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Best Places to Visit in Kargil of 2017

  • The town of Kargil is best remembered to the Kargil War when Indian military troops captured the Tiger Hill from infiltrators and emerged victorious in a long battle. It is situated at an elevation of 8,780 feet along the banks of the river Suru, also known as Indus.

    The present day Kargil was once known as Purig. Gasho Thatha Khan also known as the Purig Sultan brought together all the warring small time princely states in the region and under his rule. This Purig later on became Kargil which is today the headquarters of the Kargil district of Ladakh.

    The people of Kargil are of mixed Dard and Tibetan descent. Till the 14th and 15th centuries, the people of this region were followers of Tibetan Buddhism, but with the emergence of Muslim invaders then, many people were proselytized and converted to Islam. Today, a majority of the population belongs to the Shia Muslim community, while the minority communities belong to the Sunni Muslim and Tibetan categories.

    The architecture of monuments and building reflect the impact of this conversion. The architectural styles are a combination of Tibetan and Iranian styles. The more recently constructed mosques exhibit a combination of Iranian and Arabic architectural styles.

    Kargil serves as an excellent destination for adventure activities such as trekking, camping, mountaineering, river rafting etc. Some of the major tourist attractions in this region are the Nun and Kun peaks, the Mulbek, the Zanskar Valley etc. The local attractions include Pashmina Shawls, local carpets, dried apricots etc.

    The nearest airport for reaching Kargil is situated at Leh. The nearest railway station is at Jammu, which is situated at a distance of 739 km from Leh. Roads connect Kargil to Srinagar and Leh and passengers will be required to register themselves at the Tourist Registration Centre in Drass.

  • 01 Zanskar valley

    Zanskar valley
    Image Credit : Zanskar valley

    The Zanskar Range is the mountain range in Jammu and Kashmir that acts as the separating line between Ladakh and Zanskar. The Zanskar Range is a part of the Tethys Himalayas, formed with weakly transformed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is 6000 meters. It is an inevitable spot for adventure lovers during their adrenaline rushing trekking trips to the Trans Himalayas every year.

    On the way to Zanskar Valley, one will come across the incredible Suru Valley which puts forth a decent trekking experience to adventure lovers. Zanskar is alluring always with its brightly shining mountain peaks and the presumably attracting villages, sometimes, it looks overshadowing the relishing Changthang Region as well. Tourism has caused a great enhancements on the economic side of the region like education flourished and the lifestyle of the people has changed but it took its toll on the fragile mountain environment.

    Nevertheless, Zanskar is the favorite tourist destination still because of the vast area that is made beautiful by multiple hues, the distinct flora and fauna and the extremely variant climatic conditions. There are two main branches of the Zanskar River; one is Doda which has source near Pensi-La and flows south eastwards to reach Padum and the second one is formed by two tributaries called Kargyag River and it has source near Shingo La.

    Height: The valley is situated at an average height of 6000 meters above the sea level.

    Location: It is located at a distance of about 464 kms from Leh and would take around 10 to 11 hours to reach. Buses are available from Leh to reach the valley.

    Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August and September are suitable to visit the Zanskar Range as the other months will cause heavy snowfall and the roads will be blocked.



  • 02 Chadar Trek

    Chadar Trek
    Image Credit : Chadar Trek

    For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

    The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

    A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

    Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

    Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

    Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.



  • 03 Kargil War Memorial

    Kargil War Memorial
    Image Credit : Kargil War Memorial

    In the history of India, 1999 is a significant one in terms of politics in India and in its foreign relations. The Kargil War to be true has shocked the pulse of India but due to the timely attack of Indian Army against Pakistan made India proud though the war led many of our soldiers to lose their lives.

     To commemorate the victory India achieved and also to pay tribute to our brave soldiers, the Indian Army has built a War Memorial in Drass, the most important location which became famous during the war and now the memorial is known in different names such as Kargil War Memorial and Drass War Memorial. The Indian name of the memorial is Vijaypath. Lulled by the foothills of Tololing Hills, Drass Memorial keeps the soldier still alive through the epitaph which has the names of all the soldiers embalmed on it. On 26th July every year, Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated at the memorial. Indian Prime Minister pays tribute to the brave soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyothi at the India Gate, New Delhi on the same day.

