guesthouse, by the name "Goba" that had green and red apple trees in the garden.

Photo of Hunder by sheralli

Camping along the River

You may chose to camp along the Nubra river. For that you will have to take your own tents and put them up on the bank of the river. The sweet murmur of the thirst-quenching water of this river, is melodious.

I did not camp here, but I did make sure to spot a river bed and sit for a few hours to rediscover myself.

Photo of Shyok River by sheralli

Apple and Apricot Picking

For the nature-lovers like me, there are apple and apricot farms in Hundar. Like I went gaga over the organic farms there, I am sure, you will too.

Visit the Natural Fridge in Turtuk

Turtuk is the northern most village that a tourist can visit in India. It was in Pakistan till 1971. Pakistan border is just 5-6 kms away from this place. There are essentially two villages in Turtuk, which are bisected by a jewel-blue stream.

Apart from the culture of Turtuk and the people here, the most interesting thing to see is the natural fridge. At a particular place in the village, there are small caves dug out, with a door.

These have almost 20 degrees lower temperature than Turtuk. It is believed that the snow melting from the glaciers, flows below these caves. The villagers keep the milk, curd, etc., here, as there is electricity for just 4 hours here.

Photo of Turtuk by sheralli

Where to Stay in Hundar?

There are basically three types of stay you can take a pick on:

Guest House/Hotel

Just take a look at any of the travel portals online and book your stay. You will get a decent room in 800 to 2000 rupees.

I would definitely want you to check out Goba Guest House in Hundar, which is owned by a gem of a person, Dolma. I met Dolma while strolling on the streets of Leh.

I just stopped her to click a picture, as she was dressed in her traditional attire. She was kind enough to let me satiate the photographer in myself and, she insisted me and my friends to stay at her guest house, Goba, when we are in Hundar.

We somehow managed to find our way to her guest house and it was such a delight.

Photo of Hunder by sheralli

Camps

The camps in this place are costlier than guest houses, well for obvious reasons. The range starts from anywhere between 2k to 4k. This, I am talking for the month of September.

In the peak season, it might be higher.

Your Own Tent

Rent a tent or buy it and carry it to Ladakh with you. This is the best option to satisfy the explorer inside you. You can put that up anywhere you want to; on the sand dunes, river side, in the middle of a mountain, or just anywhere.

Best Time to Visit

Googling it, will give you May to August. But, I will suggest, first look at what kind of Ladakh you would love to visit.

End of October to Mid of March - You will get to see the snow clad mountains and most of the roads will be closed. Also, there are increased chances of landslides. But, you can do the frozen river trek, and dance in the snowfall, right in this season.

End of April to August - You will witness the brightest shades of green. This is the time when the snow starts to melt and the trees start to bloom. So for those of you, who want to please your eyes with the natural colours, these are the months.

September - According to me, September is the best month to travel to Ladakh. Less tourists, considerable greenery, apple blooms, and also a little snow.

You travel in whichever month to Leh, do not forget to take rest for the initial two days to acclimatise your body. Nevertheless, there is a government hospital in Leh, which takes good care of Altitude Sickness or AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness).

Hope this was an interesting read for you. If Yes, do not forget to comment here and share it with your friends :)

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