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210 Kms from Gilgit
Best time to visit - April,May,June,July,August,September,October
Gar firdaus ruhe zamin ast, Hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast. “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s h...
One day in Srinagar when strangers opened their homes and hearts to me.30 May, 2016I reached Srinagar without booking a hotel. I call this method of travelling 'no-method-travelling'. That's how I ended up at a neighbourhood near Khanqah-e-Moula where the caretaker of a hotel lived with his family. The night before, I met Mr. Amin at Lal Chowk and he invited me to spend the night with his family. Something about the man made me trust him. I went with my gut feeling and spent the night watching the IPL with his six daughters.The morning started with some Noon Chai (Salt Tea) and Kashmiri local bread. Amin uncle told two of his eldest daughters, Tabassum and Summaiya, to take me around the city. The kids were more than happy to bunk school; this was their exciting day out too.That day we visited Shah-e-hamdan mosque in the morning and I spent the morning relishing the quietness and the absolutely timelessness of the architecture of the mosque. The space exuded a kind of serenity that's not found in cities. During the course of the day we went to Jama Masjid Mosque, Badamwari and Polo Ground.While walking towards Makhdoom Sahib, Tabassum and Summaiya shared with me the episodes of the tragic floods of 2014 when they took shelter in the Shrine of Makhdoom Sahib along with their entire family. Thousands of Kashmiris who lost their homes and businesses in the floods stayed in the shrine for months. A natural disaster that had till now sustained in my memory only as a headline on TV, now unfolded itself in it's full affect.The day ended at Hazratbal, a place I consider to be one of the most stunning sites I've ever witnessed : the marble-white mosque by the Dal lake with the surreal backdrop of the snow-covered Pir Panjal Range. I can travel the distance just for that one view again. If only everyday in life left us so overwhelmed by the end of it.
1) Gulmarg : Srinagar to Gulmarg is a 2 hours journey and so it is usually a full day trip to Gulmarg. Gulmarg boats of being a beautiful town surrounded by snow covered mountains,lush green meadows. Gulmarg is my personal favorite,as even in March this place was covered with snow,enough snow for me to build my own snowman. When visiting Gulmarg you must definitely try the famous gondala ride. Gulmarg Gondola is world's highest operating cable car. The price of the ticket is Rs. 740 for phase-1 ( Gulmarg to Kungdoor) and Rs.950 for Phase-2 (Kungdoor from Aparwath). The view from the Gondola is absolutely breathtaking,from that height it appears as if someone has painted the entire valley with white paint.
Relaxing in my houseboat in Srinagar I said to Ghulam the houseboat owner, “I am satisfied with Srinagar. I would like to experience some village life. Where shall I head next?”He replied promptly, “Sonmarg, Gulmarg, or Yusufmarg”.“Umm too touristy. Any place quieter?”“Naranag”.I took the last sip of the sugary kahwa and packed my stuff. I took the city bus from Dal Lake to Srinagar Bus Station. You can also arrange for a private car to take you to Naranag for a day trip or overnight stay. Ghulam (+919697384417) can arrange transportation and homestay in Naranag. Since I was traveling solo, I chose to go by bus. Naranag is 50 km from Srinagar on the road to Kargil. The bus drops you at Kangan, the town at the base of the hill some 14 km from Naranag. From there, you take a shared car to Naranag. There are frequent buses between Srinagar and Kangan but they tend to leave only after they are semi-full and they stop frequently. So, not the fastest way to reach Naranag. The last shared car from Kangan to Naranag leaves at 4 pm.Deep into the little known valley
