The valley of Shakar –Chiktan geographically and culturally holds a unique place in Ladakh. The valley is situated between the lower Indus and Suru valley.
The Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway run across the upper basin of the valley entering through the lofty Namikala (3737 mtrs) and Fotula (4094 mtrs) passes. A 29 Kms motorable road is now laid right up to the confluence of the valley with that of Indus at Sanjak where a bridge connect the Garkone-Khalsi road at 55 Kms besides there is also a fair weather road from Lochum(at NH 1D 22kms) to Sanjak via KaldangKildang la . Traditionally the valley is approached from Fotula and Namikala from east and south western side besides the small passes which remain open almost through our the year for pedestrian travelers. The entire valley remained as a restricted area for entry of foreign nationals now stands derestricted for conducted tours(through a local travel agent)on defined Circuits.
Tourist Attractions Around Chiktan
People of Tibeto -Dard origin are settled along the banks of Kanji Nala and its tributaries dependant on agriculture and live stocks. The male wear long woolen Gonchas and ornate his woolen sash with his day to day requirement like a small Yak horn huble-bable, a stone flint, a knife and an ornamented spoon while as the ladies are very fond of silver jewellery which they proudly decorate over their woolen dresses including brocade rimmed woolen caps. Traditional folk dances and songs are well preserved and displayed on all social occasions they perform their skill whole heartily.
There are a number of historical monuments throughout the valley. Most prominent among them being the Palace Chiktan Razi Khar
- Chiktan Razi Khar King Tsering Malik (16th century AD) built this palace on the hillock of the present Khardun Hamlet. The architect was Chandan, a resident of Chhorbat or Khapalu. It used to be one of the finest palaces in all Ladakh. When Francke visited and photographed it in 1909. It was still mostly intact. Local citizens vandalized this important Monument due to ignorance.The ancient Chiktan village can be found around the palace. There was an underground tunnel meant for taking water to the palace from a spring located at the foot hill.
- Lha Khang: This is one of the Kashmiri / Indian style Budhist temples constructed by Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo. It is in the Zangang neighborhood.
- Cultural Heritage The area is very famous for its rich cultural heritage, particularly in the oral traditions. The folk songs, folk tales and folk lares are believed to be the treasure of history of the region. The oral traditions of folk songs and folk tales are transferred from father to son and are recited on all social occasions and during long winter nights when the elders of the family recite these to their younger songs and tales of coci-political system, way of life, passions, tragedies, political unhheavles, great occasions and heros of the bygone days. These may include the famous Epic of “ Kesar” saga which is still narrated with complete accuracy.
- Horse polo Horse polo and archery were having royal patronage of the local rules and are popular Social entertainments.The famous polo ground (Shagaran) near the Khar is still used to play polo at special occasions.
- Kukshow The village believed to be set up by the famous Dard, colonister. ‘Thathakhan’ Kukshow has been the cradle of diverse folk traditions folk songs and dances. Famous among the folk dances are Mendoq Ltanmo (flower Festival) and ‘Shonglho’. In thiese dances only unmarried boys and girls pardticipate. Holding bunches of flower in their hands decorated on a stick they present it to the gods and godsses with a beautiful song. This manifesto their pleasure on the inset of summer after a confined winter.the village is now connected by a fair weather road from Chiktan.