A picturesque travel destination serves you in two ways- it rejuvenates your cluttered soul and provides you with a lifelong travel memory. Traveling is one way through which you can explore a place, its culture, its people, and at last, yourself. One of that Fascinating places in India is Turtuk Village.
One of the least-known places that are there on this beautiful planet called Earth that has stayed away from popularity is the Turtuk. This article is all about the beauty of the Turtuk. Nestled in the lap of expansive Karakoram ranges, Turtuk stays away from the buzz of urban life and its remoteness provides calmness to your mind, body, and soul.
To take you through this offbeat location, the team of Cliffhangers lays out a detailed and exciting itinerary for you so that your journey is hassle-free and memorable.
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About Turtuk Village
A resident of about 4000 people, the Turtuk village is situated in the Leh district of the Union Territory of Ladakh. The Nubra Valley of Ladakh has the hidden jewel of Turtuk village. The Turtuk village is Ladakh’s northernmost point, and it is from here that the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, also known as the Gilgit-Baltistan region, begins.
Turtuk Village Ladakh lies on the bank of the Shyok River (an important tributary of the Indus River). Moreover, it is located at an altitude of 2900 meters above sea level. However, this elevation is lower than in the surrounding areas of Ladakh.
The Turtuk Village Ladakh has an interesting historical story. The Turtuk village was in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. This village was then taken back in 1971 in the border war along the Indo-Pakiastan border (during Bangladesh Liberation War).
The Turtuk Valle Ladakh was closed to the outer world till the year 2010. The reason behind this is that the village is one of the gateways to Siachen Glacier and the region has been a disputed area. But, in 2010, it has been opened for Indian tourists and hence, knowing about this place has become all the more important. More importantly, the Turtuk village has been even opened for foreign tourists as well.
- Read the complete blog on Places to visit in Leh Ladakh.
The residents in the Turtuk Valley are of Balti origin. Balti is a mixture of Persian and Tibetan hence, a unique culture is seen here. There are relatives of residents of Turtuk village who live in the Baltistan region but, couldn’t meet them. The local languages that are spoken here are Tibetan, Urdu, and Ladakhi.
How to reach Turtuk?
Since Turtuk Valley is an off-beat location hence, one needs to know its route and how to access it. Here is the detailed route plan for how to reach Turtuk.
By Air- The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the only airport in Leh, Ladakh. Turtuk is almost 205 kilometers away from Leh. So, to reach Turtuk, you can book a cab or taxi. It takes around 7 to 8 hours to reach the desired place.
By Train- There is no railway station in Leh, Ladakh. Therefore, the nearest railway station is the Jammu Tawi Railway Station. From here, you can move by bus or take a taxi or cab to reach Leh. You can then take a bus or taxi to Turtuk from here.
By Road- A Road journey to Turtuk is quite refreshing. There are two road routes through which you can reach the Turtuk. The first one is through Delhi-Manali-Sarchu-Leh-Turtuk and the other one is through Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Leh-Turtuk.
Places to see in Turtuk
Whenever one goes for a vacation, one of the requirements to look for is whether the destination has attractive places to see or not. In this case, Turtuk has some interesting places to see such as-
Thang- It is almost 10 kilometers from Turtuk village. Thang is almost 2 kilometers away from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Polo Ground- A refreshing game in the backdrop of nature is quite soothing and elevates one’s overall experience in Turtuk . Play an interesting match on this 16th-century Polo Ground with the locals or with your friends and family members.
Balti Heritage House and Museum- To preserve the Balti culture, architecture, art, etc., the Balti Heritage House and Museum. This is a heritage house converted into a museum. The museum has architectural designs that are influenced by Tibetan and Kashmiri styles.
Turtuk Waterfall- A mountainous landscape is incomplete if there is no waterfall. A waterfall in hilly regions accentuates its beauty. So, goes with the Turtuk Waterfall. To enjoy the beauty of this place, you have to trek to the place to reach the origin of the waterfall. One interesting to see from this point is K2 Peak, the second-highest peak in the world after Mount Everest.
Natural Cold Storage- The true essence of a mountainous region is at its maximum when you see natural elements. In Turtuk, people store perishables and edible items inside hollows (kind of small cold rooms). You would be quite surprised to know that these hollows are naturally cold due to the underground glacial stream course rather than any use of electricity to artificially cool things.
Things to do in Turtuk
Apart from sightseeing, there are different activities that you can do in Turtuk and utilize your time efficiently. Here is the list of things to do in Turtuk.
Hike to Monastery- There is a small Buddhist monastery in the Turtuk . You have to take a short trek to reach this monastery. Trekking through this place gives you a closer look at the natural surroundings.
Sitting by the river- It is quite relaxing when you sit by the river and appreciate the natural elements that the Almighty has gifted us. Since, Turtuk is situated on the river Shyok hence, taking a walk along a river or sitting by the river is enchanting.
Playing Polo- Turtuk has a polo ground, and you can enjoy a game of polo with the locals. It will help you to be physically active and mentally calm.
Camping- Camping is quite beneficial for the mind and body when would you get such a natural surrounding to relax and sleep? Camping in the natural surrounding of this village will heal you from burdened work.
Buying Apricots and Walnuts- Every travel destination has some kind of specialty that differentiates it from other places. Even Turtuk is the place which has a unique product to offer. There are vast apricots and walnut farms that are prevalent in the this village. You can savor these products and even buy them to gift to your loved ones who are waiting for you back home.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Turtuk village is the summer season (from May to September). The temperature during this period is around 23 degrees Celsius. The weather is quite pleasant during this time. On the other hand, the temperature hovers around minus 10 degrees Celsius in the winter season (November to February).
Where to Stay
As of now, there are no hotels in Turtuk village. But, there are guesthouses and homestays in Turtuk . The locals are quite amiable and hence, they act as hosts for travelers visiting the Turtuk. You can stay with them and know about the area from their perspective.
Camping is another way of staying in this naturally-enriched place. Choose a place where you can set your camp and take the pleasure of stargazing at the night.
What to Eat
Food connects people. Some dishes that are served in the Turtuk village are- Buckwheat pancakes, Apricot pancakes, Yak butter tea, Thathuk, etc.
Distance from Turtuk to some important Locations
Distance from Turtuk to Pangong Lake- The total road distance between the two points is almost 320 kilometers. This translates to around 8 hours.
Distance from Leh to Turtuk- It takes almost 6 to 7 hours to cover 205 kilometers from Leh to Turtuk.
Distance from Hunder to Turtuk- The distance of around 85 kilometers takes a little more than 2 hours to reach Turtuk from Hunder.
Distance from Nubra to Turtuk- It takes almost 5 hours to reach Turtuk from Nubra via Diksit. Distance in terms of kilometers is around 180 kilometers.
Turtuk village is well worth a visit. Untouched by the elements of urbanization, the village is a true picture of what nature truly looks like. To amplify your traveling experience to this quaint village, you must contact the team of Cliffhangers India, a Bonafide travel agency that plans out a customized travel plan suiting your needs. A trip to Turtuk Valley will leave you with lifelong memories.
- Book here Zanskar Valley tour packages.