LEH – LADAKH || 12 Days, 12 People, Travel to be cherished throughout the lifeLEH, Name always glittered in the soul.A trip we were contemplating since last year, however we got late. And finally thanks to Mr. NaMo- the PM.! We booked our tickets during the biggest monetary lockdown in India – Demonetization 2016.Khusbhu, one of our friend booked tickets for 13 of us. We also had to ask for leave in our respective offices as it was a long trip. Couple of months passed and we all started the planning.Understanding the routes, weather and climate, culture was also equally important. We also took guidance from Manish sir of Kutchi Trekkers. As days passed, the levelof excitement kept on increasing. 2 of them backed out and one was added to it. So finally, count of 12 was good to fly. So, the Month of July started & we started tocount the days.18th Jul, 18 days left.About a week prior to our journey, there was an attack in & around Srinagar where we were planning to start our journey from. This was an attack on CRPF from thelocals which killed the officials.2 weeks ago there was an attack on pilgrims going for Amaranth yatra. Bus was attacked by terrorist groups and 56 people were injured and 6 killed. Many of ourrelatives & friends advised to cancel the trip, but we had to go.Karna hai, toh karna hai, toh karna hai.On Sunday, the day we had to leave, there were heavy rains all across Mumbai. Our flight got postponed and the connecting was getting missed out. This created a hugehassle about 12 hours ago for us. There were lot of hiccups in the pre-journey stage. We did lot of ways to get the flight issue sorted. Finally, l fight to Delhi waspreponed from 9 am to 6 am. We spend whole night at the airport. We spent sleepless night due to the anxiety and excitement.The Day 1 – 18-07-2017 Mumbai -> Delhi -> SrinagarOn Monday midnight, we did our check-in and boarded the flight and reached Delhi. Took a brief overview of the Delhi Terminal 3.Fledd off for Srinagar at 1:45 PM.Our traveller car was booked for the day by the hotel Nishat – our roof in Srinagar. Yogyata’s bro is the Commanding officer, Head of the force at Srinagar. He came tomeet us at the hotel. Did brief talks with him.Left from hotel in the evening went to resto Krishna dhaba had amazing veg food – dhaaba style. Post FullTummy, we reached Mughal gardens and on the other side of theroad is the world famous DAL lake. Witnessed the beauty of DAL lake while the sun was settling down. funtimes clicked. We couldn’t go ahead for the shikara ride as it was already quite dark outside.Returned to Hotel, had snacks, played cards, slept and then woke up early in the morning.
Head back home from Srinagar.
→ Gulmarg:If you are tired of the conventional places like Manali or Shimla; Gulmarg, Kashmir is perfect. The tranquil settings, the skiing slopes, the pine forests of Gulmarg make for the perfect place to holiday! The top skiing destination in India, Gulmarg surely offers a lot for the adventure enthusiasts! Kashmir offers an experience & scenic setting that remains etched in the memory of tourists for a very long time.
Bidding adieu to Leh was hard. We had to force our minds to leave now because our target destination was Srinagar and so it was going to be a long day. Everyone suggested us to stay in Sonmarg if we reached Drass on time as reaching Srinagar on time in a day was next to impossible. But we knew we have to reach Srinagar to see the beauty of Dal. People advised me not to interact with people in Srinagar. Listening to people was one of the things I am born not to do. We managed to reach Srinagar by 5:30 after taking a break in Kargil for a quick brunch. We took a wrong turn and we were lost in the streets of Srinagar. We asked someone the way to cross Srinagar and he said, "You looked tired. You should take some rest." Since we was looking scared, He continued, "If you're uncomfortable staying somewhere out, you can stay at my place and have a meal. Roaming Srinagar after sunset is not advisable." Such a generous act by someone who doesn't even know us made my heart melt and we promised our self that we will visit Kashmir soon. With this hope, we left Srinagar because next day we were supposed to reach delhi.
Things to do: Take an early morning shikara ride at the Dal Lake to see the floating vegetable market of Srinagar; attend a prayer meet at the Khanqah Shah-i-Hamadan; sip on noon-chai as you watch the sun set by the Dal Lake; climb 400-stairs to reach the iconic Shankaracharya Temple; walk on the path of Mughal emperors at Nishat Bagh.
