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Kargil Tourism And Travel Guide
3.5° C / 38.4° F
March to June
2 to 3 Days
Kushhok Bakula Rimpochhe Airport (219 kms)
Jammu Tawai (739 kms)
Spanning across 15,000 km of area, Kargil is the second largest town in Ladakh division after Leh. It is nestled in the Himalayas at an altitude of 8780 feet on the banks of River Suru. It does not have a station or an airport and is accessible only by road from neighbouring cities. The road too remains closed for a major part of the year due to heavy snowfall. It boasts of pleasant summers and freezing winters. Tourism in Kargil has a number of attractions for travellers. It has beautiful tourist places and a number of sporting activities to indulge in during the stay. Here is a snippet of travel guide in Kargil.
How to Reach
The closest airport to Kargil is 219 km away in Leh. Another popular airport frequently accessed to reach Kargil is Srinagar airport which is 234 km away. Both these airports operate regular flights to and from neighbouring and other major cities of the country. From the airport, tourists can hire taxis or take buses to reach Kargil.
The closest railway station to Kargil is Jammu Tawai in Jammu. Jammu is well connected by rail with other cities. Rajdhani, Mumbai Central-Jammu Tawi Swaraj Express operate regularly between Jammu and Delhi and Mumbai. The station is 739 km away and tourists have to hire taxis to reach Kargil from Jammu Tawi.
Kargil is accessible only via road from neighbouring towns, districts and cities. Private and public coaches and cars are the only way to reach Kargil from places like Srinagar, Leh and Jammu.
The best way to explore and enjoy the charm of Kargil is by foot. Walking in the fresh unpolluted environs is extremely rejuvenating. However taxis are also available for sightseeing for those who prefer not to walk. There are buses also connecting different tourist spots in the area.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (March to June):
Summer is the most favourable time to visit Kargil. After the extremely chilly winters and months of heavy snowfall and being covered under snow, summer comes as a welcome break for the inhabitants. The highways which remain closed during winter clear up. Summer is pleasant and mild and perfect for enjoying the beauty and serenity of Kargil and surrounding areas.
Monsoon (July to September):
Kargil experiences heavy rainfall during monsoon. There are sudden cloudbursts and landslides in the mountainous regions increasing risks of accidents. Travel is not recommended during these months as landslides can cause mayhem.
Winter (October to February):
Winter is not the time to visit Kargil. It is extremely harsh and chilly. Temperatures start dropping steadily from November onwards. By January temperatures hit a low of -50°C. The highway connecting Kargil with adjacent areas closes down due to heavy snowfall and remains inaccessible till the onset of summer.
Things to Do
Trekking is one of the most challenging yet rejuvenating experiences in Kargil. The stunning landscape makes trekking all the more exciting. Some major treks originate here and the popular trails are Leh-Lamayuru, Padum-Lamayuru, Padum-Hemis, Sanjaru-Dras, NunKun etc.
River rafting is another exciting adventure activity which tourists can indulge in while in Kargil. Zanskar River is ideal for rafting and offers a stunning view of the surrounding landscape and rugged peaks. From Remla the rafters move on to Karsha, Pidmu, Nyerak before finishing at Nimmu. The rafting will give you an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the beautiful waterfall at the confluence of Zanskar and Markha Rivers.
The more adventurous of the travellers can opt for mountaineering as an activity while in Kargil. Depending upon expertise, people can choose altitude of their choice, from low to high. It is advisable that interested mountaineers take along a specialist who can guide them to prevent any unforeseen mishaps. The group will meet at the base camp from where they will proceed upwards.
Buddhism is among the actively followed religions in the region. Kargil boasts of some beautiful monasteries and a tour of these while in the region is highly recommended. The 18th century Rangdum Monastery in Suru Valley standing amidst fascinating landscape; the Mulbekh Monastery at an altitude of 3304 m housing a 9 m tall statue of Maitrye Buddha and the Lamayuru Monastery on Srinagar-Leh Road fills one with a sense of peace and serenity that is extremely therapeutic.
Eating in Kargil
The food consumed here is rich, bursting with local flavours. There is a strong Tibetan, Mughlai, Kashmiri and Ladakhi influence in the food, keeping with its rich cultural tradition. For meat lovers, Kargil is the place to be in as it has a number of eateries lined up near Kargil main bazaar. Thukpa, momo, khulaq etc are some of the lip-smacking dishes found here.
Shopping in Kargil
Shopping in Kargil should not be given a miss. The bazaars have some exciting shops lined up selling a variety of products and handicrafts. From Kashmiri shawls and carpets to hookahs and tobacco pouches, from semi precious stones to apricot jams and dry fruits, Kargil has everything for tourists to choose from. The market area is bustling with life and energy and filled with colours.