     A Sandstone Wall is the prime attraction in the memorial which shows the names of the Indian Army personnel who fought and lost their lives in the war and near to the memorial you can see a souvenir shop as well. On the 13th anniversary of the victory in Kargil War, the soldiers have hoisted an Indian flag that weighs up to 15 kg as a tribute. There is a gallery, Manoj Pandey Gallery that displays the photographs taken during the war, the weapons used and artilleries discovered.

    Location: Drass Valley in the foothills of Tololing is the location of Kargil War Memorial. You can visit the memorial during the visit to Kargil from Leh. It is located 5 kms from the city center across the famous Tiger Hill.

    Timings: It is open on all days except Sunday, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 02:00 pm to 05:00 pm

    Best time to visit: During the months of May, June, July, August and September would be the perfect time to visit the memorial.

     




  • 04 Mulbekh Monastery

    Mulbekh Monastery
    Image Credit : Mulbekh Monastery

    The two major sects of Buddhism, Drukpa and Gelugpa had two gompas in Mulbekh Monastery. The location is 45 kms away from Kargil and 260 km from Leh town. The nine meter statue of Maitreya Buddha placed in the premise catches the eyes of every visitor. Also, the two gompas are closely connected to the palace of Rajah Kalon of Mulbekh located nearby. To reach the gompa, there is a steep footpath arranged behind the building.

    History

    There are different opinions about the establishment of the gompa but the idol of Buddha placed here dates back to the 8th century and some others believe that it was built in the period of Kushan. The sculptor is the contribution of the missionaries but there is a saying that the artwork present in the sculptor shows that the missionaries were not Tibetans but mostly Ladakhis. Kharoshti scripts were also found in the main sculptor.

    Structure of the monastery

    Apart from the limestone idol of Buddha carved in the rock face, there are other relics of statues and frescoes. The entire monastery is made charming with the very valuable paintings and some relics of the prized items of the ancient period. As Maitreya is famous as Chamba among the Buddhist sets, the monastery has gained the name Mulbekh Chamba later.

    Location: Mulbekh gompa is located in Kashmir, 45 Km from the town and 260 km from Leh in Ladakh region. You can reach the gompa by bus or jeep.

    Timings: It is open on all days from 08:00 am to 06:00 pm

    Entry fee: Entry to the gompa is free

    Highlight: The gompa is 3504 meters above the foothills which gives a mesmerizing view of the valleys down.



  • 05 Phuktal Monastery

    Phuktal Monastery
    Image Credit : Phuktal Monastery

    Phugtal or Phuktal gompa or monastery, a significant Buddhist monastery located in the Lungnak Valley that too very remotely from the main town and this one is reachable only by walking. The essential things for the monastery will be carried by animals during summer days and during winter they will be transported through the frozen Zanskar River.

    History

    The etymology of the name Phutkal is interesting and the name means the cave of liberation or leisure as per the information given by scholars. The birth of Phutkal Monastery was 2500 years ago and it was built around a cave with the aim of inviting any number of sages or saints to come and meditate. But the current status of Phutkal Gompa is because of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. It was established in the early 15th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo.

    Structure of the monastery

    The honeycomb structure of the monastery surprises every one. Given the increased number of tourists, the monastery is popular now as a favorite trekking point. The cliff side structure houses a temple, prayer rooms, apartments, quarters, library with sacred manuscripts, teaching facilities and the original cave and a spring. Around 70 monks who are residing in the monastery are always seen chanting or meditating.

    Location: The location of the monastery is Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar.

    Timings: It is open on all days of the week from 06:00 pm to 04:00 pm.

    Entry fee: To enter the monastery no entry fee is required. But cameras and food from outside are not allowed.

    Highlights: There are a number of festivals happen everywhere at the monastery which are celebrated for different reasons. Every year the dates of the festivals change depending on the lunisolar calendar. Smonlam Chenmo is the most important one as it signifies the entry of the New Year.




