Kargil | Aryans Villages

Aryans villages are situated near the India – Pakistan Line of Control ( LOC ), it is a 65 km drive from Kargil, after crossing over the Humboting-La pass. Just before the villages on the banks of river Sindhu (Indus) a road goes up to Batalik village on LOC it is a restricted area.  Darchik village is on the left bank of river. there are other Aryans villages within 45-50 km Garkon , Dah and Hanu and few more at some distance on the banks of Sindhu river.

Red Aryan Lady from Darchik village, Batalik, Kargil

Red Aryan Lady from Darchik village, Batalik, Kargil

 

Red Aryan Man from Darchik village, Batalik, Kargil

Red Aryan Man from Darchik village, Batalik, Kargil

Settlers of these villages are different from other villagers in neighboring villages , they are Brokpa, Dard people claim to have migrated from Gilgit , they have lived in isolation in their inaccessible villages , they claim to be pure bloodline of Aryans, they also claim to be the descendants from Alexander’s army solders who never returned with their contingent while retreating in 326 BC from the banks of river Indus ( Sindhu) , they also call them self “Minaro”. According to a legend there were three brothers Dulo, Galo and Melo who came in search of fertile land and got settled here and people from these villages are their decedents.

Lady from Red Aryans Darichik village, Batalik, Kargil

Lady from Red Aryans Darichik village, Batalik, Kargil

Red Aryans village , Garkon, young man , Batalik, Kargil

Red Aryans village , Garkon, young man , Batalik, Kargil

 

These people are tall, high cheek bone, green or blue eyes, fair complexion and few have blonde hair, they are not shy of wearing the modern cloths but their traditional dress men wear a long maroon gown a cloth tied on waist, woolen trouser , women weat a long gown made of goat skin without arms , decorated with shells, silver and pearl ornaments . The headgear called “Tepi” is with silver base decorated with fresh and dried flowers from the mountains , they wear sheep wool shoes.

Red Aryans village, Darchik, Buddhist monastery, Batalik, Kargil

Red Aryans village, Darchik, Buddhist monastery, Batalik, Kargil

 

They are nature lovers strict vegetarians except for their festival “Bon Na” when they sacrifice a goat to their God “La”, they follow “Bon” which is older than but similar to Buddhism of Tibet , they follow the Tibetan solar calendar and celebrate the “Lohsar” the Tibetan New Year , they also use “Swastika” sign in their celebrations probably this is the one of the identity their being Aryans. Ibex are sacred for them

Red Aryans village Garkon, school kids, Batalik, Kargil

Red Aryans village Garkon, school kids, Batalik, Kargil

 

These villages are in a narrow valley with warm weather due to low altitude, dry rocks on higher reaches but these villages are green due to their positions near the drains pouring their water in Sindhu river. they grow Millet, Barley, Apples, Apricot, Walnut, grapes, tomatoes , they take two crops in a year. they extract oil from Apricot seed which is therapeutic and used as medicine, their staple food is roasted barley flour with salted butter tea (cha tsampa) . they do not consume Cow milk or its products , eggs and chicken, they take goat milk,  Festivals are celebrated with wine of grapes ( gunchang), they are experts in making Apricot red and white wine . Dancing and singing is part of any celebrations with drums and pipe called “Dingjangs”

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Chardham Helicopter Service

Chardham Helicopter Service from Dehradun started from 05 MAY 2017

The Holy Yatra Chardhma for the year 2017 starts from 05 MAY with the opening of Kapat at Sri Yamunotri ,  Sri Gangotri,  Sri Kedarnath and  Sri Badrinath .

Take Off from Shastradhara Helipad

To operate the Helicopter charters in this area the permission is granted by the DGCA of Govt. of India,  before the operations starts the Govt. Officials inspect the helipads situated at Kharsali ( Yamunotri ) Harsil ( Gangotri ) Guptkashi ( Phata, Sitapuri, Sirsi) Sri Kedarnath and the Sri Badrinath ,  these helipads are declared fit, only then the flights operations are allowed.

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There is a regular Shuttle service between Guptkashi and Sri Kedarnath but other places only chartered flights are allowed. There is difference between Chartered and Shuttle Service.

View of Sri Badrinath from a Helicopter

Normally following services are offered as chartered Service

a. Dehradun – Yamunatri – Dehradun  same day return

b. Dehradun – Gangotri – Dehradun  same day return

c. Dehradun – Yamunotri – Gangotri – Dehradun same day return

d. Dehradun – Sri Kedarnath – Dehradun same day return

e. Dehradun – Sri Badrinath – Dehradun same day return

f. Dehradun – Sri Badrinath – Sri Kedarnath – Dehradun same day return

g. Dehradun – Yamunotri – Gangotri – Sri Kedarnath – Sri Badrinath – Dehradun

Two days trip and Four days trip .

f. Guptkashi – Sri Kedarnath – Guptkashi Shuttle Service 

The Helipad at Yamunotri is at Kharsali about 7 km before the main temple , Palki, Horses and Pitthoos are available from here

The Helipad at Gangotri is at Harsil about 24 km from the main temple , Jeeps, Cars are available from here

The Helipad at Sri Kedarnath is about 1 km from the main temple, it is a easy walk or Pitthoos are available

The Helipad at Sri Badrinath is about 1.5 km from the temple , Car, Jeeps are available.

To book your charter / Shuttle service, visit our website  yatrachardham.com 

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Travel preparations Yatra Chardham

Yatra Chardham is a one of the wish of a Sanatan Hindu to undertake at least once in life time, one is to prepare well in advance to undertake this journey which is in high Himalayas covered with snow and thin air, less in oxygen.  Travelling at this height certain precautions and preparations are required  to make the body capable to face the harsh weather, biting cold, thin air less in oxygen and  able to climb the steep trek .

Journey starts from Hardwar / Rishikesh after Bio-metric Registration and getting the Photo I-Card issued from the Uttrakhand Govt. which is to be carried in person throughout the journey .

Yamunotri Temple

Yamunotri Temple

The trek to  Yamunotri Dahm is the small but tough trek of 6 km from Janki Chatti .

 

Shri Badri Vishal Dham , Sri Badrinath Dham

All four Dhams are situated at a height , Yamunotri 3235 meters , Gangotri 3042 meters, Sri Kedarnath 3581 meters and Sri Badrinath 3133 meters . all these places are covered under the snow in the winters ,temperature in the months of May – June is around 15 degree Celsius during the day and at night drops down to 2-3 degree Celsius, rain and strong  winds are  very cold, there are few shelters which  become over crowded or unable to accommodate the pilgrims . Treks are well maintained but when it rains the mud from the slops make it slippery .

People planing to have their pilgrimage for Yatra Chardham this year must prepare them self to under take a 12 days journey on bumpy mountain roads , drastic change in temperature and height ,  acclimatization to this weather and atmosphere is required before leaving for this journey .

Start daily walk with comfortable rubber sole shoes , physical exercises  for legs calf and thigh muscles and Breathing yoga exercises such as Pranayam to be done 20-30 days before leaving for the  journey. Sandles, Chapples are strictly no for walking,  ladies must trim their toe nails .

Must wear Warm woolen clothes , woolen socks , woolen cap, goggles , water proof  jacket and trouser, keep yourself as light as possible while walking up in the Himalayas .

Hot water bottle is required at Sri Kedarnath to keep the body warm where fire or heaters are not allowed in the rooms.

In the months of May and June there is a heavy rush due to school holidays, unpredictable rains,  loose rocks falling on roads  at many places results in road blocks for hours, pilgrims are advised to carry some biscuits, dry fruits etc. those carrying  battery  operated instruments i.e. camera, mobile phone etc. must carry additional batteries, have a BSNL / Idea SIM card in your phone as it works at all these places.

When walking try to make slow walk taking short breaks and keep drinking liquids and have deep breaths .

One is to take care of Mules and Palki carried by porters at Yamunotri and Sri Kedarnath .

Try to save yourself from getting wet in rain water .

Carry your personal medicines in a small bag, if advised by your doctor you may purchase small Oxygen cylinder at Hardwar or Rishikesh.

