Habib Guest House : Hunder : Nubra desert : Ladakh

Discussion in 'Hotels &Guest Houses in Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh' started by Indianature, May 14, 2013.

  1. Indianature

    Indianature Time Passer

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    We stayed two nights in the last week of April at Habib Guest House at Hunder in the Nubra desert, based on Alok's [Alpha] recommendation. Our taxi driver Rigzin was also aware of this guest house and said it was pretty decent. It certainly was.


    Habib Guest House is run by Mr and Mrs Rahman, simple country folk and extremely hospitable hosts. The guest house is one of plenty in Hunder, at the edge of the Nubra desert. Most houses here like the Rahmans, have converted into home stays and guest houses for the tourist season.


    For a very reasonable price [700 in end Apr], we were given a spacious room with a large attached spotlessly clean bathroom with an unusually big hot water geyser. Why such a big geyser? Well Hunder like most of rural Ladakh, gets electricity for precisely 4 hours every evening from 1900 to 2300hrs. Mr Rahman has wisely fitted these large storage geysers so that his guests can get adequate hot water in the morning when it is usually freezing cold outside - certainly is in April!


    Our bed had an extra thick quilt and blankets and the Rahman's graciously offered us to get us more blankets if we were cold. We did not need them.


    Meals are very reasonably priced, and served in the traditional Ladakhi dining hall. Mrs Rahman does the cooking - delicious home style hearty local fare, and Mr Rahman does the serving, and very gracious they were too. As in most places in Ladakh, vegetarian fare is the norm here. We enjoyed freshly plucked organic spinach from their own garden for dinner, and special Ladakhi 'khamiri' bread at breakfast which Mrs Rahman was baking on a wood fire skillet in the back yard. Delicious ....... I am going to try this at home, but with Chhole!


    With advance notice, they will endeavour to cook whatever you like depending on what is available in the local market. Most supplies are brought in from the plains other than what is locally grown in the warmer season. The guest house has apricot and apple trees as well as the local seabuckthorn berry but they were not in season when we were there.


    Like most everyone else in the area, the Rahman's own a few Bactrian double humped camels which are available to visitors for a camel "safari" [just a ride despite the glorified name] at the dunes area. The camels were in a pen in their back yard. We were delighted to discover a week old cute little baby camel as well. He was very shy the first day but by the third day, he almost let us pet him! Sweetie.

    We do not usually go for horse rides and camel rides and elephant rides, not wishing to burden the poor animals. Mr Rahman never pushed us to have a camel ride, in fact he was happy for us to just pet and enjoy his camels but he did remark that the owners livelihood depend on tourists going on rides, and given the very nominal rates being charged, we eventually did go on a half hour ride which we thoroughly enjoyed. All camel rides can be availed of only in the dunes area and the locals follow a strict rotation system so that all camel owners get an equal chance to earn.


    It is a mere 5 minutes to the dunes and the river bank from the guest house, and the by lanes of rural Hunder make for lovely short walks. One can also walk on the dunes up to Diskit in fine weather.


    Mr Rahman is also a teacher at the local school and is very knowledgeable about local customs and traditions. We learnt a lot just by encouraging him to tell us about his culture. On the first night we were the only guests and we had a wonderful evening chatting away with our hosts.


    Let us not make any pretensions about this place, it is basic but it is more than adequately comfortable and the hosts go out of their way to make their guests feel at home.
    Compared to Chang La guest house at Tangtse [on a freezing cold day], Habib GH is luxurious!


    Tel:
    01980 221 039
    0 946 97 365 43




    As I mentioned earlier, there is no shortage of guest houses at Hunder. What makes Habib Guest House stand out is the genuine warmth of the Rahman family.


    Nubra is a place where one could easily spend a week and if we ever go back, I would definitely return to Habib Guest House.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  2. Indianature

    Indianature Time Passer

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    Adding some pics of Habib Guest House and their adorable little baby camel:)
    I forgot to take pics of the room. I am sure these have been posted by others already.


    Dining hall
    hgh3.JPG


    Mrs Rahman making Khamiri bread - they would be superb with Chholey
    hgh2.JPG


    Mr Rahman and one of his five camels
    hgh1.JPG


    That is the Rahman's house. The guest house building is next door; from where this pic was taken.
    HGHx.JPG


    My little Sweetie.
    baby camel1.jpg


    Mummy and Baby
    Bactrian camel and baby HGH.jpg
    Baby's fur will go red within a year and Mummy will soon shed all that hair, I believe it is called moulting?
     
