Turtuk, Ladakh: A Part of Baltistan, Accessible to Indians

Photo of Turtuk, Ladakh: A Part of Baltistan, Accessible to Indians by Kanj Saurav

Perched at an elevation of 3000 metres, Turtuk is a small village by the banks of River Shyok in the Leh District of ladakh. Opened to tourists only in late 2009, this village was once a part of Baltistan, and India gained control of it after the Indo-Pak war in 1971. It is the last outpost of India after which Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan begins.

From Turtuk in the North to Dawki in the East, Here's What The Last Villages Of India Look Like.

You can read more about Turtuk, here.

Inhabited by warm hearted and friendly people who speak Balti, Ladakhi and Urdu, Turtuk has become vastly popular with tourists in the recent years. Bikers and even package tourists have begun flocking Turtuk to witness its beauty and uniqueness.

This village produces the best apricots in the region apart from growing wheat, rice, apples, walnuts and vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, carrots and peas. There is a small museum that houses remains of the royalty and an old Fort.

How to Reach?

It takes about 6 hours to get to Turtuk from Leh by road traversing Khardungla Pass which is amongst the highest motorable roads in the world at 17,582 feet.

Turtuk is connected with Leh only via road, and the nearest airport is in Leh itself. There are no railway networks in this region.

What to See?

The last village near POK, Thang is a must on the visitors' bucket list. The civilians get to visit the India-PoK border and the Thang village daily from 8 am to 4 pm. The Army personnel (Maratha Battalion) at the border give very interesting geographical and historical information about the place to the tourists.

Read more here.

Recommended only for experienced trekkers, the path to Turtuk waterfall goes through treacherous climbs. But if you are through, you can also get a glimpse of the second highest mountain in the world - Mt. K2.

Read more here.

This is a house showcasing the Balti culture that includes utensils, clothes, etc. of Balti people. The entry fee is Rs. 50.

Read more here.

Yagbo Palace

This is a private museum belonging to the heirs of the Yagbo dynasty. You can trace the family roots of the dynasty with the host, the current Yagbo king.

Read more here.

Where to stay?

Turtuk is a small locality spread within a few kilometers. Here you can find many home stays in the middle of farms that offer an insight into the agrarian lifestyle of Turtuk. Some of the most popular homestays are:

Price for two: Rs 1800 per night

Address: Ibrahim Rasool 98, 194401 Turtok, India

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Price for two: Rs 1500 per night

Contact: 097186 90870

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Price for two: Rs 3200 per night

Contact: 9906993123/ 9419219868/ 01980-248103

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Price for two: Rs. 2500 per night

Address: Turtuk nubra, 194401 Turtok, India

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Price for two: Rs 2400 per night

Contact: (+91) 982-050-1211 / (+91) 887-900-1171

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Price for two: Rs 5000 per night

Contact: +91 94196 96499

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Where to eat?

All the guesthouses in Turtuk offer meals to the residents. But there are also some restaurants where you can try local meals as well as Balti dishes. These include:

Enjoy the rustic village vibes at this restaurant that serves authentic Balti cuisine. The apricot dessert is a must.

Price for two: Rs 600

Farmer's House Café, Turtuk

The hosts at Turtuk also ensure that your craving for world cuisine is also satiated at this far corner of the world. Enjoy Thai, Italian and Indian dishes at this ultra-modern restaurant.

Price for two: Rs 1500

This restaurant provides humble north Indian options to those who might be missing home.

Price for two: Rs 400

A must try restaurant for local fruit juice - mulberry and cherry, along with a Balti platter.

Price for two: Rs 1000

Places Nearby

Turtuk lies at the far end of the Nubra valley which is known for many popular places, including some strategic locations which have only recently opened for the tourists.

Known for the iconic Maitreya Buddha statue, you would have probably seen a picture from Diskit even without having heard of it.

Read more about Diskit here.

About 10km west of Diskit stands Hunder village. Camels can often be seen grazing on the dune-like landscape between the foot of the mountains and the braided Shyok River. Read more about Hunder here.

Located about 150 km. north from Leh near the Nubra Valley is the small village of Panamik. It is the final frontier village in proximity to the Indo-Tibetan border and is also the last village up to which foreigners are allowed entry within the country. At an altitude of 3,183 metres, it is popular for it’s hot water springs

Read more about Panamik here.

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