Sand Dunes of Nubra and Diskit Monastery

We arrived in the Sten Del Hotel at Diskit. The village Diskit is the administrative head quarter of Nubra valley. We booked the hotel in advance and were very happy to see the beautiful garden lawn of this well maintained property. The main attractions of Nubra Valley, viz. the great Sand Dunes of Hunder and the 15th century Diskit Monastery are within a short distance from the Hotel Sten Del.

Sand Dunes in Nubra Valley

High Altitude Cold Desert of Nubra Valley

High Altitude Cold Desert of Nubra Valley

Usually deserts occur in low altitude, such as the great Indian Thar Desert. But there is also one high altitude cold desert in India which occurs in the Hunder village of Nubra Valley. A desert with silver sand dunes at an elevation of more than 10000 feet above sea level! Under the stunning blue sky the desert is surrounded by the barren mountains with camels around! These camels are different and very special; they are double humped Bactrian camel. The camels found in Rajasthan and other parts of India are single-humped camels.

Double Humped Bactrian  Camel

Double Humped Bactrian Camel

A tar road goes very near to the Sand Dunes of Hunder. It is the same ancient silk route which was used to trade between Yarkand, a Central Asian Town and Punjab when Leh was an important stopover. And in this traditional silk route double-humped Bactrian camels were the main mode of transport. This route is however not functional now, and today’s policies of global trade could not yet open this traditional route which has been closed since our independence.

We arrived there. It was beyond our imaginations and dreams to see such a vast bed of silver sands with brown mountains at the backdrop. It is an oasis of its own world. We started walking on it and soon met with a gentle stream that cuts the deserts in between. A wooden pool over the stream led us to the main happening area!

Wooden pool over the stream

My friend on the wooden pool over the stream

The sand dune offers to its visitors the great Central Asian double-humped camel safari. While other visitors were busy in getting their turn first for the safari, I went close to the camels. They look the same normal camels except those two humps. For the first time I saw those camels. Tourists were comfortably sitting on them with the support of those two humps. Everyone there seemed to be so happy with the joyride that we too decided to go for it. The prices of joyrides vary according to the distance of travel. We took a short ride and had a fantastic experience of riding those double-humped camels on the sand dunes of Hunder.

Joyrides in the sand dunes

Joyrides in the sand dunes

Central Asian Camel Safari Timing

Morning – 9AM to 12 PM  AND Evening – 3PM to 6PM

Some more Photos of Sand Dunes

Silver Bed of Sand Dunes

Silver Bed of Sand Dunes

Bactrian Camel

Bactrian Camel

Its my turn for the Joyride!

Its my turn for the Joyride!

Diskit Monastery

We saw many apricot plants in Diskit and also one in the lawn of our Hotel Sten Del. Diskit has green vegetation and looked different from other places we have visited so far in Ladakh.

Apricot Plant

Apricot Plant

Diskit is famous for its 14th century monastery which is believed to be the largest and oldest monastery in Nubra valley. While my friends opted to play carom board on the lawn of Hotel Sten Del, I decided to visit the monastery alone.

Diskit Monastery

Diskit Monastery

I reached the monastery driving through a rugged and dusty road. Located on the top of a hill overlooking the valley, Diskit Monastery offers a spectacular view of the Nubra Valley.

The approach to the monastery is through a flight of stairs which led me to the prayer hall. Inside the hall, there is a statue of Maitreya Buddha. There is also a Gon-khang, a temple of guardian deities, with the images of fierce deities whose faces are covered by cloths. I was told that to protect the earth from their rages, the faces are covered by clothes and once in a year on a special festive day these covers are removed.

Statue of Maitreya Buddha on the opposite hill of Diskit Monastery

Statue of Maitreya Buddha on the opposite hill of Diskit Monastery

On the opposite hill of Diskit Monastery lies the new landmark of the valley, a 32 meter tall impressive seated statue of Maitreya Buddha. It took four years to complete the statute before its inauguration in the month of July 2010.

You cannot afford to miss this place if you are in Nubra Valley!

Some more photos of Diskit Monastery

Flight of stairs to the Monastery

Flight of stairs to the Monastery

Diskit Monastery

Diskit Monastery

Spectacular views of Nubra Valley from the Monastery

Spectacular views of Nubra Valley from the Monastery

Another view from the Top

Another view from the Top

Close up view of the image Maitreya Buddha

Close view of the image Maitreya Buddha

Hotel Sten Del – Where I stayed in Diskit

Located near the Diskit Hospital, the Hotel Sten Del is famed for catering well to its guests. Its rooms are spacious and comfortable. Furnishings of the rooms are very good and impressive. Rooms are neat and clean with TV in each. The hotel has a beautiful lobby to sit around and a nice corridor facing the lawn. The restaurant of the hotel served hot foods of our choice though they were little expensive. Most importantly all the attractions in Nubra Valley are within a short distance from the Hotel. We had a nice stay in this hotel and will definitely stay in Hotel Sten Del if I visit Diskit again.

Tariff: The Hotel has two blocks, A and B. The Tariff is Rs.2500/- for double bed in Block A and Rs.1500/- in Block B. I stayed in Room No.202 of Block A.

A word of caution: Electricity runs for limited hours in Diskit. Temperature during the days in the month July remains well above 30°C but the night is cold.

Contacts of the Hotel: Near Diskit Hospital, Diskit, Phone: 01980-220196, 200083, Mobile- +91-94193-48223, email: hotelstendel@gmail.com

Photos of Hotel Sten Del

Garden Lawn of Hotel Sten Del

Garden Lawn of Hotel Sten Del

Lobby Area of the Hotel

Lobby Area of the Hotel

 

Restaurant of the Hotel

Restaurant of the Hotel

Room No.202. Don't try to see me in the mirror :-)

Room No.202. Don’t try to see me in the mirror :-)

I will come back soon with a post on Pangong Lake. Till then-

Julley!

11 Comments

  • Arun says:

    Dada,

    The series of your lovely posts are energizing all of us to visit all the places, which you have already covered in the recent past………but it seems that we are not as lucky as you are….best wishes for your future journeys…..keep traveling and sharing too.

    Arun

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Great going dude! Enjoyed the ride with you. The hotel looks gorgeous & so is the cold desert. Excellent photo frames.

    Keep traveling
    Ajay

  • Tipsy Tips says:

    Hey Anupam,
    Excellent Photography and well written post. I would like to know how did you copyright your photographs? or did you just put a watermark on each photo? Asking for myself . I don’t want anyone else to use my clicked pictures and just wanted to make sure if someone do use it, they might just give me the credits.

  • Tipsy Tips says:

    Thanks for replying.

  • Uday Baxi says:

    Dear Anupam

    Great Photography. Both pictures of Bactrian Camel, your friends on wooden plank, Maitreya Buddha were extra-ordinary.

    Keep going.

    Regards

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Julley Anupam.

    The camels appear a bit shorter then the regular camels we see in Thar. Is that the case or some photogaprh aspect-ratio thing. The pic of silver sand dunes is literally out of the world.

    Diskit and the hotel look heavenly. The information about the hotel (prices etc), the pics and the tip about the electricity are very useful info. I do hope that the Taxi Union things settles soon.

    Thank you for sharing such a serene and soulful story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *