Majuli|Mishing Traditional Apong Beer

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Apong is the traditional rice beer ( country liquor) of Mishing tribe of Majuli , Apong forms an integral part of the culture, traditions and rituals of the Mishings , it is an integral part of the life of the Mishing people. It is brewed in every Mishing household.

Prepration for Apong ( Beer) , Mishing Tribe Majuli Island

Prepration for Apong ( Beer) , Mishing Tribe Majuli Island

Apong is prepared by fermenting rice, it comes in two types – Nogin Apong and Poro Apong. The Nogin Apong is whitish in colour, while Poro Apong has a dark greenish colour.

Rice and burnt husk , Apong , Majuli Island

The method of preparation is different, the two Apongs  differ in their taste and colour , sophistication involved in brewing rice beer were not only herbs but even the ladies preparing it can change the taste with its moods.

Herbs are part of brew Apong, Majuli Island

 

Each house lady has its own taste of brew and recipe is a close secret of a family, each family member enjoys it even the new born kids are given few drops of it to prevent many diseases among the infants.

Preparing for Brew , Mishing tribe lady, Majuli Island

During Ali-Aye Ligang festival it is offered along with chickens and pork to please the spirits and seek their blessings

 

the beer pots

One can reach Majuli from Jorhat by road to Nimatighat and then a ferry 1.30 hrs. sailing to cross the river Brahmaputra reach Kamalabari Ghat , there are Jeep/bus service available for Gramurh , it is also a port of call for river cruise M.V. Mahabaahu .

For more information call +91 9810506646

Callers from outside India +44 7700093414

Office contact (+05.30 GMT) 011 45725562 , 63 , 64

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

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Majuli | Ancient art of Pottery

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Majuli ancient art of pottery is as old as used in ancient time at Mohanjodaro and Harappa  it is not in practice anywhere in India or else where,  methods suggest a historic origin of this activity. According to Archaeologists the pottery industry in Majuli has been a missing link between Mohenjodaro and Harappan civilizations during which period the pottery industry flourished. The Kumhar community of about 500 families spread over mainly three villages the Salmora , Chinatoli and Dakshinpath on Majuli Island actively involved in this art of  making and trading the earthen pots.

Earthen Pots made in Majuli

Earthen Pots made in Majuli

Pottery is a hereditary profession. It is practiced by the successive generations of the community members, irrespective of their castes. Potters are dependent on the river Brahmaputra as it provides clay required for making pots, the women shape the pots by putting the layers of clay and beating softly with wooden bat and raising the desired size with fingers and palm.

Ancient art of pottery , Majuli Island

Ancient art of pottery , Majuli Island

once the desired shape is made the pots are dried in open air and sunlight.

Earthen pots are first dried in open air and sun light

Earthen pots are first dried in open air and sun light

Clay required for making pots is dug out from clay pits about 30 feet deep from the ground along the banks of the river, pits get replenished during the annual floods of the river, the availability of the clay is in abundance.

Fire Baked earthen pots near the fire klin , Majuli Island

Fire Baked earthen pots near the fire klin , Majuli Island

For many centuries Pots are made from beaten clay and burnt in driftwood-fired kilns .

One can reach Majuli by road from Jorhat to Nimatigaht take a ferry cross river Bharamputra 1.30 hr.  to reach Kamalabari ghat and then jeep/bus to Gramurh , Majuli Island is also port of call river cruise M.V.Mahabaahu

For more information call +91 9810506646

Callers from outside India + 44 7700093414

Office contacts (+5.30 GMT) 011-45725562 , 45725563 , 45725564

Email: promark@promarktravels.com

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Majuli | Art of Mask making

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Mask Making art at Shamagauri Satra  Majuli 

Shamagauri Satra ( Monastery) bhakts are famous and known to be making beautiful masks used in religious dances and drama, this art is practiced only here and not in any other Satras.

Lotokai Mukha, Mohini Roop of Taarka from epic Ramayana

Lotokai Mukha, Mohini Roop of Taarka from epic Ramayana

It has been the hereditary craft in the family of Satradhikar of the Shamagauri Satra.

