The Last Resort: Indian Towns Before Borders Begin

The Last Resort: Indian Towns Before Borders Begin
Inside the Chitkul Valley, Himachal Pradesh, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How many of these can you name?

Simrran Gill
June 19 , 2020
06 Min Read

Stretching over 3,000 kms from north to south, almost 3,000 kms from east to west and with a coastline of over 7,000 kms, India is truly diverse in terms of its topography. There are varying altitudes, and changing landscapes every few kilometres. However, there are places where these landscapes and cultures transgress belonging to a different country. Here are 6 last Indian villages in border areas that you should know about:

Chitkul, Himachal Pradesh

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Existing peacefully before the Indo-Tibet border, Chitkul is located in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh along the old Tibet trade route. A steep rundown from the Charang Pass paves way for Chitkul and the Baspa River nearby. The valley is characterised by apple orchards, tin-roofed houses and the gushing river on one side and snow-clad mountains on the other. Travellers can often be seen dining at Hindustan ka akhri dhaba (India’s last food joint) too. Similar to the topography of a hill station, uneven rocky paths and local architecture dominate the village. Various folklore also revolve around the existence of Chitkul. Steer a conversation with a local to get to know more about the village. 

Moreh, Manipur
Located before the India-Myanmar border, Moreh is where you shop till you drop. Also an important trade route, it is the commercial hub for India. The streets of Moreh are lined with bustling shops, selling everything from handicrafts to electronics. The market unfurls right in front of your eyes like a canvas. Moreh also has a strikingly similar culture and lifestyle to the bordering nation’s Tamu town, which lies only 5 kilometres across the border. On your way back, don’t forget to get your hands on Manipuri handicrafts to take back as souvenirs. 

Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu

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Deeply rooted in history and mythology, Dhanushkodi is far from civilisation and the mainland. The last town before the Sri Lankan borders begin, flanked by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, Dhanushkodi is a strip of land that is only a kilometre wide. The town was ghosted after it was deemed unfit for living after a devastating cyclone in 1964. It lies a little over 20 kms from Sri Lanka’s Talaimannar, and its only connection with mainland India is the Pamban Bridge.

Jhulaghat, Uttarakhand
Divided by a natural international boundary, the river Kali, Jhulaghat lies on the Indian side and Julaghat on the Nepalese side. A suspension bridge on the river (both the towns have been named after this) is the entry point for people. This small town is located in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand and is characterised by the river and the lofty Himalayan peaks. Jhulaghat is equally frequented by religious and adventurous tourists alike. 

Turtuk, Ladakh

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Leh-Ladakh is the latest addition to the off-roading adventure in India. Moving from its steep gorges, crisp wind and breathtaking landscapes, Ladakh is a cultural hub of a small community as well. And it is also home to the last Indian village, Turtuk, before the border with Pakistan begins. Lying peacefully along the Shyok river, on the Gilgit-Baltistan border, Turtuk became a part of India after the war of 1971. After a first glance it will never occur to you that this is the last of the Indian territory. Take a stroll through the village, soak some sun and catch up with a local over a warm cup of noon chai to hear interesting stories about life on the either side of the border. 

Jaigaon, West Bengal
Barely 100 metres away from Jaigaon is the India-Bhutan border. The two countries are separated by a mere gate that is also a window into the peaceful neighbouring country. As opposed to the crowds on the Indian side of the border, Bhutan’s Phuentsholing is a peaceful retreat with a lush landscape. In contrast, Jaigaon is a commercialised town in a small valley, characterised by tea gardens on the outskirts. The town draws cultural influences from both sides of the border. 

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