207 Kms from Gilgit
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Gulmarg is synonymous with beauty so stunning that finding another place like it would be impossible. From its overwhelm...
Gulmarg: One word come “Gondola Ride” there are 2 phase in gondola ride.1st Phase: It’s normal so anybody go there oxygen level is good and there you will enjoy some good food, Bike ride to the snow, there you also enjoy sledging.2nd Phase : The view around you is like heaven on earth because of low oxygen level infants are not allowed on top. There you will enjoy skiing and sledging and reach on the top.Over all gondola ride is most amazing experience. Its height 1400ft (2nd Phase) I recommend to stay in Gulmarg at least one night. I enjoyed rain there and that was awesome if you are lucky then might be you will also enjoy and feel the rain.
This day we started off early and headed to Gulmarg. It was a day trip to Gulmarg and we went to Sonmarg for stay from there. Gulmarg was one beautiful place with lot of pine trees and valleys. Way to Gulmarg was fabulous.W e saw a valley flowing by road and stopped there for a while. After we reached Gulmarg , we had two options : Afarwat peak through gondola and khilanmarg through horse with several stops. We chose Khilanmarg as we experienced Gondola and snow a lot. And this was our best decision. We rented out jackets and we were on horses the next moment. In these places , the guide you get is as important as place. We got a very good guide here. The horses soon went into pine trees. We were seeing nature at its best. Our horse even crossed small water bodies and we felt like kings and queens. Then we were at a point where there were all snow capped mountains and the view was perfect. Next stop was view Reshi baba mandir/mosque from a mountain top. Then we headed to a childrens' park and this was magical. Park was green and there was water flowing through it with a small bridge across water. We were into water the next moment not even caring about how cold the water is. We spent a lot of time there. Then we headed to Khilanmarg. Khilanmarg had very murky ice. It was long time it snowed there as it was summer. We didnot do much there except for sledging in ice. Then we came down and started for Sonmarg. Our Sonmarg hotel was right in front of the mountain. We checked in to hotel, had dinner and relaxed for our next exciting day.
The initial need that I had to reach the top had now being overtaken by the amusement of being on the track-path and sitting down at the cottages, having Nun chai (salt tea- Kashmiri tea). After a long journey up the mountain we finally reached. I could tell by the beams of sun that landed on my face, a reward for making it up so far. It was the most miraculous feeling I ever had, maybe it was the reason I was brought to India, to watch the blue skies kissing the mountain top, which was in the veils of white snow. I felt that I was on the peak of the world, and everything else is below my feet, and no one can reach me. I could see people climbing up below, like tiny dots. They would reach anytime soon. The feeling was so magical that I had not realized my palms turning red, with the unbearable cold that my body was exposed to for the first time in my life. Blood ran up to my top layer of paled skin to fight the strong breeze against me, but it was not powerful enough to kill the smile on my face out of the happiness. Surprisingly, Abid was not scolding me for not bringing proper winter clothes. Instead he was beaming, with a broad smile on his face that touched the corners of his ears as he watched me gradually picking my breath. He was equally happy as I was, to have been the pioneer to bring me to Kashmir, which till now has become a home than any other to me and will always be.
God himself showers light upon this place. And the people there, they couldn't be any more generous in their attitude. Even in a state of curfew, they helped the tourists, the families to get to a safer place, and offered them all the help they could give selflessly.
This summer vacations, my family decided to land on the one place that hits every Indian Middle class family's vacation list, yes-Kashmir! It truly is the 'Heaven on Earth', with the green flowing all around,naturally growing flowers making it even more beautiful, those horses, the hills, and the clouds completing the image of a fairyland.