Shamagauri Satra Mask making Institution Majuli , Assam

Shamagauri Satra Mask making Institution Majuli , Assam

Masks are the tool to make and depict the characters from the Srimad Bhagwat (Ancient Hindu Text) help to provide the physical form to the Puranic (Ancient) characters, people to associate with the character expression of mythical form.

Making of mask bamboo skeleton Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Making of mask bamboo skeleton Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Mask Skeleton made of Bamboo strips, Shamagauri satra Majuli

Mask Skeleton made of Bamboo strips, Shamagauri satra Majuli

Bamboo strips covered with cloth and clay base for mask Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Bamboo strips covered with cloth and clay base for mask Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Mask with clay and cow dung paste kept for drying in sunlight

Mask with clay and cow dung paste kept for drying in sunlight

Three type of masks are made, Mukha (Face) – only the facial characters are given importance, Lotokai Mukha (Face with movement) – in this type of mask the movement of eyes, eyelids and lips are added to the character.

Lotokai Mukha mask with eyelids,eyes and lips movement

Lotokai Mukha mask with eyelids,eyes and lips movement

Bor Mukha – it is a life size or may be up to waist  or may be larger than the body a mask is made to show the entire depiction of characters body expression .

Bor Mukha full body mask, The Narshimah avtar of lord Vishnoo Shamagauri Satra, Majuli

Bor Mukha full body mask, The Narshimah avtar of lord Vishnoo Shamagauri Satra, Majuli

Mask making starts with the planting and nourishing of a tree till it becomes use able, mainly bamboo and cane is used sometime wood is also used. The bamboo sticks are made into strips and a skeleton is made, a layer of cow dung mixed with clay is applied, nose, eyes, ears, lips are carved and then a piece of cloth with gum is applied and kept it in the sunlight to get it dry, natural color are used to with cats hair brush and bamboo pen to make more fine details on mask.

Different characters masks Hindu mythology  Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Different characters masks Hindu mythology Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Paper masks are made only for head gear, rest of the body parts are made of bamboo, cane and cloth, masks are made for almost all the Puranic characters including birds and animals, war weapons musical instruments etc. the characters worshiped as God in the Hindu mythology their masks are not made .

 

One can reach Majuli from Jorhat by road to Nimatighat , cross Brahmaputra by ferry to Kamalabarighat and the take jeep/bus to Gramurh , it is also a port of call for river cruises , rivercruisesindia.com 

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Office contact : (+5.30 GMT) 011 45725562 , 45725563 , 45725564

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Majuli | Mishing Tribe Culture

Mishing Tribe of Majuli 

Mishing or Miri migrated few century ago from the hills of Arunachal in search of fertile and safe land, they are one of the most colorful tribe fun loving enjoying the life, have their own music, musical instruments, dance and songs for different occasions.

Worship mother Sun and father Moon and believe that their ancestor Abotani ( the first man on earth) as their son, they have their own religion “Mishing Faith” the two forms, Animism and Vaishnavism, are two different ways of religion, but they have coexisted in the Mishing society without any conflict .

Mishing Tribe girls performing Bihu, Majuli Island

Mishing Tribe girls performing Bihu, Majuli Island

Strict rule for not to marry in same clan or different clan but have a brotherhood.Most of the marriages are with elopement and then seek the blessings from elders, arrange marriages are quite often when two three meetings are done over a plate of rice and home brewed Beer .

Mishing Tribe enjoying Moran Bihu, Majuli Island

Mishing Tribe enjoying Moran Bihu, Majuli Island

Houses are stilted made of bamboo over the wooden posts and beams, floor and walls are of bamboo, it has a thatched roof, houses are in cluster with granary and cowshed, poultry, piggery and goats are quite common, Fishing and growing different variety of paddy rice, mustard, pulses, maze, tobacco, vegetables is main job, they prepare two type a rice beer and greet their guests with it.

