After a good night sleep at Hunder camps, we started our journey for Turtuk early morning at 5 AM. This was a bit disappointing as I would have preferred to wake up to a lazy morning and enjoy a bed tea amidst the lap of nature. However, we had strict instructions from our driver and YD to leave early or else get stuck with the glacial streams. As per the commands, for the first time I had breakfast at 5 AM and soon we started our journey to the most mysterious place of our vacation. And we were in for a big surprise!!
Turtuk is the northernmost village of India, beyond which lies POK. This village was made accessible to public a couple of years back. Hence it’s still untouched by the touristy types and is more of a backpacker’s paradise.
On the way, you will cross several army base camps. Be sensitive to their code of conduct and cooperate. For us, those harsh terrains look mesmerizing for a day but imagine a situation where you are expected to guard a bridge 24/7 with not a single living being in sight and just an occasional glimpse of human existence to make you feel alive. My respect for them grew leaps and bounds.
All along, Shyok river with its twists and turns kept us company.
And soon we reached Turtuk.
Our drop point was breathtaking. The abundance of flora in this region is a stark contrast to otherwise barren land of Ladakh.
It was a picture perfect retreat. And as if this was not enough, I finally got to cross a wooden bridge .
This village makes you feel a part of Grimm’s fairy tale – There used to be a king who ruled a beautiful village in the mountains. There was no scarcity of food and water as they were blessed with numerous apricot trees and perennial streams. Basic facilities of health, sanitation and education were imbibed in their culture. The residents were hospitable and lived in peace and harmony. This cannot be real. Here, it was.
With our exploratory cells ticking, we crossed the bridge and started our ascent towards the Friend’s Cafe.
With every step, my curiosity increased to know more, to be there.
And it was finally in sight. The most eco-friendly cafe I have ever visited.
With a shot of lemon tea, we enjoyed the vistas this cafe had to offer, and made me wonder how would the night view be. I wish to find the answer some day!
After a second breakfast of the day, we went further down the lanes , stopping once in a while for directions with a secret desire to get more lost with every single step.
We finally reached Turtuk’s view-point by chance and here is a glimpse of what we viewed!
There are homestays mushrooming here and I would suggest visit this place soon and spend at least a night or may be a week for a real natural experience.
These are glimpses of our mini trek route which finally led us from the cafe to the main bazar.
Before I move on, I want to emphasize that Turtuk has left a mark on my mind, heart and soul, beautiful, sublime, innocent, neat, inviting, shouldn’t we have these too ??
A shot on the way back .
Next pit stop was Diksit monastery famous for its statue of Maitrayee Buddha.
It was a pleasing sight. Hope the peace prevails.
The monastery was similar in architecture to others we have visited so far.
From here, the journey back to Leh was via Nubra , Khardungla, the mountains and the valleys, streams and greens all rolled into one.
With each natural element in perfect harmony, we also slipped into a trance , hoping to wake up in a fairy tale land.