Gulmarg ("Meadow of Flowers") is a town, a hill station, a popular skiing destination and a notified area committee in Baramula district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town is within the Himalayas and is within miles of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. ccording to CNN, Gulmarg is the "heartland of winter sports in India." Gulmarg was being mooted as a possible host for the 2010 Commonwealth Winter Games. As such, Gulmarg has been rated by CNN International as Asia's seventh best ski destination. This resort is famous because of its "Gulmarg Gondola," one of the highest cable car in the world, reaching 3,979 metres. The two-stage ropeway ferries about 600 people per hour to and from the gondola main station in Gulmarg to a shoulder of nearby Mt. Apharwat Summit (4,200 m (13,780 ft)). The ropeway project is a joint venture of the Jammu and Kashmir government and French firm Pomagalski.
The Kashmir valley in particular offers a range of travel opportunities. Gulmarg, a couple of hours out of Srinigar, is home to the highest green golf course in the world (2650m) and downhill skiing that delivers 1400m vertical and 13m of snow per season at an elevation of 4,200m. And in true Indian “cheap and best” fashion these luxury sports can be had at a fraction of the cost in Europe or North America. Or for those wanting to rough it up the state is full of all kinds of trekking, mountaineering, rafting and kayaking possibilities.
We took jackets and boots on rent and entered Gulmarg. The first word which came out of my mouth was "Wow". It was the land totally covered under snow. We booked our tickets for Gondola (cable car). There were two phases- Phase I and Phase II. First hault was at Phase I. The land seemed to be covered under white diamonds. The snow was shining brightly. And in that cold we had coke and yummy kashmiri pulav. The local boy there offered us Kashmiri kahwa- it was the mixture of 11 different things including Kesar, daalchini, badaam etc- very tasty and nutritious. Then Phase II took us to a height of approx 13000 ft- till LOC. Not everyone go there, but those who don't go, they surely miss on something very interesting. To my amazement the LOC was the only place where mobile signals were coming. It was windy and it was difficult to walk in that thick snow. We stayed there for almost half an hour and felt as if we were flying. We were at the top peak and all other mountains were beneath us.
211 Kms from Gilgit
Best time to visit - May,June,July,August,September,October
Fondly called the 'meadow of gold', Sonamarg is situated on the banks of a tributary of river Jhelum in Kashmir. A spell...
2) Sonmarg : Sonmarg valley which means the 'meadows of Gold' is about 80 kms from Srinagar and it is the second most visited place in Kashmir after Gulmarg. Some places to visit in Sonmarg are the Baltal Valley,the Zoji La pass,and Kheer Bhawani temple. The Zoji La pass is situated on the National Highway that connects Srinagar to Leh. There are a number of dhabas and shops on the highway where you can have some delicious food and the best maggi of your life.
June 1st. 2016, Day one to this beautiful valley "#Sonamarg" J&K was so exciting and thrilling that we all were waiting for the classes to start. Our camp was based on 9000 ft above the sea level, surrounded by snow covered mountains and next to the Jehlum River, was giving me a feel of heaven, In such weather and surrounded beauty of nature made me lost and I forgot about the mountaineering course but then....... Wait
Snow came early this year and last week Sonmarg received it's first snowfall. I decided to travel to Sonmarg and make some pictures of this heavenly abode.Sonmarg is around 80 kms away from Srinagar. One can easily hire a taxi from Srinagar to Sonmarg or if you're on a budget, shared taxis are available too from various taxi stands across Srinagar city.Find more pictures of Kashmir and to follow my work, please check my Instagram herewww.instagram.com/kashmirthroughmylens
3. Great Lakes, Kashmir
Day-9 Leh-Kargil_Sonamarg: we started early in the morning as we had to cover a long distance, but as usual the road took more time. We had our break fast at "Pathar Saheb Gurdwara"which is built & maintained by Indian Army.Just before its dawn we reached the must Visit place of our tour "Kargil War Memorial". we were lucky enough for getting the conditions briefed by the Army Personnel. As we heard the stories we had goosebumps. we could see the last India Post on the top of Tololing hill, which is just behind the Kragil War Memorial. After passing the Zojilla Pass in night, where we were just missed by a Bear encounter, we reached Sonmarg.
