14 Best Places to Visit in Kargil and around| Things to do in Kargil
Kargil, located 8,780 feet above the sea level is the second largest town of Ladakh after Leh in Jammu and Kashmir situated on the banks of Indus (Suru) river. It has become a major tourist attraction in recent times after India-Pakistan Kargil war. Kargil is 204 km from Srinagar and located on the Srinagar to Leh Highway. It is also a junction where roads to Skardu and Zanskar converge. This town has a population of around 10,657 where most of them are a mix of Dard and Tibetan descent. It is a transit hub with roads leading to Leh, Padum (Zanskar) and Srinagar. The town has was opened to foreign tourists in 1974.
Tourist Places to visit in Kargil and Things to do in Kargil
Karste River is a mountainous water body that traverses the undulating terrains of Kargil. This river is a tributary of the Suru River and merges into its watercourse from the east. Originating from the Rangdum Pass, this river forms the picturesque Karste Valley.
Rangdum Monastery is an old Buddhist shrine and monastic home, which is situated more than 130 km away from Kargil. Perched atop a mountain, it looks like a citadel that overlooks and guards the serene valley.
Suru Valley, a picturesque lowland, lies at an average elevation of 3000 m in the foothills of the Great Himalayas. This valley encompasses the catchment basin of the Suru River, which emerges from the Panzella glacier. Extending from Kargil to Panzella glacier, this fertile canyon is cultivated more than any land in Ladakh.
Karste Valley is sprawling mountainous lowland that forms an integral part of the bowl-shaped Sankoo Valley. The distinct terrains of this verdant vale are traversed by the Karste River, which originates from glaciers of the Rangdum Pass and meets the Suru River.
Surrounded with lofty mountains that is carpeted with Himalayan mountain.
Sani Monastery is situated towards the west of Padum, on the road that leads to Kargil. This monastery is a significant shrine of the Drukpa Kagyupa School of Tibetan Buddhism and belongs to its southern branch. A unique thing about this monastery is that it has been constructed in different style. It is one of the major tourist places to visit in Kargil.
Drass War Memorial
Drass War Memorial is a small monument that commemorates the historic success of Operation Vijay during the Indo-Pak war of 1999. This war memorial is dedicated to all those martyrs who lost their lives while safeguarding the country against intruders. It is situated in the Drass village of Kargil district. It is one of the major tourist places to visit in Kargil after India-Pakistan war in Kargil.
Pangong Lake is an high altitude lake visited ex-Leh (128 kms). The lake is 134 kms long and max 5 km wide. Pangong drive from Leh is most spectacular via Changla pass and staying overnight at Pangong Lake is nothing short of an experience. Pangong area is also renowned for bird watching as its a nesting grounds for migratory birds like Bar headed Geese and being considered for a Ramsar site. It is one of the major tourist places to visit in Kargil.
Lamayuru Monastery or Yuru Gompa
Lamayuru is one of the largest and oldest gompas in Ladakh and visited enroute on the Leh – Srinagar route. It has a population of around 150 permanent monks resident. This Kagyupa monastery is situated in Kargil, on the national highway that leads to Leh. Perched atop a big rock, this shrine offers a beautiful view of the Indus River .
Mulbek is a small Buddhist village at a distance of 42 km from Kargil on Kargil-Leh road. The main attraction of Mulbek is Mulbek Chamba which has a nine metered tall 7th century rock sculpture of the ‘Maitreya’- the future Buddha and a monastery with beautiful wall painting and statues. There is also a mosque and remains of a fort, which can be visited in Mulbek. It is one of the major tourist places to visit in Kargil.
Mulbekh Monastery is a revered shrine, which consists of two ancient monasteries – Drukpa and Gelugpa. Situated in Zanskar, this gompa is nestled atop 200 m high hillock that offers a perfect view of the surrounding region.
Nestled in Zanskar’s secluded Lungnak Valley, the Phuktal Monastery is an ancient Buddhist shrine that
is associated with Gelug – the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This shrine is situated in a cave that was frequented by sages and scholars in the past. It is one of the major tourist places to visit in Kargil.
Rgyal Wakha is a village, little further from Mulbek. This is hidden in a vertical cliff of conglomerate formation and looks like beehive from afar. Expect stunning views of the surrounding areas from the village
Fokar Urgiyan Rzong
Fokar Urgiyan Rzong is around 8 km further up streams from Shargole. It is located behind a natural fortress. It is best known for the cave monastery of Urgiyan Rzong. This monastery is the popular meditation retreat of Guru Padma Sambhava. Handprints of the great saint and natural statues and figures can also be seen here.
Shargole Village and Monastery
Shargole is a beautiful village located about 35 km towards the right side of Kargil-Leh road. Majority of its population comprises of Buddhists and Muslims. The main attraction is a small monastery with beautiful interior wall paintings. It is perched on a cliff and offers great picturesque views. An exciting four days trek from Shargole leads to Suru valley via Safi La and Rusila Passes. Mulbek and Shargole are connected with Kargil by proper road and have daily bus services. Even private mini buses operate on this route. It is one of the major tourist places to visit in Kargil.
Shargole Monastery is a small gompa near Kargil, which is perched in the heart of a granite cliff. The monastery follows the lineage of the Gelug that is a Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. An idol of Avalokiteshvara – the Mahayana god of compassion and mercy is present there.
How to Reach Kargil
The nearest railway station to Kargil is in Jammu which is approximately 540 kilometres away from the town. You can take private taxi services, jeeps or mini coaches that are available for hire outside the railway station.
The airport in Srinagar is the nearest airport to Kargil (approximately 204 kilometres) that is well-connected to major Indian cities.
Buses operate on a regular basis between Srinagar and Kargil. These buses are operated by J&K SRTC. One can also hire taxis including four wheel drive vehicles from Srinagar to Leh. There are two routes that you can take to reach here. While one can be taken from Srinagar, the other is from the Leh region. You can also board daily buses from Srinagar and Leh which are 204 and 234 kilometres respectively from Kargil.
Best Time to Visit
The summer season between May to July is the best time to visit Kargil as the temperature is cool with frigid nights.
Average Day / Night Temperature of Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir, India
7°C / -8°C
8°C / -5°C
15°C / -1°C
20°C / 1°C
26°C / 5°C
32°C / 10°C
32°C / 11°C
29°C / 10°C
29°C / 6°C
20°C / 0°C
15°C / -4°C
10°C / -6°C
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