  • 06 Kargil

    Kargil
    Image Credit : Kargil

    Kargil, the second largest town after Leh in Kashmir has multiple images in the mindsets of Indians. The spot where India’s patriotism won, the spot where India’s soldiers lost their lives, the spot where a dramatic tug of war between two countries happened and the spot which makes India proud always; hundreds of reasons are there to recognize Kargil as one of the primary locations of India. Politically, Kargil has gained so much importance because of the renowned Kargil War but now it is termed as one of the most visited tourist destinations as well in Kashmir. Visitors are curious to visit the sensitive zone in India where history was turned topsy-turvy.

    There are a lot to see in Kargil in the form of monasteries, lush greenery, river basins, trekking points and so on. Mulbekh Monastery, located 36 Kms from Kargil is the most famous gompa in Kargil district which is featured because of the 9 meter tall idol of Maitreya Buddha. Near to Kargil is yet another attraction that is Suru Basin. When the Panzella glacier starts to melt, Suru Basin becomes the richest fertile land in the dry Ladakh region. The fields of wheat, barley and grapes are rich in greenery and thus give a splendid sight to the tourists. If you keep patriotism inside you on a dramatic level, then never miss to visit the Drass War Memorial where the photos, things used during the Kargil war and the hardships during the war are displayed along with the 100 feet high flagpoles. For trekking, the surroundings hill tops are perfect and a visit to Lamayuru Monastery located on Leh-Srinagar Highway will be concluding your tour of Kargil in presumably perfect way.

    Height: 2676 meters above sea level

    Location: Kargil is located 60 km from Drass and 204 km from Srinagar to the west and 234 km from Leh to the east. One can reach Kargil from Padum by covering a distance of 240 km and a drive from Delhi will take around 1047 kms to be covered.

    Best time to visit: June to September is the ideal time to visit Kargil as per the information given by the experts and experienced travelers.




  • 07 Drass Valley

    Drass Valley
    Image Credit : Drass Valley

    Drass Valley in Kargil District in Jammu and Kashmir is popularly called as the gateway of Ladakh. In the infamous Kargil War, Drass has played a significant role. The Pakistani Army in 1999 started dropping shells in Drass and in the surrounding villages and thus the war broke out between India and Pakistan. In the end, India recaptured Drass and other parts in the premises and then on Drass has been recognized as the memorial of the Kargil War

    Drass is nestled amidst the snow-clad peaks on the Leh- Kargil National Highway at a height of 3230 meters above the sea level. Zojila Pass is the beginning of Drass Valley. Even when the harshest climatic conditions of winter hit the inhabitants here, the people kept guarding the valley intact and thus they are called the guardians of Ladakh’s gateway. The residents of the valley is known to be the saviours of stranded travelers who try to cross the pass along the snow covered trails and also they have stayed back in the valley to transport trading merchandise in the extreme cold. Drass is recognized as the base for the three day long Suru valley trek.

     The coldest region of India is Drass where -12 degree Celsius is the average temperature during winter and it falls onto as low as -17 degree Celsius during the peak time of winter. The tours of Drass compulsorily include a visit to the famous Drass War Memorial which is built to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the India-Pakistan War in 1999. There is a Brigade War Valley that also turned to be the space to commemorate the lives and dedication of Indian soldiers during Kargil War.

    Height: Drass Valley is located at an average height of 3820 meters.

    Location: It is located 60 kms away from Ladakh and starts from the foot of the famous Zojila Pass.

    Best time to visit: The season between the months of May and September are the suitable time to visit Drass.




  • 08 Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers Trek

    Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers Trek
    Image Credit : Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers Trek

    Just as the name suggests, the place is heaven on earth. It may be difficult to believe, but the Valley of Flowers seems too surreal to believe. The Valley of Flowers is in full bloom in the months from June to October and appears as a carpet of myriad colours.

    The Valley of Flowers is the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and has been now declared as a World Heritage Site. The entire landscape springs into full bloom right after the monsoon rains. The Valley of Flowers attracts a number of tourists, botanists, florists and trekkers all throughout the year.

