Kargil - Into The Land of Highs
Located at an altitude of 2704 m above sea level, Kargil, with 8000
citizens, is the second largest township of Ladakh. The town is
situated right in between Srinagar and Leh on the Srinagar- Leh
highway some 204 km from Srinagar and 234 km from Leh. In yesteryears,
Kargil served as an important trade center for central Asian
merchants. The town also proved to be a major area in the wars that
were fought between India and Pakistan till 1975. The area again
becomes the center of conflict between the two countries for a brief
period of time in 1999 when Kargil War broke out. But now Kargil has
become a great adventure sport destination in tourism industry.
This small town has much to offer to the shops, as it is an important shopping region in Ladakh. Just stroll down the market street and you will definitely get a lot of things worth spending your money on. Pashmina shawls, and locally made carpets are the favorite most. But the one thing that you cannot leave without the locally grown apricots. They single handedly have made Kargil a famous district.
Attractions - Tinge of Religion
Although entire Kargil is one big natural attraction, but there are not many places that you can visit inside Kargil. But the few are that you just can't afford to miss. Most of them are built by Buddhist people who came here traveling a long time ago and are religious in nature.
Mulbek is an area full of Buddhist structures. Do visit the most important 9m high sculpture of Maitreya, the future Buddha inside Mulbek Chamba. The sculpture was built during the 7th and 8th century, a time when Buddhist missionaries from east of Himalayas came to these parts.
Mulbek Gompa is a Buddhist Monastery which is located on top of a cliff. This monastery was once used as an outpost to secure the route used by travelers and merchants. Inside, you will see large no. of Buddha statues and wall paintings depicting Buddhism.
Shergol is an enchanting small village in the Wakha River valley which is situated right adjacent to Kargil - Leh road. The village over the time has become the starting point for trekking tours to the Suru Valley. You should also visit the stunning Cave Monastery which is perched on a steep hill and can be seen from a long distance as well. There also is a large Buddhist convent that has a small number of residents in it.
Kargil due to its geographical position turns out to be a wonderful place for adventure sports like trekking, mountaineering and river rafting. A lot of options are available for a day long trekking excursions to nearby area like the Suru Valley and Drass, or you can just explore the town and stride down the many stunning walks. Visit Kargil in the month of May when there is an archery contest inside the city.
Where to Put Up
Accommodation in Kargil is not very luxurious but the hotels are above general standards. Kargil was once an important trade center and saw the coming of many merchants. For them the accommodation were improved and good hotels were built. The best of the lot are Kargil Continental, Siachen, Caravan Sarai and Greenland.
Srinagar is the closest airport, which is situated at a distance of 204 km. There are regular bus service from Srinagar to Kargil.
Kargil is connected to Srinagar and Leh by a single highway as the city is lies between Leh and Srinagar. There are frequent bus services from both ends to Kargil.
Though less, but there are state transport buses that run inside this town. You can also hire a taxi that will be more convenient for roaming around in the town.