Gerald Kozicz and Diana Lange . The Minister’s Palace at Hunder: Reflections on Material and Visual Culture
For centuries, the valleys of the mountainous regions between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia formed a minor but crucial part of the routes frequently used by caravans, pilgrims and military expeditions. Located in the Nubra valley in Ladakh—to the north of the Ladakh range and to the south of the Karakoram pass—Hunder has been both a trading station and an important point of control for a major junction of a cross-Himalayan road network. From afar a white-painted lhatho, a cairn built on the former watchtower as a shrine for a local territorial guardian, draws attention to the now-ruined fortified settlement (Fig. 1). Erected on a steep cliff, the fortress of Hunder was in an ideal position for defence. To the northwest lies Skardu in Baltistan, while just a few kilometres further east one could either take the northern Karakoram route to Khotan and Kashgar in the present-day Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region or continue eastwards to West Tibet.