Must carry your photo ID proof  from the year 2014 the Yatra Registration is made compulsory .

Select your accommodations in good hotels with attached private facilities with availability of hot water for bath, in the month of May and June  try to get AC buses up to Haridwar / Rishikesh , up in the hills AC  is not operated  in the buses. The Puja and Priority Darshan charges are displayed at all places and Administration issues official  receipt for the money paid.

If one take above mentioned precautions, will enjoy more and not only have darshan of  Lords but also the beautiful landscapes of Himalayas  will keep you refreshed through out your journey.

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Kargil | 5th Century Lord Buddha’s Rock statues

Kargil 5th century rock carved out statues are the only three statues left in the world after Bamiyan Buddha’s statues of 5th century were destroyed in Afghanistan .

Kargil in Ladakh region of India is an ancient town situated on the junction and a transit point to the Silk route, traders from Central Asia, China, Tibet, Zanskar, North India traded the spices, tea, textile, rugs, dyes,  through Kargil till 1947. Kargil which was also known as Purig , the popular language spoken here is Balti-Purig which is a dialect of a Tibetian , Zanskar people speak Bhoto . After the Shia Islam was introduced around 13th Century and in 16th Century The King Thi Namgyal directed his people conversion from Buddhist to Shia Islam, lots of Persian words and Phrases become part of the daily speaking language , the social celebrations like marriages still have Islamic and Buddhist common rituals.

There are many statues and impressions which were made during the Buddhism period are beautiful rock carved statues of Maitreya Buddha exhibiting the skill and dedication of artists and devotion of people from that period.

42 Kms. from Kargil town is a village Karstekhar near Sankoo, on Kargil – Suru valley road , here a ten meter tall statue of Maitreya Buddha is cut out from a greyish yellow rock , it has been carved by the skillful artists , holes around it suggest that scaffolds were used to get such a tall statue carved out with very fine details on face, it is supposed to be carved in 7th Century.

Matreya Buddha, Chamba statue, Karstekhar, Sankoo, Suru valley, Kargil

Maitreya Buddha, Chamba statue, Karstekhar, Sankoo, Suru valley, Kargil

The Bodhistva Maitreya is in “Abhya Mudra” with right hand  and left hand is carrying a “Kamandal” the water carrying pot , there are “Rudraksha Mala” tied on wrist and arm above the elbow , here we see “Janeu” and “Kardhani” the waist band are also of “Rudraksha” , decorative necklace and a headgear . Knotted hair are falling over the shoulders.

 

Matreya Buddha, Chamba statue, Kartsekhar, Sankoo, Suru valley, Kargil

Maitreya Buddha, Chamba statue, Kartsekhar, Sankoo, Suru valley, Kargil

 

Matreya Buddha, Chamba statue, apati village, Sod valley, Kargil

Maitreya Buddha, Chamba statue, apati village, Sod valley, Kargil

Apati village is about 25 km from Kargil, one is to walk through a small green village settled along a water stream, after crossing the village and drain a beautiful Maitreya Buddha statue with right hand is in “Abhay Mudra” and in left hand is a “Kamandal” to carry water, the eyes are protruded out like Frog eyes, one can see the red colour in the parts above the shoulders and on the wall behind which has faded out with time .

 

Matreya Buddha, Chamba statue, Mulbek, Kargil

Matreya Buddha, Chamba statue, Mulbek, Kargil

Mulbek is 42 km from Kargil on Srinagar-Leh highway , The Maitreya Buddha 9 meters tall  is carved out in a rock with four arms , first right hand is in “Varada Mudra” , second right hand carrying “Rudraksha Mala” the Rosary, first left hand is carrying the “Kamandal” the water pot and second left hand is carrying branch with leaves. both the arms above the elbow and wrist are having Rudrasha mala tied around ,long ears are with “Kundals” ear rings ,neck is adorned with decorative necklaces . one can see a “Janeu” hanging from left shoulder till below the naval . knotted hair are falling over the shoulders . The statue here is completely different from Apati and Kartsekhar statues.

