The last Indian outpost or village in the northern region of India, Turtuk lies on the banks of the Shyok River and is a heaven for solitude lovers. It is also the gateway to Siachen Glacier and before the war of 1971 with Pakistan; it used to be a part of Pakistan. In fact, some more villages in this region were under Pakistan rule and virtually overnight were captured by India and ever since are a part of India.
A virtual Heaven
The presence of almonds, apples and walnuts makes this region a fruit bowl indeed. You will find people speaking Urdu, Ladakhi and Balti here as traditionally this village was a part of the Baltistan region, most of the area of which lies in Pakistan now.
Turtuk can indeed be called a hidden gem as this region was opened for tourists in 2010 only. The journey from Leh to Turtuk will take around 8 to 9 hours but it is advised to stop at Hunder and then take a day off to visit this heaven.
Permits are required by foreign nationals to visit this region and the same can be obtained at Leh from the DC office.
The quaint little place Turtuk is, you will have to cross a rickety wooden bridge and amidst the watchful eyes of the Indian Army, you are in this green oasis, the feeling of which will rarely go away, once you have been to Turtuk.
Villages of Turtuk
While Turtuk itself is a big village, the region also has other villages including Pharol which is a big village by any count. Staying here would bit be a problem as the area has many campsites and homestays. Expect to pay around 2000/- per night during peak tourist season and the campsite lies virtually on the edges of Turtuk.
Electricity is prized here and you will get supply only one hour in the morning and from 7 PM to 11 PM in the night. It comes from a small hydroelectric power project located nearby. Simple Vegetarian food and some amazing views are something in ample.
The experience of being virtually 2-3 Km from the International border with Pakistan is also something that will remain etched in your mind for long, once you decide to come to Turtuk.
Maha Guest House is a perfect place to stay here and it has all the modern amenities that will offer you some solace in this remote location of India.
You can trek to Turtuk, meet the friendly locals and visit the monastery in the village. The greenery and rawness of Ladakh is simply out of the world and if you are among those who have visited this piece of heaven, you will definitely agree with me.
For others, it is the time to explore this region and experience the somber beauty of Turtuk and its surroundings. You will definitely come back with an experience that will be life-defining for you. Your perspective of mountains will change forever hopefully, once you have been to Turtuk.