Month: Apr 2012

The Baltistan village of Turtuk, Ladakh

Turtuk is about as close as you can get to Pakistan in India, physically and literally. This delightful village is crunched into the narrowing Shyok River valley in the furthest corner of India, right at the tippy-top of the map. Only when the Indo-Pakistan war ended in 1971, Turtuk (together with 5 other Balti villages) was then included within the Indian line of border control. It remained off limits until…

Those curious camels

While down in the Nubra valley, we spied a herd of those curious bactrian (double humped camels) munching on seabuckthorn berries close to another curiosity, a sea of sand dunes. Typically these camels are native to the central steppes of Asia, mainly Mongolia and Kazakstan. Apparently the Nubra valley formed part of the old trade routes between China and India, when this route collapsed, herds of the camels were left…

The Nubra valley

The large, desert valley of Nubra is formed by the meeting of the Shyok and Siachen rivers. This wide, high altitude valley separates the Ladakh and the Karakorum ranges and is accessed by the 5600m Khardung-la pass. Having cycled up the Khardung pass three times over the past years I have never managed to descend the pass into Nubra. This time however, I could finally continue down the 'other side'…