The road gets a little rough and the trip a lot more adventurous. The thrill of getting closer to Leh rises as we see a mountain of different color at every bend.
Day 2, headed to Sonamarg. August is summers of Kashmir, it was pretty hot. Sonamarg is such a beautiful place, should have spent overnight there with river flowing next to cottages and snow capped mountains all around. However, had booking in Srinagar so had to go back. Here you can visit Thajivas glacier where snow is very less during this time of the year. Need to hire a pony to go ahead. They would lure you in to 5 points site seeing which is basically Zojila pass nothing more, best thing about it is its terrain completely different from Sonamarg.
Sonmarg: It’s famous for Thajiwas Glacier you have to hire a pony from Sonmarg . It’s beautiful place where you can find clean snow and beautiful scenery.If you want to see more snow and wanna play with snow ball with crystal clean ice then you have to defiantly go “0 POINT”
256 Kms from Gilgit
Best time to visit - May,June,July,August
This beautiful district in Ladakh has been part of many significant moments in India. Its close proximity to Pakistan ma...
Heading on towards Leh. We're still to reach Fotula Pass before we reach Leh. The mountains are now starting to look unearthly. You feel like you're on a whole different planet.
Day 2 – 19-07-2017 Srinagar -> KargilIndian Army guys were placed every half a mile in Srinagar City.Took a halt at Punjabi dhaba on the river banks of Sindhu while moving from srinagar to Kargil. Driver Mustaq shared his life experience during the kargil warfare. On the way to kargil, We did snow sledging at Zojilla pass – zero degree point. Another topnotch place in the region – Drass !! – second lowest temperature inhabited area First being Siberia. Temp here in winters goes as low as -65 Celsius. After12 hours of wonderful roadtravel, we checked in zojilla hotel, Kargil.
Leaving for Kargil and finally telling leh adiós was a bit difficult. Though driving on NH1 had its own excitement. Kargil has importance because of the war. It turned out to be pretty crowded area. Drass is much better and recommended where the war memorial is built. We stayed in Hotel Green Land(Kargil). The cost was Rs 900 per person (dinner + bkfst)
Kargil is frequently visited by lot of travelers who take the Srinagar Leh highway. However, even though people stick around here for a day or two to acclimatize for the long road ahead, Kargil is in itself a delightful town. With its bazaar always busy with the newest fashion items that come from Srinagar, it is just like a hill town in Himachal Pradesh with its own stories and tales. Kargil remains an area of strategic importance due to its close proximity to the LoC. Before you reach Kargil you must cross Drass, which is the world’s second coldest place in the world after Antarctica. Even though the terrain seeming inhospitable and ruthless, life goes on in the villages and people have found a way to survive the worst. Drass has extreme climatic conditions but also is a personal favorite if I ever chose to wander!
The excitement was real, we were off to Leh, the most famous place in Ladakh. Having done my homework, I was well aware off the excellent roads we would travel on (apart from the small patch near Mulbekh), unlike most others in the Himalayas. This made me feel that, that tad bit of adventure was cut down, but that was to be a welcome respite from the terrible roads that we had, and would encounter. We were to take the more common route through Lamayuru, since we did not have the permits for the Batalik route, which can be procured in Leh, and maybe Kargil! Our list included a whole lot of things to see, two passes, a few monasteries, a gurudwara and much more. Early breakfast meant that we were on the roads by 7 AM. Initially the roads were a little rough, up until Mulbekh after which no one could have any complaints.
2. Kargil to Srinagar via Drass
Leaving Mulbekh, we directly drove to Kargil. We were startled to witness how the barren desert-like mountains slowly transformed to greenish ones and how Buddhism gave way to Islam. Kargil is a district and is the second largest town of Ladakh division after Leh and is situated along the banks of the Suru River (Indus). The town lies near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan to its north.