Mishing village family home, Majuli Island

Mishing village family home, Majuli Island

Traditional institutions like Murang is a community bachelor boys home which performs the protecting role for the village , Mimbir Yame  is a group of young unmarried boys and girls who are taught Mishing ethics, discipline and community rules, farming , house making , wedding arrangements or any where help is needed they take care .

Each village has its village chief and ( Kebang) council who take care of village community his words are final in matters to the faith , small disputes and crime , person found guilty are punished. The Bane Kebang is group of two or more villages council Jurry consisting of selected elderly people , judgement delivered is honored by all.

Mishing village home , Majuli Island

Mishing village home , Majuli Island

Weaving is part of every household. they have been making cotton and silk cloth even with growing of cotton , rearing the silk worms , spinning the threads, dying and then weaving the famous varieties from Assam .

Mishing Tribe lady on hand-loom, Majuli Island

Mishing Tribe lady on hand-loom, Majuli Island

Mishing textile piece, called gadu. It is the traditional Mishing blanket, fluffy on one side, and it is woven on a traditional loin loom.

Mishing Tribe Hand-loom Mekhla , Majuli Island

Mishing Tribe Hand-loom cloth , Majuli Island

Making use of bamboo for their daily use items , wood work is limited to boat making only. one can see a canoe with each house hold.

Mishing man making bamboo trap for fishing, Majuli Island

Mishing man making bamboo trap for fishing, Majuli Island

There are several dances and festivals of the Mishing tribe. Their dances are called Paksong or Soman similar to Bihu , three type of songs are sung , Aku singers sings about the history and culture , Oi and Anu nitone are love songs , modern instruments along with traditional Bansuri (flute) clapping of metal bells are used.

One can reach Majuli from Jorhat by road to Nimatighat cross river Brahmaputra 1.30 hr. ferry to Kamalabari Ghat and then jeep/bus to Gramur , it is also a port of call for river cruise M.V. Mahabaahu 

For more information contact  +91 9810506646

Callers from Outside India + 44 7700093414

Office contact : (+05.30 GMT) 011 – 45725562 , 45725563 , 45725564

Email: promark@promarktravels.com

Website: http://promarktravels.com 

 http://majulitourism.in

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Majuli, Deori Tribe Culture

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Deori Tribe of Majuli

Deoris  migrated from hills staying at various places and then finally reached Majuli through river Brahmaputra, they call themselves children of Sun and Moon (Jimo – Chaayan) have their own culture and faith along with the Hindu Gods they worship their ancestors, they served as priests for the royal families even today they have same respect among the other tribal communities. Deori means wise male and female.

Deori Tribal Ladies , Majuli Island

Deori Tribal Ladies , Majuli Island

Houses are stilted built by using bamboo, cane and wood, animals are on the lower level and upper level family stays, normally there is a corridor till the center of house which is used for all day to day work, there is place for faith in God and each home have a reserved place for it.

Deori Tribal Village house , Majuli Island

Deori Tribal Village house , Majuli Island

 

Marriages are arranged by the family elders and day is fixed, as gift cloths and ornaments are offered and it is solemnized in the presence of community as a religious ceremony. They enjoy rice, pork, goat, fowl in their meals.

Deori Tribal Mother and Child, Majul Island

Deori Tribal Mother and Child, Majul Island

Two major festivals associated with the agriculture activity, Magiyo Bisu is celebrated in the month of January and Ibaku Bisu is in April, there are special rules, it is celebrated for seven days, the village elders shower blessings by visiting all the houses and, puja is performed in each house by the head of family, guests are treated with homemade rice beer “Suzen” young boys and girls gather in an open space and dance the whole night.

Bhohagiyo Bisu is a religious festival and a very important Deodhani dance celebrated for two weeks, it is believed that a special power is there with few who can be a Deodhani, they predict about the prosperity of village or person, it is a holy female god dance and during this period no men are allowed in colored clothes in the dance area called the “Than”. Joydam festival is celebrated in the month of February it is very important festival and cultural meet for all the four groups of Deori tribes, it is to pay the respect to motherland and celebrate the bumper harvest or before the sowing of seeds, the main profession of Deori tribe is agriculture .

