Turtuk is a village in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir It is located in the Nubra tehsil, 205 km from the Leh town, on the banks of the Shyok River. Just like Kashmir, Ladakh has its fair share of awe inspiring vistas,and has also been a war zone since time immemorial. While the Chinese war of 1962 left us protecting our land, the 1971 war brought a bigger portion of Ladakh, which was once controlled by the Pakistani administration, under India’s control. Turtuk was under Pakistan’s control till 1971, but later was taken oven by India. Turtuk is also famous for its vicinity to the Siachen Glacier, the largest glacier in the Indian Subcontinent.
The beauty of Ladakh – Turtuk village in Nubra valley
To explore this part of Ladakh, take a drive ahead of Hunder in Nubra Valley. You will be greeted by Shyok, a turquoise river which snakes through the valley and crosses the Line of Control to enter Pakistan. At the end of this trail, towards the Indian side, is the tiny little hamlet of Turtuk. Also read our article How to reach Nubra Valley from Leh
Turtuk, and a lot of other small villages, were brought under Indian control after the 1971 war, when the Indian army pushed the Pakistani soldiers past the mountains towering the Nubra Valley. Turtuk lies at the extreme corner of the Indian border, and hence its accessibility is a challenge. Due to treacherous roads and sensitive army base camps, permits were not issued to Indian civilians until late 2010.
Although the roads are marred by landslides and shooting stones, the 3 hour drive from Hunder to Turtuk is nothing less than exceptional. Throughout the journey, one has the company of Shyok, as well as the vistas, that define the barrenness which is characteristic to Ladakh. Also Read Ladakh Tourism and Travel Guide
The unbelievable turquoise blue Shyok amid sky high snow clad peaks is a sight that was probably the inspiration behind the famous Persian saying: “Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast” (if there is a heaven on earth, it is here). I can’t help but nod in agreement.
Image Credit – thewire
Apart from being remote, Turtuk is unique for various reasons. While the whole of Ladakh is essentially a Buddhist dominated area, Turtuk follows Islam as its primary religion. The people are visibly exclusive in terms of their dressing, facial hair (long beards iconic of Muslims as opposed to the clean shaved Buddhists), and body language. Essentially a town of 500 families, the village is mostly reliant upon agriculture, and beginning this year, tourism, for their economy.
Being lower in altitude than most towns in Nubra Valley, Turtuk is a breath of freshness in the form of green pastures, in an otherwise barren landscape. Everything from apricots, apples, tomatoes, cauliflowers, and cabbages grow in Turtuk.
How to reach Turtuk village from Leh?
Turtuk village lies in the Nubra valley. To get here (refer to the map above) you may drive from Leh, crossing the Khardung la pass and entering the Nubra valley.Cross the villages of Diskit, Hundar, Thoise and drive to Turtuk. You have to go by road, by hiring a car. Or If you are on a bike ride, great. The route is quite scenic. With stoppages at Khardung La, Nubra and other place for photography etc