Six kilometers further up from the town of Diskit is the charming village of Hunder in Nubra Valley. The village of Hunder is located amidst the broad Shyok Valley. The small lanes and roads along the village are lined with tall willow and poplar trees.
Hunder is located approximately around 160 km from the town of Leh and one has to cross Khardung La, the worlds highest motor-able pass to reach this remote village. The village of Hunder is located at an altitude of 10,600 feet above sea-level and is more or less the same altitude as the town of Leh.
The best way to reach the village of Hunder in Nubra Valley for a group of six to eight travellers is to hire a jeep that takes around five hours from Leh, provided one leaves early in the morning and avoids getting caught in the traffic jam near Khardung La. Shared jeeps also ply this route on a daily basis and are a good option for solo travellers.
Buses for the Hunder leave Leh four times a week i.e. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from the Leh bus station. These buses return back to Leh the following morning. It is advisable to check the timing of the buses the previous day and also reach an hour before the departure time of the bus since the buses are always overcrowded. The bus journey takes around seven hours and is one bumpy ride thanks to the bad roads. The jam-packed bus doesn’t make for easy travel; making one feel more like sardines in a tin.
The main attraction in the village of Hunder is the double-humped Bactrian camel, these two-humped camels are natives of Mongolia in central Asia and were brought to Nubra Valley during the golden silk route trade era. These camels were the main mode of transportation during this period. At the sand dunes in Hunder, tourist are given a camel safari on these Bactrian camel that range from a short 15 minutes rite to an hour long excursion.
There is a small entry fee that has to be paid at the entrance of the sand dunes, the proceeds are used for the up-keeping and maintenance of the dunes. A unique feature of the sand dunes in Nubra valley is that they are grey in colour, unlike the brown sand dunes seen in the Thar desert in Rajashtan.
The village of Hunder is also the only place in India where the medicinal rich plant called sea-buckthorn is found. This plant is popularly known as ‘Leh Berry’ and is known to have bio-molecules, vitamins and nutritive properties. In tradition medicine, sea-buckthorn used for treating diarrhoea and dermatological disorders. The plant is also used as a skin softener, added to medications in belief it affects pulmonary, gastrointestinal, cardiac, blood or metabolic disorders.
The area surrounding the village of Hunder is arid and barren, but the village however is a vast expanse of greenery and plenty of cultivable land. Horticulture products such as apricots, walnuts, apples and almonds are grown in the village.
Hunder has plenty of guest houses, private hotels and tented accommodation. Hunder is famous for its luxury tents which have noting less than a five star accommodation in the cold desert. Many villagers in Hunder also provide home-stays for nominal rent which includes food. There are no restaurants in Hunder and most of the rooms or tents come with meals. The village has a couple of general stores that sell almost all commodities.
While travelling to Hunder much like the rest of Nubra Valley it is important to carry light woolens even during summers since the temperature in the night falls considerably. Hunder also does not have any ATM so it important to carry enough money before leaving from the town of Leh.
Hunder is a village which attracts plenty go travellers because of the Bactrian camels and visitors from all over the world flock to this village to enjoy a ride on the unique two-humped camels on the sand dunes in Nubra Valley.
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