    The Valley of Flowers is open to the public only during the summers. It is an excellent place for trekking and can be reached on foot by trekking 17 km from the nearest town of Joshimath in Garhwal. You will have to trek about 14 km from Govindghat, which is situated near Rishikesh, to reach Ghangaria. Ghangaria is the last settlement on your way to the Valley of Flowers. You reach the gorge over the River Pushpavati where the valley starts. There are fixed timings for entry into the valley and camping is prohibited there. You will have to return to Ghangaria the same day.


    The beautiful valley is situated at an elevation of 3650 m and is delightful to look at. The best time to visit the Valley of Flowers is mid-July to mid-August. The trek to the Valley of Flowers is very easy and can be undertaken by people who have limited or no experience of trekking.

    The Valley of Flowers has a very pleasant climate during the day time with the temperatures hovering between 15 to 20 degrees. However, it gets pretty cold during the night time and you may want to dress in layers to protect yourself from the cold. The treks are always led by professional guide trekkers who have completed the basic and advance mountaineering course and are certified in first-aid.

    Best Season: May - October
    Difficulty Level: Medium
    Max. Elevation: 4329 m
    More Details: Guide to Valley of Flowers Trek
    Discounted Offers on Tour to Valley of Flowers



  • 09 Zanskar valley

    The Zanskar Valley is the place to witness enchanting visuals of snow capped peaks and alpine lakes. Located in the Ladakh district, there are numerous places to see here. Visit the Zongkhul Monastery by undertaking the exciting Padum-Kishtwar trekking route.

    Visit Zangla, which is an ancient castle that also houses a chapel and also feel amazed at the captivating beauty that you see from the Penzella Pass. Take a village tour through a human settlement in this divine land at Karsha. Get more breathtaking views from Panikhar and also visit the Panikhar Fort.



  • Nearby Getaways from Kargil
  • 01 Manali

  • 02 Leh

  • 03 Ladakh

    1463259871_ladakh.jpg
    Image Credit : 

    Ladakh, the erstwhile Buddhist kingdom is spectacularly jagged. Arid mountains, dramatically crowned rocky outcrops, picturesque gompas, meditational mani walls and multi hued flags are few of the many sites that exemplify the beauty of Ladakh. The well balanced traditional society of Ladakh has much to offer the West in terms of ecological awareness.

    Ladakh is a magnificent and an unexplored wonderland of the Himalayas. It is one place that is considered as a heaven by everyone who is on a lookout to satiate their indomitable love for adventure. Besides trekking in Ladakh, you can indulge in a series of adventure sports such as biking, water rafting, safaris, etc. Also known as the ‘Land of Passes, Ladakh forms an alluring part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.  

    Situated at an elevation of 2750 - 7672 meters above sea level, Ladakh is indeed blessed with incredible topography that comprises of hilly terrains, high altitude peaks and the lush green grasslands. Adventure fanatics from across the globe visit Ladakh as there are plethora of trek trails and trekking options available here.

    Set amidst snow capped hills, Ladakh is the center of Tibetan Buddhist culture. It is dotted with a number of colorful monasteries. Some of the popular tourist hotspots in Ladakh include Alchi and Nubra Valley. Apart from this, Ladakh is also a land that is popular for the rich heritage and culture. It is home to the rare wildlife including the Tibetan antelope, ibex and yak.

    Still unadulterated by modernity, Ladakh is where you’ll experience life coming to a standstill when you directly communicate with the nature and serenity around.


  • 04 Kullu

    1463258371_kullu.jpg
    Image Credit : 

    Kullu is the bustling administrative capital of the Kullu Valley that offers a gritty change from the bohemian holiday resorts that can be found everywhere else in the valley. In the months of October, Kullu stages the most fascinating and the colorful festival – The Kullu Dussehra.

