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. Kargil is the second largest town in Ladakh and was once a flourishing and an important town lying on the ancient trade routes between India, China and Central Asia. The town has regained its prominence after it was opened to foreign tourists in 1974.
Following are 5 major attractions in and around Kargil that can be explored if you happen to visit this town:
Pashkum is located 15 km from Kargil on the Leh road. It is a historical village with beautiful ruins of castles on hillocks, reminding visitors of its glorious past.
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.
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.
4. 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.
5. Rgyal Wakha
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.