The Trans Himalayan District of Kargil comprises of the south-western parts of vast Ladakh plateau.
The Trans Himalayan District of Kargil comprises of the south-western parts of vast Ladakh plateau. The town is located at the junction where roads from Leh, Srinagar, Skardu and Zanskar meet. For that reason the Silk Route caravans from China, Turkey, Yarqand, Afghanistan and the Indian plains used to pass through Kargil in the past. They would trade in silk, ivory, carpets and precious stones.
Since 1974, when the area was thrown open for foreign tourists Kargil has regrained its importance in travel related activities and presently an important Tourist destination. Kargil is also the starting point for Zanskar valleyand Leh. The Kargil town is situated on the National Highway No:1D on the confluence of River Suru and Pashkum Nalah at an altitude of 2704 mtrs with a population of about 10,000 souls.The town has several private hotels(Economy to A Class categories).
The great Himalayan Range form its south western boundary crowned by a series of majestic snow capped peaks abandoned by awesome glaciers and lush alpine slopes. This complex of valleys are drained by tributaries of the Indus river, prominent among them being the Suru, Zanskar, Drass, river Nallah Kanji and Nallah Wakha.
Much of the present day Kargil District was once known as “Purig”. The population of present day Kargil is a amalgament of different ethnic groups like the Indo-Aryan Dards’ Tibetan and Mons of northern India.
- Kargil by virtue of its location, topography and contiguity with the alpine region of Kashmir, Kishtwar and outlying areas of Himachal Pradesh, is an ideal ground for trans Himalayan trekking along the ancient trade routes. Diverse ethnic and cultural entities are inhabiting in the sparsely spread villages and hamlets doted along the valleys. Besides trekking, the Suru and Zanskar valleys offer easily accessible Hamalayan peaks of 7000 mtrs, Skiing,Ice skating,River Rafting, hang gliding, angling rock climbing are some of the other attractions offered by the region.
- IN TOWN . While in Kargil town you can soak in the scenery, especially from across river Suru and Poyen. There are picturesque walks along the river and nearby Goma Kargil.
- MUSEUM For the people having interest in history and culture of the place, there is a private owned Museum is worth visiting here displaying old artifacts and ancient mercantile items of the Silk Route trade era.
Day round near the town are:
- The Baru Khanqah: There is a medieval Muslim Shrine here. It is very popularand famous. It was built during the era of wither Hazrat Syed Muhammad Nur Bakhshi a disciple of Hazrat Mir Shams ud Din Iraki.
- Goma Kargil :(4 Kmts) walking uphill the town through a well laid motorable road running through the slope, one can have supers view of the town and surroundings.
- Appricot Country The villages around Kargil town are famous for its apricots. They blossom in 2nd week of April is worth seeing, when they give off a pleasant fragrance. The orange-cloured fruit ripens in August and is also a pretty sight.The villages of KarkitChoo ,Hardass ,Shilikchay and Poyen around Kargil town and villages of Batalik area are famous for its apricots. They blossom in April/May, when they give off a pleasant fragrance. The orange-cloured fruit ripens in August and is a pretty sight.Dried apricots and apricot Jam are available throughout the year in the main markets of Kargil Town .
- Poyen and Baghi-khumini:- Across the river Suru is situated the ancient village of Poyen a drive ora walk through the village to the Plateau of Baghi Khumini, one can have a superb view of Kargil town and surrounding settlements.
- Shopping: Dried apricots and apricot Jam are available throughout the year. Pashmina Shawls made here are far more inexpensive than those made in Kashmir or even Basohli. Some carpets are made in Kargil and are available at the Government Industries Centre/ handloom Deptt.
- How to reach:- Private buses play between Srinagar-Kargil(204 Kms) besides a caravan of modern Luxury cabs like Innova, Scorpio, Xylo and Sumo taxis also ply on the road connecting the nearest International Airport of Srinagar to KARGIL. One can also reach Kargil by road from Leh(234 Kms). Leh can be accessed both by Air and By road via Manli during Summer.
- Where to stay:- Hotels to suit all budget of tourist are available in the town of Kargil and major destinations like Padum Zanskar, Suru valley and Drass. Paying Guest House system has also been recently introduced in the town and prominent villages.
- Other Facilities:- Shops sell day to day consumables in the markets of Kargil, Drass and Padum Zanaskar. There are a number of Restaurants and tea shops also in these markets. Police posts and Hospitals are also located here.It is well connected with mobile phone services of BSNL and Airtel. A number of Internet caffe provide access to the Web. State Bank of India, HDFC Bank ang J&K Bank have its branches in Kargil with adequate ATM Booths.