One can reach Majuli from Jorhat to Nimatighat by road and the take a 1.30 hr. ferry to cross the Brahmaputra , it  is also a port of call for river cruise M.V.Mahabaahu 

For more information call +91 9810506646

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Majuli, Sonowal Kachari Tribe Culture

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Sonowal Kachari Tribe of Majuli

Sonowal Kachari Tribe have its origin with Mongoloid features, they have no language of their own at present and speak Assamese language.They got the Sonowal name because they were experts in extracting gold dust from the rivers, they also have a good knowledge about the medicinal herbs and using them for many ailments .

Sonowal Kachari Tribal family, Majuli Island

Sonowal Kachari Tribal family, Majuli Island

Believe in supreme power of creator and spirits worshiping the ancestors and sacrificing the animals and birds to please them but accepted the Vaishnave Satras followings in 17th century which is against any such things, each village have a place of worship called the “Namghar”.

They believe that they were the descendants of great Bhaskar Varma, Narakasur, Ban, Bhagadutta, Hadimba, Ghototkach, Bhim, Prahlad and Bali . They worship lord Shiva and performs the Bhouwa dance in praise of Lord Shiva. This dance signifies the beginning of a new life, a clean society and the removing of bad omen.

Bhouwa dance by Sonowal Kachari Tribe in praise of Lord Shiva

Bhouwa dance by Sonowal Kachari Tribe in praise of Lord Shiva

Family and village elders are treated with respect, villagers believe in cooperation and extend help in agriculture and house making in exchange for food and drink.

Sonowal Kachari Tribal Ladies , Majuli Island

Sonowal Kachari Tribal Ladies , Majuli Island

Beetle nut and beetle leave are a part of their life and symbol of welcoming the guests at home, it is an important part of any ritual to include these, their villages are full of trees of beetle nut .

Sonowal Kachari village, Beetle nut trees , Majuli Island

Sonowal Kachari village, Beetle nut trees , Majuli Island

 

Beetle leaves , Sonowal Kachari village, Majuli Island

Beetle leaves , Sonowal Kachari village, Majuli Island

 

In their family system there are clans and sub clans, marriages are forbidden in same and brother clan, they follow monogamy but having more than one wife is not objected, widow marriage is allowed.

Sonowal Kachari Lady at handloom , Majuli Island

Sonowal Kachari Lady at hand-loom , Majuli Island

In marriage it is must to present a hand-loom to the girl, they wear colorful home weaved dresses, dhoti, kurta and Gamsha. They love rice based food with less spices.

Their main occupation is agriculture, dairy farming, poultry and hand-loom cotton and silk cloth, all ladies are expert in weaving .

Sonowal Kachari, mother and child, Majuli Island

Sonowal Kachari, mother and child, Majuli Island

Sonowal Kachari ladies performing Bihu , Majuli Island

Sonowal Kachari ladies performing Bihu , Majuli Island

Kacharis celebrate their festivals with great joy and enthusiasm there are three Bihu festivals, marriage, harvesting or any opportunity is enjoyed with dance.

One can reach Majuli from Jorhat by road to Nimatighat and then 1.30 hrs. ferry to cross the river Brahmaputra to  Kamalabari ghat and the by Jeep / bus to Gramur , it is also a port of call for river cruise M. V. Mahabaahu .

For more information call  +91 9810506646

Callers from Outside India +44 7700093414

Office contact Delhi  011- 45725562, 45725563, 45725564

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

Website : http://promarktravels.com

http://majulitourism.in

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Majuli, Treasure Island of Assam

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Majuli, Cultural capital and Treasure Island of Assam

Situated in the river Brahmaputra one can reach from Jorhat to Nimatighat by road and then by a ferry sailing for about 1.30 hrs. to reach Kamalabari ghat , one can reach by road from North Lakhimpur a 85 km distance is covered in about 3 hrs. It is the cultural capital of Assam spread over one hundred and forty four villages .