    In the eastern side of the Kullu runs down the majestic River Beas and its ancillary river, the Sarvari River passes across the northern and the southern halves of Kullu. On the southern half you can also find the tourist office, taxi stands, an array of hotels and restaurants as well as Dussehra grounds – there are two vast spread out lands adjoining each other). Towards the north lies the Raghunath Temple and the bus station. There is a footbridge in proximity to the bus station which lead you to the bazaar street and brings you out towards the Hotel Shobla International.

    Situated at altitude of 1230 meters above the sea level, this along with Manali is a beautiful nature lover’s paradise. Brimming with wonderful climate, lush green surroundings and pristine river streams, it is indeed one of the top spots of Himachal Pradesh. Anyone seeking respite from the warm climate of the planes can head to this tourist attraction.


  • 05 Shimla

    1463258897_shimla.jpg
    Image Credit : mythic_moonlight - Flickr

    The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla was once the summer capital of the country. Located around 2,205m above the sea level, this hill station was one of the most celebrated summer escapades of the British officials. Its fascinating snow-clad peaks, picturesque valleys and phenomenal climate make it one of the most popular hill stations around Delhi.

    Attractions: Christ Church, Anand Vilas, Chali, Temples, Waterfalls, Scandal Point and Museum

    Activities: Sightseeing, Ice Skating, Toy Train Ride, Church Visit, Hiking and Local Shopping

    Distance from Delhi: 358km

    Best time to visit: October to June


  • 06 Dharamshala

  • 07 Chandigarh

  • 08 Srinagar

  • 09 Mcleodganj

    1464189979_Triund_Camping.jpg
    Image Credit : 

    McLeodganj is a tranquil hill station in Himachal Pradesh that has a strong Buddhist influence. There are many places to see and outdoor activities to do in Mcleodganj and Dharamshala, which is the main city in which this suburb is situated. This is a seat of the Tibetan spiritual teacher, Dalai Lama. It has Tibetan and Buddhist culture and many monasteries and ancient monuments spread across this town. You can explore this nature’s paradise, shop for local artifacts and handicraft items, and go on trekking tours in this hill station. Also, known as Little Lhasa, the locals have a peaceful attitude towards tourists. There are tribes, Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian settlements in this hill station. This suburb was named after the British lieutenant, David McLeod who founded this retreat in the 18th century.

    McLeodganj is now an important international tourist destination for its water sports, sightseeing, and other activities. It is the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile, it means that once, the Tibetan freedom is restored, the government will be resolved. You can get a complete view of the Tibetan culture, their religious rituals, their meditative music, cuisine, and more when you visit this hill station.


  • 10 Kasol

  • 11 Lahaul - Spiti

  • 12 Bir - Billing

  • 13 Dalhouise

  • 14 Malana

    Malana.jpg
    Image Credit : 

    An ancient village nestled away amidst the towering mountains of Himachal Pradesh, Malana is rather famous as the perfect holiday destination for hipsters. The location is surrounded by lush, green trees and incredible valleys, making it apt for those who love the nature in its truest essence. The village is bordered by Parvati valley on the north-east and Kullu valley on the other side with peaks of Cahndrakhani and Deotibba shadowing the tiny, paradise of India.

    Apart from the natural beauty, Malana is also known for its unique lifestyle and social structure that the locals essentially follow. Their dressing sense, the kind of food they eat, the festivals they celebrate, the way those festivals are celebrated and more reflect the vibrant culture and tradition that is quite unique to the place. This perfect holiday destination is situated at a height of 2,652 meters i.e. approximately 8,701ft above the sea level. There is so much beauty underlying in this town that there are numerous documentaries made on this town, depicting the wonders that Malana encompasses. A few popular documentaries that interested readers can check out are: Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village and Malana, A lost identity.

    The traditional language spoken in Malana is Kanashi. Apart from that, there is much history that lies behind the existence of this beautiful location. Local legends suggest, the revered sage namely Jamlu Rishi was a resident on this place and he has been given major credits for setting up the rules, traditions and culture among other regulations of Malana. Locals even claim that Malana reflects the world’s oldest democracies with a well-established parliamentary system as well. Malana is believed to have held immense respect during the pre-Aryan times.


  • 15 Amritsar