  3. rkbharat

    rkbharat Guru

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    lovely,

    Did you liked that ladakhi bread. It tastes wonderful with apricot jam and mint-honey tea :p
     
  4. John Mathai

    John Mathai john-the wanderer

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    He (or she) is a real sweetie... :)

    I don't think our lazy Ammachi would try this out ever... :grin:
     
  5. sahilthegoodguy

    sahilthegoodguy Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful review supported with equally beautiful photographs.
     
  6. Indianature

    Indianature Time Passer

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    Loved it especially when it was served piping hot the first morning when we were the only guests there, but I still maintain it would go better with spicy Amritsari Chholey.
    Thanks:)

    Hmmmmmmm .... Maybe not [make that almost certainly not:twisted:], but my not so lazy Cook certainly would and will be ordered to do so .. assuming he ever returns from his already more than 2 months leave of absence to his remote village near the Nepal border:cool:

    Incidentally, those breads would go very well indeed with a spicy Mallu Egg Roast or Chilly Fry;) and Ammachi is not too lazy to try that combo:D

    Thanks Sahil:), I must really thank Alok for suggesting this lovely place. It was a wonderful experience and my little Sweetie camel was more than icing on the cake.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    In Hunder like Leh, every house is also a home stay, absolutely no shortage of accommodation here. Goba GH looked like a fancier place, never found Snow Leopard but Rahman bhai said it was under renovation. Diskit too has home stays galore in case Hunder is full up in season. Olthang on the main road looked quite okay. Ditto for Turtuk, every single building there is a home stay or guest house with a huge Israeli clientele as well.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  7. John Mathai

    John Mathai john-the wanderer

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    In that case, please share the recipe. My not so lazy wifey would be glad to give a try and if clicked, Ammachi would certainly be invited to compare it with the one from HGH...:)
     
  8. nishchaya

    nishchaya Dreamer

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    Snow Leopard is towards the very end of Hunder, almost a kilometer inside the turn to Hunder from the main road.
    And I must not say this, but barring a few, I didn't quite like the Israeli tourists in Ladakh. The places where they frequented looked like ghettos, especially on the Changspa Road. I also spoke to quite a few hotel/guest house owners and most of them had their own reasons to avoid giving rooms to them. The experience ranged from running away without paying the bills or to an extent of stealing the blankets. The locals also told me that quite a few tourists smuggled lot of grass and smoking weed and selling it was a common sight. Even in Turtuk I saw a group sharing joints right next to that beautiful rivulet where I was trying to set my tripod and they had created a real mess out there. I wish I could cancel their visas :mad:
     
  9. Indianature

    Indianature Time Passer

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    The dough is just whole wheat atta mixed with khamir [yeast - you can buy fresh yeast at any bakery or packet yeast at supermarkets/groceries] and water and a pinch of salt, left to prove and rise overnight, then made like a roti as you can see in the pic. It should puff up. My mother tried it when I described it, and said it came out really well. Should go well with prawns masala too, no?:D



    I agree with you about certain Israeli tourists, if you have been to Vattakanal in Kodai you will know what I mean. When I saw some handwritten Hebrew notices put up at Turtuk and with so many of those typical home stays there and the climate quite conducive for the luxuriant growth of :weedman:, I was immediately taken back to Vattakanal. In Kodai they prefer 'magic' mushrooms which grow wild. Though it is not nice to generalise but you are right. I was told by a normal Israeli tourist lady that these hippy types are the ones who have just finished their 2 year military conscription after which they take a 6 month break to wherever they can live free without restrictions and in a low budget. The lady also said that after they have had their fill of their wild break, most return to normal ways of living back home. Those that have not OD'd that is. The local Vattakanal economy is thriving with these long term visitors, so the police turn a blind eye as long as there is no disruption of law and order. Presumably such is the case in Turtuk as well. No Israelis had yet arrived at Turtuk as of ten days back but Im sure they will be here in droves as the weather warms up.
     
  10. John Mathai

    John Mathai john-the wanderer

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    Thank you, Ammachi. We use yeast almost twise a week to make appams :) and this looks almost like Naan...
    And yes, it should go well with prawn masala as well.
    Now time has come to pester my wifey with this...:p
     

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