Kargil, a place which instantly reminds one of battles and a long enduring struggle for control. But this destination is beyond weapons and wars. Kargil is the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh and acts as an important transit hub, for people travelling to and from Leh, Srinagar and Padum in Zanskar. Kargil came to the limelight in 1999 on account of Conflict with Pakistani based militant when the towns, and surrounding areas, were shelled. Kargil is an utterly stunning location. And even though it might be small it leaves one with big memories. The cool heaviness in the air, the mountains, River Suru and dramatic past are enough for a traveler to vanish in a time which existed decades ago.
The Buddhist Monasteries around the city are downright gorgeous. A few of these include the Sani, Zongkhul, Rangdum, Zangla, Phugtal and Mulbekh which narrate how potent Buddhism was once in Ladakh. The city lies in a close to the Line of Control, an interesting as well as crucial place when it comes to Post Independence History. Travelers are also recommended to visit the Suru Valley to observe the dazzling landscapes of snow clad peaks and lush green fields. Also there are various mountaineering expeditions happening around the city, a lovely opportunity for travelers to explore the city on foot.
There are no luxury accommodation options present in Kargil and those present are quite basic and over-priced. A newly opened Kargil Tourist Camp is a good option but needs to be reserved well in advance.
The shopping experience in Kargil is quite unique; travelers can witness the retail extravagance while sipping hot beverages in the bazaar. Handicraft items, carpets and shawls are some products one should definitely check out. Also there are a myriad of creative hand made products, dry fruits and jams, kettles and hookahs which interest many travelers. Kargil is about 204 kilometers away from Srinagar, and 235 kilometers away from the city of Leh, travelers can accordingly prioritize but Kargil is highly recommended if one happens to be in Ladakh. So the next time you’re in Kargil and your cell reception sucks, put that phone down, take that camera and GET OUTSIDE.