Drass is 65 km from Kargil on Leh-Srinagar highway , there are few stone statues partly recognizable as a Maitreya Buddha , Avalokivtesara , a horse rider , a Lotus flower and a stupa. These figures are supposed to be of pre Tibetan influence in the valley .

These three Buddhist rock carved statues in Kargil , India are only left in the world after the demolition of Bamiyan Buddha statue in Afghanistan .

 

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What not to be missed in Kargil

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What not to be missed in Kargil , most of the tourist travelling by road Srinagar / Leh use Kargil as a overnight   halt because of not much information available with the travel agents , situated on the midway on Srinagar – Leh highway, ancient town which had trading links with Tibet, China , Central Asia and India has a long history. Before Shia Islam established in 16th century, Buddhism was followed and still the natives have common rituals in marriages and other celebrations .

Kargil city on the banks of Suru river

Kargil city on the banks of Suru river

Present Kargil district is group of small kingdoms have majestic landscape , many little known rarely explored yet beautiful interesting stories attached to history, religious monuments, tribes, ethnic groups, battle fields, grass meadows, high mountains, glaciers, apricot orchards, barley and wheat fields .

Kargil Heritage walk takes you around the old bazar of small shops constructed of mud and wood, old gurudwara and mosque with common wall, Balti Bazar the old trading houses, Munshi Aziz Bhatt Sarai where traders from Tibet, China, Central Asia use to stay , old bridge over Suru river and Munshi Aziz Bhat heritage museum .

Drass is the second highest cold inhabited place in the world, Kargil war memorial in the memory of soldiers who sacrificed their life for the nation is at the base of Tololing , here the names with their Regiments are engraved on stone slabs .

Dropti Kund is supposed to be associated with Hindu epic Mahabharata queen Dropti, a water lake which changes its color with the change in the season. The locals trust that if a childless couple consumes  water from here get blessed with a child .

Dropti Kund Drass , Kargil

Dropti Kund Drass , Kargil

Bhim Bhat is seven feet long black cylindrical rock, supposed to be a body part Bhim from the epic Mahabharata, locals trust that a childless lady can conceive if she consumes the dust from the rock. Even when a goat or a cow stops giving milk, the locals feed them with the grass from its proximity to get it to start lactating again.

Bheembhat Drass village Kargil

Bheembhat Drass village Kargil

Manman Pass is the point from where one can have beautiful views of Dras valley, Tololing, Rhino Knob, Tiger hill and snow laden peaks across the Line of Control between India and Pakistan.

Kaksar village on the banks of Shingo river, is the ancient village still having the old houses. This village is on the Line of Control and one can see the territory across the line of control. The villagers have lots of stories and memories of Kargil war and every year organise  Shaheed Capt. Saurabh Kalia Memorial Cricket Tournament in the memory of the Kargil war Heros . Shingo river originates from the Pakistan occupied Kashmir and enters India near this village, meets the Drass river then merges with Suru river and re-enters Pakistan occupied Kashmir again near Hundarman.

LOC Village Kaksar , Kargil

LOC Village Kaksar , Kargil

Hundarman village is recorded to be a about six hundred years old , from far it appears to be a cluster of separate  houses but in fact it is one interconnected house for a family, this village is on LOC and one can see a POK village known as Brolmo where every Friday one can see a large gathering at Shekh Ali’s mazar .

Apati village is an ancient village have a Ghandhara style Maitryea Buddha rock cut statue supposed to be of 8th century one of the three statutes in Kargil area left in the world .

Lord Buddha's statue at Apati village Kargil

Lord Buddha’s statue at Apati village Kargil

Aryan’s villages There are few villages (Dha Hanu, Garkone, Darchik) along the Sindhu ( Indus ) river near Batalik , people living here are Dards call themselves pure Aryans Brokpa, are tall and fair different in looks, traditions,cloths different language and their marriages are among their four villages only.

Lady in traditional gear Aryan’s village

Karche khar  a small ancient village have a 7 meter tall lord Buddha’s rock cut statue of 7th century it has fine details, it is one of the three rock cut statue in Kargil area left in the world .

