An oasis in the cold desert

Print edition : August 04, 2017

The journey between Turtuk and Leh on a good day in summer, but such days are few. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A view of the road to Turtuk from Leh. Until 1971, the village was in Pakistani territory. Now Turtuk is the last village on the Indian side that civilians are allowed to visit after procuring an inner line permit. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

The journey from Leh to Turtuk can be tedious and treacherous, but the breathtaking beauty of the landscape makes it a rewarding experience. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A panoramic view of the landscape around Turtuk. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

There are no vehicles in Turtuk, and residents walk through the narrow lanes. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A child leaning out of a window. Turtuk has only one school. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

Haji Mohammed Issu of Turtuk, who worked as a porter for the Pakistan Army and continued to do the same job for the Indian Army after 1971. His uncle and his cousins live across the Line of Control in Pakistani-held territory. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

Mohammed Ali, aka Goba Ali, from Thang village with his parents in Fraono, across the LoC, in 2014. In 1971, Goba Ali, then a child of five, got separated from his parents. He was brought up by the Indian Army regiments based in Thang. This photograph is from his personal collection.

A young Haji Abdul Quadir (wearing glasses) along with soldiers of the Indian Army after "Operation Turtuk" in 1971. This photograph is from his personal collection.

A scanned copy of a note from 1972 appreciating the role of Rehmatulla, father of Haji Abdul Quadir and former numberdar (village head) of Tyakshi village, during “Operation Turtuk”. From Haji Abdul Quadir's personal collection.

The entrance to Tyakshi village. The check post is manned by the Indian Army. Currently the Maratha Light Infantry does this job. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A new guest house being constructed in Turtuk. With increasing numbers of tourists coming to the village, there is a demand for guest houses. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

Donkeys are hired out to the Army in winter. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

Magpies are a common sight in the village. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

Yabgo Mohammed Khan Kacho, the "king" of Turtuk. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A view of the palace of Yabgo Mohammed Khan Kacho, the king of Turtuk. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A trophy of an ibex adorns the entrance of Yabgo Mohammed Khan Kacho's palace. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

An eagle adorns the entrance of the palace. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

The natural freezers of Turtuk. Here, yak cheese is stored for several years and is used during the long winter. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

Jamia Masjid, the oldest mosque in Turtuk. While the main building has been rebuilt, the wooden minaret dates back to the sixteenth century. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

The graveyard of Turtuk by the Shyok river.

The town of Leh as seen from the Royal Palace. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

The bridge on the Shyok that connects the two parts of Turtuk. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A memorial to Sapper Satish Kumar who lost his life during the Kargil war. Turtuk saw a lot of bombardment during the Kargil war. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

A pre-1971 Pakistani Army bunker that can still be seen outside Turtuk village. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

The Royal Palace of Leh. Photo: ANSH RANVIR VOHRA

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