Crossing of River Brahmaputra by Ferry

Crossing of River Brahmaputra by Ferry

It is also a stopover destination for Brahmaputra river cruise M.V. Mahabaahu

According to a popular legend Majuli Island in Assam was created by the rivers Dihing and Bhramputra about 450 years ago as a result of earthquake and floods, It is a place of assimilation of different races and tribes , the Worlds largest river island is also the holy place of Neo Vaishnavite religion flourishing since 15th century , at one time there were sixty five Satras (monasteries) out of which twenty two are still active here carrying forward the unique cultural heritage of Assam, the others have shifted else where out due to the floods and soil erosion.

Mask making at Majuli Island

Mask making at Majuli Island

From May till the middle of September  the rains and flooding waters from Brahmaputra submerges most of the island and when it recedes leaves behind lots of water bodies suitable for fishes to breed and land becomes fertile for the paddy crops, these wetlands then becomes home to more than 80 species of migratory and more than 30 resident birds.

Tribe weavers at Majuli Island

Tribe weavers at Majuli Island

There are three tribes living here the Mishing, the Deori and Sonowal Kachari with altogether different life style.

Tribe ladies in home woven colorful cloths , Majuli Island

Tribal ladies in home woven colorful cloths , Majuli Island

Fishing , Bamboo & cane craft, Weaving, Mask making, boat making, cultivating paddy, rearing silk worms and pottery is the main occupation of its residents, Tourism is becoming quite popular as it is a birds watchers paradise, study of the tribal life style and the Neo Vaishnavism’s no caste based Hindu society .

 

For more details contact +91 9810506646

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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.

For more information contact +91-9810506646

Office contact Delhi 011 45725562 , 45725563 , 45725564

Callers from outside India contact  + 44 7700093414

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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

For more information contact +91-9810506646

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Kargil , Ladakh

Kargil lies on National Highway 1D which connects Srinagar to Leh , it is on the banks of Suru river , the name is from two words “Gar” means in local language “Any Where” and “Khil” means central place “where any one can stay”. Total population of Kagil 80% follows the Shia faith of  Islam and are inhabited in Kargil, Drass and lower Suru valley, Tibetan Bon Buddhist are mostly in Zanskar valley with small population in Shergol, Mulbek and Upper Suru valley.  There are about 4%  Hindus and Sikhs . Most of the people are of Burig and Balti of Tibetan origin mixed with Dard , Mon and Aryan people.

Kargil City view from Leh-Srinagar Highway

The Tibetan influence is seen in Kargil and Leh people , the Islam came here with Persian influence which has lots Persian words , phrases and even the religious songs in their language , the marriages are solemnize with common rituals of  Buddhist and Islam customs .

Mt. Nun & Mt. Kun from Suru valley trekkers hot spot

It was a transit point of caravans on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarken and Kashmir till 1949, but since 1974 with the influx of tourists the region has been replaced as center for tourism related activities. Tourists traveling between Zanskar, Leh and Srinagar stop for  a night stay , before proceeding for onward  journey.

People visit Kargil with the memories of 1999 India and Pakistan conflict as it lies very close to the line of control .

Bomb Shell splinters holes fired from Pakistan

The Suru river flows through Kargil , Suru valley extends till the Pensi-la where there is a famous peaks of Nun and Kun , Karaste kar is a small village on Leh highway where 9 meter tall rock carved statue of Maitriya Buddha attracts the tourists from far places . There are other magnificent Stupas and rock carved statues to be seen in Suru valley . Most of the trekkers take a hike to  the Nun- Kun view saddle (3810mtr. ) in the Parkachik ridge. It is a  3 hours of walking along the slopes  overlooking the fertile valley below.

Pakistani post was captured and pushed behind this peak

The road connection from Srinagar is open from May till November , rest of the year there is a heavy snow in the Zoji-la , this area is cut off by road in winters from rest of India , the Indian Air Force  operates few flights to help the local people to come in out of the valley. summers are warm with cold nights , Drass which is 56 km from Kargil is coldest inhabited place in India. The only  road link to Zanskar  is from Kargil .

For more information and packages contact +91-9810506646

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