Lord Buddha's rock cut statue at Karchekhar village Kargil

Lord Buddha’s rock cut statue at Karchekhar village Kargil

Suru Valley  is  also called the Gulmarg of Ladakh with dense plantation of Popular and Willow trees , it is full of Myricarea and wild roses , two side snow caped mountains and large number of Suru river tributaries , it is a famous picnic spot and pilgrims come here to pay their respect at the tomb of Syed Mir Hashim a Muslim scholar saint who imparted the Islamic teachings in this area .

Syed Mir Hashim Tomb Kargil

Syed Mir Hashim Tomb Kargil

Trespone is a picturesque village with a beautiful mix of Tibetan Islamic architecture famous Imambara over a hilltop  it is also a place where people still make a traditional Scythian Bow by using mulberry frame and Ibex horn which is highly tensile and strong known as Scythian Bow it is used for the annual archery competitions held in almost all the villages in Kargil region .

Parkachic Village is at the end of Suru valley famous for its glacier and beautiful views of twin peaks of Karakoram range Nun (7135 mtr) Kun (7077 mtr) .

Mulbek is on National highway to Leh here is the 9 meter tall Chamba statue of lord Budhha of 7-8th century one of the three rock cut statues left in Kargil of lord Buddha in the world .

Lord Buddha's statue at Mulbek village Kargil

Lord Buddha’s statue at Mulbek village Kargil

One can reach Kargil throughout the year by air from Leh , by road from Srinagar Zoji-la pass is closed from around December first week till April end and from Manali roads closes around October till end of May every year .

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Kargil | Sayed Mir Hashim Tomb | Suru Valley

Sayed Mir Hashim a Islamic preacher and scholar came to Suru Kurchay upon invitation from Thi Namgyal a Buddhist king of Purig Kurchay,king had one of  Muslim queen Rigyal Khatoon also known as Thi Lah Khatoon wanted him to educate and train their son Thi Mohammad Sultan in 17th century .

Dargah Sayed Mir Hashim , Karpokhar, Sankoo Valley, Kargil

Dargah Sayed Mir Hashim , Karpokhar, Sankoo Valley, Kargil

Sayed Mir Hashim is decedent Mir Shamsuddin Iraqi who came to Kashmir to preach Islamic teachings and made lots of followers , Sayed Mir Hashim came to the Suru with his disciple Akhoon Fazil , due to their teachings and training Thi Mohammad Sultan became a popular king and worked to spread Islam in the valley .

Dargah Sayed Mir Hashim Karpokhar, Sankoo valley, Kargil

Dargah Sayed Mir Hashim Karpokhar, Sankoo valley, Kargil

Sayed Mir Hashim was then invited by King of Wakha Regyalde Cho on the birth of his son Babar Khan to bless the newly born, after staying for some time and preaching Islam he left Akhoon Fazil at Wakha and return to Suru Karchay and stayed here till his death, his Tomb is located at Karpo Kharon near a small town name Sankoo in Suru valley 42 km from Kargil . It is a shrine with great reverence for the people of Ladakh .

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Kargil | Bheem Bat | Drass Valley

Bheem Bat is in Drass Valley is about 2 km from the Kargil War memorial 53 km from Kargil very close to the National Highway 1D to Drass – Kargil – Leh.

 

Bheem Beda, Drass Valley, Karakoram range backdrop, Kargil

Kargil Bheem Bat, Drass Valley, Karakoram range in backdrop, Kargil

While travelling from Drass to Kargil about two km from the Drass War Memorial , on the right hand of highway there is a beautiful green meadow , one is to walk about two hundred meters in the open green area to reach near the Drass river, just before the gorge is a cylindrical black rock lying on ground about 7 ft. in length encircled by a wall of stones is Bheem Bat .

Bheem Beda , Drass Valley , Kargil

Bheem Bat , Drass Valley , Kargil

It is a piece of rock as per legend goes, it is a body part of Bheem a Pandava brother from epic Mahabharat , it moved overnight from the other side of mountain by itself. It is treated as a holy relic, locals Muslims and Buddhists believe that it has healing powers. the grass and mud around it is used in treating the Goats and Cows for increasing the quantity of milk .