306 Kms from Gilgit
A beautiful last and lost village of India near the line of control beyond which lies Pakistan. Turtuk was under Pakista...
A beautiful last and lost village of India near the line of control beyond which lies Pakistan. Turtuk was under Pakistan’s control until the 1971 Indo-Pak war where it came under Indian governance. Therefore, the village is inhabited by Muslims. People here speaks balti language and are having very sharp features with brown hair and colored eyes. Turtuk is a delight with its culture and untouched tourism.
The day ended with a polo match and a walk back to my guest house. Turtuk you have offered me the best hospitality I could ever receive at Leh!
Hunder-TurtukWe were going to Turtuk today (permits required). Turtuk is the farthest accessible points for the tourists in India and has been opened in 2010. We had added this place in our itinerary only by reading a single article of a traveler and we weren’t disappointed. It was actually heaven. The picturesque border village situated along the famous Silk Route is something you shouldn’t miss. The drive to Turtuk is a gallery of unspeakable beauty.We reached Turtuk around lunch time. We checked into our camps (Turtuk Holiday Camps) and had lunch. After relaxing a bit, we left to explore the village. The camp manager became our guide for today. The village is very scenic with plenty of apricot trees all over the village. A stroll through the village was beautiful. The natural refrigerator in the middle of the village is something not to be missed.
Turtuk-The last village, a tourist can access. The village is divided into two divisions yeol and farol. Yeol being the entry to the village and farol the upper area.A paradise on its own. Words are less to describe it. A self sustained village. We stayed in Bagdour homestay. The cost is Rs 500 per person (dinner and bkfst). Our host,Karim Bhai that's what I address him now, a bond developed in a matter of few hrs. A person who helped us see Karakorum range, k2 and a small trek on the barren mountain to reach a waterfall, the stream from which the whole turtuk drinks water. He is the only person I will recommend for a tour to know the nerves of Turtuk. Number mentioned for contacting the angel, Karim Bhai-9469541085.
As the night sets, comes my favourite time. Its not just serene but the night sky offers astounding views to deal with. Anyone interested in Astrophotography would find the north hill stations an ideal place. Its a perfect destination for stargazer. Whether moonlight or no moon, the place looks equally appealing once you are on mountains.
After the most picturesque drive of my life, I entered a "village" looking village. It looked just like any other village except for the fact it was amidst spectacular views. Just when we were parking, the driver said, "The people of Turtuk don't talk to strangers." I didn't travel this much to see scared faces giving me cold looks. I thought to myself. A little disappointed I was still looking forward to it. With no idea of how beautifully my disappointment will metamorphose into utter bliss.Walking down the narrow alleys I saw faces with smiles plastered on them. That was such a relief. I was no more a reason for someone's discomfort. It made me happy and a little more uninhibited.Turtuk is the northernmost village in India. Located in the Shyok river valley it is about 200 kilometers from Leh and about 3 hours drive from Hunder, Nubra. You can easily plan a one day trip from Nubra. A part of Pakistan till 1971, it was acquired by India in the 1971 war of liberation of Bangladesh. Extremely remote,it wasn't even open for tourists until 2009. It is the Indian administered part of the Baltistan region and the residents speak Balti, Ladakhi and Urdu.Reasons why you need to lose yourself in the narrow alleys of this tiny heaven -A drive through the most spectacular viewsThe drive from Hunder to Turtuk is a relief to the eyes. With the road dotted with absolute stunner views, you would want to stop every minute. It's a smooth ride with painting looking landscapes just following you, as if a part of your itinerary.
Something interesting was planned for this day.Turtuk, the northernmost village of India! Isn't that enough to intrique you much? It's a tiny picturesque village. Do add this in your bucket list because not everyday you get to hear about the history of a place by the the king himself. King, Yabgo Mohammad Khan Kacho!
