Wednesday, August 02, 2017

The Unspoken Village at LoC



Merely a km away from Pakistan, I saw a mosque with green dome there

It stayed by the River Shingu upright, 

Left me wondering how life would be on the other side.


It was an early morning in the breezy Kargil, only 6 when we started towards the unspoken village "Hunderman". 

11 km from Kargil, the curvaceous roads to the mountains with River Suru (Suru in India originating from Noor Kund glacier, Shingu in Pakistan) at its feet flowing free and unbound with heavy crests and troughs took me by surprise at every turn of road. It was quite a delightful morning for me and I was stuck by a feel of Dejavu. Way back in 2006 I had visited Wagah border and now once again I was going to be so near border, it was surreal and so dream like.




With every turn my anticipation was only increasing. Our driver was too glad to tell stories and legend about the area and we were all ears. He told us about how Indian Army is serving in the area dedicated to the safety of Kargil & Indians and what's the story behind the lost village of Hunderman.

Story #1: As per the information board just before entering Hunderman, this ghost village as it is referred so by many is an abandoned Purgi settlement in Kargil located at LoC which came under the territory of India after 1971, India Pakistan war. No one live in the houses which are in a very fascinating way arranged one above the other, sand colored and are now converted in to the Museum of Memories which houses many artifacts from the yesteryear when people lived here and from the time of war. People had fled the village mostly to Pakistan during the war of 1971 while some still live just a km away from this village uphill (in India).

Story #2: Our driver cum guide Mr Mohammad told us something very fascinating in addition to Story #1 above. He continued, during the war when India captured this area some people were asleep and when they got up the next morning, they were in India. They did not go back, some of them still live in the village just a km away (ref story #1). 



After the story session he took us little ahead, going little upwards on the way we had a little chat with an Army officer before leaving to meet those villagers, it was such a revelation.

They were so warm, specially the kids. We spoke with them about their lives, what do they like to play, studies and that's when in unison they proposed to sing National Anthem. We all sang together, my eyes were moist with happiness and love for India. We spent some more time with them, clicked pictures before wishing them luck for a good future and bidding adieu.



It was great to know that army ain't only taking care of the security and safety on border but also of the education of the kids who are India's future. There was a school very near to the village which was again established by the government of India and Army.

One another interesting fact which Mr Mohammad told us was that the people who stay here are descendants of people who once lived in Pakistan before 1971 and they still have their relatives living just a km away on the other side of LoC but if they want to meet each other they cannot simply cross the borders but have to go through the proper visa processes and can go via Wagah border in Punjab. It's an interesting fact but disheartening as well.

On the way back to our hotel, I spotted so many happy faces of young, old and kids. Kids were in their uniform off to school and elders to their daily chores.



Hunderman and its story is not known to many, travel agents outside this area ain't aware hence not been included in the itinerary when people visit Ladakh with Kargil in their list. It's very recently that Hunderman has come under tourists radar, though. But one can't just enter the area and its better to have your passport (if non Indian) handy or any other valid identification proof (if Indian). It's better to go with the guide for a hassle-free and interesting tour.

Hire a local car / van which will cost you around Rs.600 to take you up there (Hunderman) from Kargil. Don't hesitate, it's worth it.

We stayed at The Highland.
Enjoy! 
Yours truly,
Me And My Suitcase

Also read:

P.S. 
- This time "ME" took a "Rucksack" along 👧👧👧
- All pictures are taken by me except otherwise mentioned.

3 comments:

  1. I didn't know about this. Thanks for sharing. Lovely pictures. Ladakh sure is an amazing destination.

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  2. Awesome!!! I missed it last time.. will make sure we go next time..

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  3. Always wanted to visit a border village. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and place.

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