It is also believed that consuming the scratched dust from this rock by a childless lady results in early conceiving .

 

Locals and the army men posted in this area visit this place regularly to pay their respect by lighting the incense sticks and oil lamps .

Drass Valley is a surrounded by snow caped mountains of Karakoram range , river Drass flows through it , one can enjoy the beautiful views of Tiger hill, Rhino Knobb, Tololing one one side and on the other side is Mun mun pass from where one can have view of beautifull Drass valley and India – Pakistan Line of control .

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Lamayuru Gompa , Monastery, Ladakh

 Lamayuru is one of the largest and oldest gompa in Ladakh, situated in Kargil district on Srinagar- Leh highway at a height of 3510 meters,127 km from Leh about 15 Km from Fotu-La, it was originally the Bonpo Monastery   called gYung-drung Monastery, a Swastika symbol and  gYung drung bon  is the name of the Bon religion , The Maha Sidhachrya Naropa founded the Lamayuru Monastery , he was a Buddhist scholar from Nalanda University who came here in search for his guru Tilopa, a master of Tantra,  the oldest temple  Seng-ge-sgang  was built by Monk Rinchen Zangpo who came from Tibet , great translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan, he under the patronage  from  King of Ladakh founded 108 Gompas in Ladakh, Spiti , Kinaur and Zanskar region.

Lamayuru Gompa ( Monastery)

The monastery is made up of a number of shrines and also has a very rich collection of thankas and magnificent wall paintings.

The Dukhang (Assembly hall) is on the right side of the courtyard  with a colourful depiction of the Guardians of the Four Directions. The mural on the left wall of the verandah depicts the proper way for a lama to live ,The temple has an image of Vairocana or the Teaching Buddha is seated on a lion serving as a throne and a Garuda (mythical bird) and sea monsters surround his head . In the wall on the right side of the Dukhang is a small cave with three statues known as Naropa’s cave, where he is supposed to have meditated ,  other two statues are of Marpa (Naropa’s student who became a translator of religious texts and famous poet) and Mila Ras-pa (Marpa’s student and a spiritual head of the red-hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism). The right side of the Dukhang has three complete sets of the Kandshur (the 108 volumes of Buddha’s teachings)

Lamayuru Gompa Assembly hall

 

Stupas at Lamayuru Gompa

Legend is that this valley there use to be a lake  at the time of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha). Nags (holy serpents) used to reside in the lake. Bodhisattva Madhyantaka pridicted that  the lake would eventually be dried, making way for the construction of a Buddhist monastery.  Maha Siddhacharya Naropa,  meditated for years in one of the caves  , a crack developed in the hillside surrounding the lake. When the lake dried out he found a dead  tiger, he constructed the first temple at this site , known as the Singhe Ghang (Lion Mound).  Later, Dharmaraja Jamyang Namgial offered the monastery to Chosje Danma and started  observance of the rituals of the Digung Kargyud School, the monastery was  renamed as Yungdrung Tharpaling. At present the Lamayuru Monastery is served by the successive reincarnations of Skyabsje Toldan Rinpoche.

Mahasidhacharya Naropa meditated in this cave

Lamayuru Gompa plays host a masked dance, The Yundrung Kabgyad festival which takes place on the 17th and 18th day of the 5th month of Tibetan lunar calendar which falls in the month of July. The monks from the monasteries of the nearby areas also come to take part in the celebrations.

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Mulbek , Ladakh

Mulbek is located on a Srinagar – Leh NH 1 D National Highway 45 km from Kargil and and  Leh is further 197 km , it is at an altitude of 3304 meters from sea , just a kilometer from the town is the famous statue of Chamba  the figure of Maitreya Budha , represents the important part of Gandhara Art , on the main National highway.

Rock cut 9 meters tall statue of “Future Budha” the Maitreya

The scholars believe it to be of 8th centenary but there is a thought it is of a Kushan period about 1800 years old.