On our way back from Turtuk –the last tourist village in the Nubra tehsil before the Line of Control , our driver agreed to take us a little further , closer to the border . If it wasn’t for the painted signs on the boulders ,we could never have guessed the gravity of the perimeters we were approaching . The military post looked so tiny yet safely protected by mountains towering on all sides . As we got off the bus, ground guards in uniform walked out of the bunker nearby . 2 of them were young serious–faced Gurkha soldiers,while the third one was a middle-aged man who seemed oddly familiar. And the tension that had slowly built up in the air suddenly vanished when he started speaking to us in fluent Marathi ! He belonged to Shirur and had been posted there till his retirement , scheduled for 3 months later . With an education till the 10th grade and a turbulent history of fights with friends in his village , he admitted himself into the Army at the age of 18. His salary was just enough to suffice his family, with maybe an added luxury of a 2-wheeler.He politely catered to our surging curiosity, answering every question that we had. He gave us some perspective on the hard-hitting realities that we often tend to ignore. He shared with us some experiences that were clearly very close to his heart. During train journeys, he said, they would willingly give up their seat for a standing passenger and fit themselves in a spot near the door. What saddened him was the lack of separate compartments reserved exclusively for the thousands of soldiers who get a chance to go home only once in a while.In his opinion, the key that holds them together in the warzone is the fact each one comes from a different part of the country. They are clean slates , unaware of the other’s past , experiencing each other’s personalities as brand new. So they are able to look past the routine ego clashes and fights very easily, harbouring only a spirit of respect and brotherhood for each other. .As we listened to him , each of his felt genuine respect for all these men who stand silent yet strong , facing a reality that we are completely blind to . I felt lucky to be a part of that moment.. to feel awe-struck …to experience strength and humility that is so pure ..so real. Before we waved a final goodbye ,we asked him if we could help them in some way. He just smiled and said , "Kuthe bhetlaat tar olakh nakki dakhva ha." [If we happen to meet somewhere by chance, don’t forget to recognize me.]It’s easy to speak of patriotism and overcoming hardships , but do we really understand the weight of these words in the way that they do ? Ask a man who joined the army only because of lack of another option , and then stood firmly by his oath for 17 years that followed ; who is still grateful for the little things he is treated to once in a while, like a bed to rest on or a hot water bath . That, for him ,is a good day .
Turtuk VillageTurtuk village one of the farthest points on the Indian map, was in Pakistan till it was recaptured in 1972. Unseen by tourists till very recently, it is a virgin destination of peace loving people, allowing for great interaction with a tribal community of Ladakh. Move on from Buddhists, Turtuk brings to you the local tribe of Balti Muslims. The language changed from Ladakhi to Balti & so did the features – from the more ‘chinky’ looks to the wide eyed, rosy cheeked Pakistani-Muslim looks.Climbing over rocks, hopping across mini streams & waterfalls, crossing down a hanging bridge & walking through vast expanse of farmlands, we trekked through the village to witness the most vibrant colours, locals, children & sceneries of Turtuk.Dotted with apricot trees, the Turtuk village is divided by a small brook into two villages – Yool & Farool, one a Shia & the other a Sunni village, coexisting in perfect harmony. We visited the 300 year old mosque, strolled around the polo ground, spotted the Indian & Pakistani bunkers far far away on the mountain tops & even got a glimpse of the K2 peak as we ambled along.Despite being in one of the corners of the country, Turtuk had schools & children were seen rushing around for their classes – not before flashing a radiant smile & agreeing to pose for every tourist passing by. The children were a delight to photograph – their smiles, possibly even sweeter than the apricots!Apart from apricots, Turtuk is famous for buckwheat that is locally grown. After savouring some buckwheat dosas for breakfast, we started our journey back to Leh, on the way stopping at the Diskit monastery famous for its impressive 106 feet tall, tastefully & colourfully painted statue of Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok river towards Pakistan.