Kargil has seen a lot of action in the last few years on the army front. But now there is peace and you can go around with ease and explore the beautiful and scenic places in the vicinity. It was the trade gateway in the olden days. Products like tea, carpets, silk, wool and precious stones were traded through this route to the countries like China, Central Asia and ahead. The area has been opened for tourist activities after the year 1974.
There are famous peaks like Tiger Hill, Tololing, Mushku Valley and Batalik etc. But there is much more than these in the region to be explored. You can visit heritage sites and see Forts and Palaces. There are many Buddhist monasteries and rock carvings, along with war memorial to be visited. You can also engage in adventure sports like trekking, river rafting, snow skiing etc. Accommodation facilities are available at all major places for the comfort of the tourist, government is taking numerous steps to increase tourism in the Kargil sector.
Best Places To Visit In Kargil
It is a pair of gompas built on top of 200 meters. They are called Drukpa and Gelugpa. They can be reached from behind by stairs only. They are at a height of 3504 meters from sea level. From here you can get a 360 degree view of the entire close by region with mountains in the backdrop.
There are numerous Buddha Statues in the area but one famous one is 9 meters high called the Maitreya, future Buddha. The sculpture can be dated back to the 7th century.
It is created by the flowing of Suru river a major tributary of Indus river. The valley looks most alive when there are colorful flowers in the summer season. Tourists visit it the most in the summer season.
Kargil War Memorial
It is situated on the highway going from Srinagar to Leh, so you do not need to de-route to visit this place. It has been built in the remembrance of the war held between India and its Neighbor country Pakistan in the late nineties. The memorial has a list of all the major happenings from the period of war and all those who bravely laid down their lives to defend their mother land engraved on a sandstone wall. There is a souvenir shop where you can buy hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs etc.
Nun- Kun Mountains
They are a pair of highest peaks on the Indian side of LOC in Kashmir. They lie in the rough and rugged landscape of Zanskar valley. Height of Nun is 7135 meters while that of Kun is 7035 meters. They are connected by a plateau of around 2 miles in between. There are other peaks in the area called Barmal, White Needle and Pinnacle Peak in the formation of a horse shoe around the Suru river.
Kargil Pensi La Lake
This is a very cold region as it is situated at the height of 4400 meters. This serves as a pass between the Zanskar valley and Suru Valley
It is also called the forgotten village. There is an interesting museum of memories. There are documents and stories narrated of the tough life of the families residing in the border area. How they survive and their hardships have been shown in a glance for the outside world to know.
Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum of Central Asian and Kargil Trade Artifacts
This museum displays the items that were traded through this silk route in the 19th century. You can see currencies, silk, carpets, jewellery, paintings and all of the items of that time period.
It is built in the form of a castle. There is a kanishka Stupa in the back end of the complex. There are many Buddhist Statues on display here. The prayer hall is decorated by several Tibetan silk paintings.
Apati Buddha Statue
There is a partially eroded statue of Buddha. It has been carved in the Gandhara style and can be dated to be as old as 800 AD. Since the area has seen a lot of action in the war time so much of it has been destroyed. The journey to this place is a lot of fun, so do visit once.
It is a Tibetan monastery on top of a hill at 4031 meters. It looks like a fort. There is a tourist bungalow and tree houses for you to explore.
This monastery has been carved on the top of a granite cliff. There is an idol of Avalokiteshvara believed to be the Mahayana God of mercy and compassion.
When Should You go to Kargil
As you know it is a very cold place all the year round. So; the best time for tourists is the summer time. The day will be welcomingly warm with sun shining bright, though the nights will still be cold. The valley will be full of lush green grass and trees in full bloom. Though the summer is a small time there will not be much vegetation, but you can enjoy the local flowers growing in the meadows in the valley.
Activities In Kargil
You can mostly enjoy trekking and camping in the region apart from sightseeing. You will see that the pace of life is very slow. No one is ever in a hurry. You too can stay here a few days and relax from the rat race life. The serene environment will help you get rejuvenated from within. You can spend quality time with family or even spend time in solace if you are a solo traveller.
We have tried to give you an idea of the area, but it can be best explored by visiting. So get on a trip and visit this place. You can get the feel of the border places and the hardships of people of those villages. Seeing them we value our lives and facilities way more than taking them for granted. You will learn to love each moment that you have while you still have it.