TURTUK – the Apricot Village
Turtuk is a village on the left bank of river Shyok in the Nubra valley and populated by more than 3000 souls, this is the last big habitation on the Indo-Pak border (actually the LOC). Tourists can stay in this village for the night. There are further two habitations namely, Tyakashi and Dhothang right near the LOC where tourists are not allowed to stay over. The Shyok at this time is in full spate and as its name – the river of death and sorrow suggests, it looks terrifying. The villagers are the Baltis and their culture is different from the others in Ladakh. Till 1971 this place was under illegal Pakistan occupation. During the 1971 war Indian army liberated this area. Pakistan army posts overlooking the area are located on higher locations / ranges than Indian army’s.
The village is a rich agricultural land and everything grows here like, wheat, barley, fodder, vegetables and fruit. Apricots grow wild here and they are very sweet. One can eat straight from the tree as many as one likes and can digest. July to Sept is the apricot season and Turtuk is the apricot village in the Karakoram range. Tourists are advised to take not more than ten to twelve in one go. Better eat in the morning and avoid them in the day time. Eat in large quantity and risk upsetting your tummy. Ending July, people have harvested the wheat crop and fixed the thrashers in fields to take the grain home. Fodder for animals for the winters has been already sown.
During the Kargil war this area was also affected. Memorials are built to the fallen heroes. Captain Haneefuddin attained martyrdom in this sector. A sub-sector has been named after him. I salute the fallen heroes.
35 degree N, 77 degree E.
The village is 205 km from Leh and 100 km from the district HQ of Nubra – Diskit. A minimum of two night’s stay is recommended in the Nubra valley in order to enjoy its natural beauty.
Whole of the Nubra valley is a protected area. People of the J&K state don’t need any permission to visit the area but they ought to carry a government issued identity card all the time. People from outside the state need a permission from the DM Leh. Foreigners too need a PAP. Starting from Leh your PAP is required to be submitted at 4 places on the way to Turtuk.
|Ghulam Hussain and his mother-in-law|
told me the story of Turtuk, Balti culture and the wars.
There are many hotels and guest houses in Nubra valley. Tourists need not worry about booking in advance. Better look for accommodation when you are in the valley. It would turn out a much cheaper way of finding accommodation. The Expedias, MMTs, Agodas of travel business will rip you off.