Ladakh Trip – Day 5 – KardungLa – Diskit – Hunder – Thoisie

Today was one of the exciting days. We left hotel at 7 am and headed to one of the highest points in the world which can be reached via a motorable road: KarudungLa, an 18000 feet pass. Reaching there was fun but the peak itself was nothing great except for one thing. The height was such that I just could not walk straight! I could think clearly and it definitely was not freezing cold but somehow, I was walking like a drunk and just could not walk straight!

Some Maggie, the-most-delicious-ginger-black-tea (all prepared by BSF personnel stationed there) later we headed down towards Diskit via Khalsar. Upon reaching Diskit at around 1300 hrs, we went straight to the Diskit monastery. The monastery is a 14th century temple. They had two temples, one for Buddha and one for Kali. The main Kali deity had the original human hand and skull believed to be that of a Mongol warrior. Legend goes that this Mongol soldier was killed and thrown down the cliff. However, the body kept coming back to life and attacking the inhabitants and they in turn kept killing the soldier. In the end, the monks in the monastery cut the hand and skull off the again-killed soldier and gave it to Kali.

We then visited a huge Buddha statue. The statue was almost 6-7 m and was wonderful in its detail. Added to the fact that it overlooked the dessert so from far it looked imposing as if Buddha is protecting the whole dessert.

We then had a lunch of very good punjabi food of chapatti, sabzi and choley. We also had the tire looked into and repaired.

Post that we headed to Hunder, where the Hunder desserts are. And I kid you not; it was a proper desert of the softest sand, akin to the ones I saw in Dubai. And it was boiling hot. Quite a fascinating aspect of nature that 10000 ft above ground level is a dessert surrounded by snow-covered peaks. We saw and had a ride on the bacterian camels, the two-humped camels found in Hunder. A quick visit to the military air strip of Thosie later, we stopped at Hunder for the night.

Here the guesthouse where we stopped is worth mentioning. It is actually a farmhouse with camels and vegetable plants in the middle of the dessert. Having said that, the amenities in the guesthouse are the best I have seen so far. Big rooms and big toilets, hot water, very good service and good food (of momos). Well then as usual we crashed.

PS: I had this very bad feeling when taking pics of Kali at the Diskit temple and true enough due to an unforeseen incident, all my photos from my camera got deleted. Lesson to be learnt: Trust your instincts

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