|About Kargil||Kargil District in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir got popular only after the Indo-Pak war of 1999. The head quarters of India during this war was Kargil. After the war the exquisiteness of this area caught the eyes of public at large. Far-fetched mountains covered with snow, dazzling rivers, tranquil lakes, ancient Gompas, soothing meadows and pure white glaciers are some features Kargil offers to its explorers. A visit to Kargil is must for those who seek to explore the unexplored beauty of Mother Nature. Loads of options of adventure sports are available in Kargil especially trekking. Majority people follow Buddhism in this Gateway to Ladakh.|
|Places to visit in Kargil||
1. Suru Valley – Sankoo – This picturesque valley in Kargil is a joyous place to be. Its tranquility pleases the mind and beauty attracts the eyes leaving the heart with lovely memories. The soil here is fertile as the Suru River (tributary to Indus River) drains the valley making the valley green. Sankoo town in this valley is called the ‘Gulmarg of Ladakh’. Glimpses of Nun Kun Mountains can be seen from various points at Suru Valley.
2. Panikhar – Valley of Flowers is the identity of Panikhar in Suru Valley. The lovely mountains with white peaks, green lush lands and colorful flowers make the vicinity alluring. The beauty of Panikhar is captivating. It is also a hub for the trekkers. Various trekking expedition commence from Panikhar.
3. Mulbekh Monastery – There is one Drukpa and one Gelugpa Buddhist monastery on the hill top at Mulbekh but the thing that attracts tourists to Mulbekh is the 9 mtr tall statue of Future Buddha (Maitreya / Chamba) carved out of a rock during 8th century. Sadly the lower portion of this magnificent statue is covered by a temple built in 1975.
4. Nun Kun Mountain – Nun Kun are two ice peaked mountains in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and also the largest peak of this State (Nun 23409 ft, Kun 23218 ft). Admired by the mountaineers, many trekking expedition are carried out here. No doubt the surroundings of these mountain massifs are fantastic.
5. Pensi La Pass and Glacial Lake – Called the Gateway to Zanskar, Pensi La Pass connects Suru Valley region to Zanskar Valley region. This pass is at an elevation of 14436 ft above sea level. At Pensi La Pass you can enjoy spectacular views of the Suru Valley, glacial lake and Drang Drung Glacier. Be careful while driving through the pass as it is prone to avalanche.
6. Rangdum Monastery – The Rangdum Monastery located on a mountain at a height of 3657 meter portraying the look of Fort. The major attraction of the Monastery is its prayer hall and priceless collection of Tibetan and other artifacts in its museum open for public.
7. Lamayuru – Lamayuru is known for its Monastery and the Moonscape mountains. It is believed that over 400 monks lived here centuries ago. The monastery is amongst the oldest monasteries of Ladakh. The paintings on the walls of the monastery alongwith the collection of Thangkas, Murals and Statues of Lord Buddha are enchanting. There are several interesting legends regarding the monastery. It is an ideal stopover for those who travel from Kargil to Leh.
8. Dras – Dras is the 2nd coldest inhabitant place in the World after Serbia. The temperatures during winter drop down to -50 degree Celsius with heavy snowfall and winds. But during summers the Dras Valley becomes most beautiful and blossoms with flora. For tourists Dras has the Zojila Pass which is the Gateway of Ladakh. Tourists may visit the Amarnath Shrine which is just 5200 meter from here. Puga Valley in Dras is known for hot water springs. The Indo-Pak Kargil war in 1999 was fought at Dras. A war memorial to pay tribute to the brave Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the war is built here. Dras is also a paradise for adventure lovers. Dras is admired for trekking. It is the base of many short and long treks in Jammu and Kashmir. You will have a lifetime experience when on trek in the beautiful meadows of Dras Valley.
9. Sani Monastery – Part of the 8 holiest Buddhist site, Monastery in Sani is believed to be built in 2nd century. Popular for the ‘Kanika’ Chorten, engravings of deities on standing stone in pre-Tibetan style and cremation ground it is an important plac to visit. This monastery is only one of these orders in Zanskar and Kargil which has nuns.
10. Drang Drung Glacier – Just imagine the sight of a completely frozen river! If you want to actually visualize it, you need to be at Drang Drung Glacier. It is spread over 22 Km at an elevation of 15680 feet. It is the largest glacier accessible to tourists in Ladakh . Open for traffic only from May to September, this glacier has awesome surroundings.
11. Dzongkhul Monastery – Also spelled as Zongkhul Monastery, this is a superb cave monastery which portrays a swallow’s nest from far. There are number of shrines and images of Buddha, Padmasambhava, Mitukpa and Mahakala. Every year the monastery attracts people for its festival called Zongkhul Huchot.
12. Stongdey Monastery – The 2nd largest monastery of the region, Stondey Monastery offers awesome views of the Zanskar region. Scriptures, thangkas, paintings and frescos in the monastery are a must see. Some paintings have deities outlined in gold on a black background. Gustor Festival is celebrated with great zest especially the mask dance by Lamas.
13. Starrimo Monastery – This monastery must be visited to explore the ancient architecture style. The surroundings of the monastery are peaceful and lovely.
14. Zangla – It is the base camp for treks to Padum – Markha Valley, Padum – Lamayuru and Chadar Trek. Other attractions in Zangla are the Zangla Palace and an old monastery with beautiful paintings.
15. Shargole Monastery – In the heart of a granite cliff is the Shargole Monastery. An idol of Avalokiteshvara – the Mahayana god of compassion and mercy is present inside this shrine. Three wooden images of Hindu Goddess Tara also adorn the interiors of this monastery that have been meticulously carved by Tibetan artists. From the balcony of this gompa, visitors get a view of the Cantilever Monastery that adds to the spiritual experience.
16. Urgyen Dzong Monastery (Phoker) – Surrounded by mountains and caves on a flat circular surface lies the Urgyen Dzong Monastery. The location of the monastery is not only spectacular but also serene making it a wonderful place to meditate. Many Buddhist Saints including Padmasambhava are said to meditate in the caves around the monastery.
|Best season to visit||May to October. During winters this region experiences heavy snowfall resulting into chilly weather and blocked roads. So winters from November to April should be avoided.|
|Shopping||1. Kashmiri Pashmina Shawls
2. Apricots and items made from Apricot like jam, etc.
3. Semi Precious Stones
6. Brass vessels and Hookah.
|Hotels & Accommodation|
|Connectivity||Airport: Leh, Srinagar
Railway Station: Jammu
Road: Kargil is accessible by road. You may drive your own vehicle or enjoy the services of bus operators.
|Tour Planner / Guide||World Vision Tours and Travels (Tundup Gyatso)
Contact No. – +91 9469177473
Kargil is a hub of adventure sports like trekking, river rafting, skiing, sledging, hiking, camping and mountain climbing. Various treks start up from this region.