Mulbek rock carved Buddha

There is an inscription on a near by rocks  orders from the King  Lde for not to sacrifice a goat at the altar of a deity , there is also an inscription that this order of King is too hard if goat is not sacrificed what will the deity say .

 Shergol It is a  picturesque village of the Wakha river Valley  it  is situated across the river, right of the Kargil-Leh road. This village is full of Popalar trees , orchards of Walnut and Apricots The main attraction is a cave monastery which is visible from a far as a white speck against the vertically rising ochre hill from which it appears to hanging  out. Below this small monastery is a larger Buddhist nunnery with about a dozen residents. The village is accessible by the motorable road that branches off from the Kargil-Leh road, about 5 km before  Mulbek. Shergol is a convenient base for an exciting 4-day trek across the mountain range into the Suru valley. It is also the  base for visiting Urgyan-Dzong, a meditation retreat lying deep inside the mountains surrounding the Wakha River valley.

Nature’s art , Rock called Mother and Child at Mulbek

 Wakha Rgyal tucked away inside the picturesque upper part of the Wakha Valley, up streams of Mulbek.                         Mulbek Gompa : Situated  atop a rocky cliff, Mulbek Gompa (monastery) dominates the valley. It is easy to see why in bygone times this site served as an outpost to guard the caravan route. Like all Buddhists monasteries it is adorned by frescoes and statues .

Shergol Cave Monastery

Rgyal gives the appearance of a medieval settlement of cave dwellings transported in to the modern times with some improvements and extensions. The houses, neatly white-washed and closely stacked, are dug into the sheer face of a vertical cliff that rises high above the green valley . From a far the village looks like a colony of beehives hanging from the  Cliff side

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Drass Valley , Ladakh

Drass is a small town on Srinagar – Leh National Highway 1D , 147 km from Srinagar and 60 km from Kargil at a height of 3230 meters from sea level  , it is also called the Himalayan gateway to Ladakh , it starts from Zoji-la and extends till Kargil , it is the second highest coldest inhabited place after Siberia on earth , the temperature goes down till minus 60 degree centigrade in winters , in the local Baltic language Dras means ” the Hell” There are heavy snow fall and storms from November to April May . During spring and summer, the valley transforms into lush green Meadows splashed with a variety of fragrant wild flowers

Drass River originates from the Machoi glacier near the  Zozila Pass. The river is joined  by many other rivers and streams flowing in from snowfields from the nearby mountains. The river Shigar flows in from the north drains and joins it in the Drass valley.

The Puga Valley is famous for its hot water springs ,visitors come to this valley for a bath in these springs as this is known to help people suffering from rheumatism and skin diseases , Drass is a convenient base for a 3-day long trek to Suru valley This trek passes through beautiful upland villages and wild flower  meadows on both sides of the  Umba  – La pass ( 4,500 meters )

 

Dras War Memorial at the base of Tololing Ridge

The town got famous after the 1999 Kargil War when it was being shelled by infiltrators till the Indian Army recaptured the three heights, namely Tololing, Tiger Hill and The Three Pimples overlooking National Highway 1D that passes through Drass.

 

View of Tiger Hill from Srinagar – Leh Highway 1D

 

Tiger Hill view from Srinagar-Leh Highway 1D

Its inhabitants are mainly of the Dard origin , an Aryan race that migrated from Central Asian steppes. They speak Shina ,belongs to the Indo-European linguistic family. Their ancestral sport, horse-polo that the Dard plays with particular zeal, resembles our modern polo . The  people inhabiting these regions faces  the harshness of the valley’s winter; negotiate the formidable pass to transport a trader’s merchandise. The citizens of Drass can be described as the guardians of Ladakh’s gateway.

Tourism is being promoted in this region by organizing the Polo matches among the villages and teams from outside the valley. Polo stadium is named  after an army officer Lt. Conolel Vishwanathan who sacrificed his life to push the Pakistani intruders out of this valley in 1999 .

For more details and packages contact +91-9810506646

Delhi Office contact 011 – 45725562, 45725563, 45725564

Callers from Outside India +44 7700093414

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

Visit our website : http://promarktravels.com 

Blog: http://promarktravels.com/blog