Beautiful region of Turtuk Baltistan
Turtuk is part of Baltistan and was part of Pakistan till the 1971 Indo-Pak war. It is the last Indian village on the Pakistan border in Ladakh. We were at Turtuk Baltistan in July and it was summer. Nights were cool and snow was visible only at the heights of the mountains in the region. We had a nice walk out of the village with beautiful mountains around. Walks around Turtuk are beautiful. This place is full of apricot trees and we had more than enough of these. We listened intently to the stories from Balti history and culture, their customs and food and more. It was interesting to know that Balti language does not have a script. Apart from soaking in the beauty of this fascinating place, we were keen to conduct an art workshop for schoolchildren at Turtuk Baltistan, the last Indian village on Pakistan border.
Art workshop for schoolchildren at Turtuk
Our visit logistics were planned by Ajit Apte and Dhaval Apte who have been planning and managing all kinds of tours in this region including motorcycle tours, jeep safaris and other custom made tours. I had discussed the possibility of conducting an art workshop for schoolchildren in this region and they arranged for Shri. Ghulam Hussain to take care of making it happen. It turned out that Shri Ghulam Hussain was a very well known Balti personality around and when he made a request on our behalf, we were given a slot at the local school to interact with the children.
We received a warm welcome from the school principal who listened to us with great interest. We then proceeded to interact with the students. It was a pleasant surprise to see that the school had very modern display which was touch enabled and a computer lab with brand new computers. We screened images of the shortlisted drawings and paintings from earlier Khula Aasmaan art contests. The boys and girls responded very well to the artworks with shouts and giggles and more. We also gave them a preview of some of the art tutorial videos that we have been creating for children, teachers and parents.
We would have loved to do either a painting demonstration or a drawing and painting session with the children but then the time available was limited. The students loved the idea of Khula Aasmaan and told us that they would love to participate and be part of it. We emphasised that Khula Aasmaan is free and open 24 x 7 and therefore they will not be required to make any payment. Lastly we promised them that we will share with them the videos and any other content that we create.