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Kargil is not only a war-tourism destination
With the advancement of societies in the world, drastic changes occurred in every societal setup from cultural to political point of view. And Kargil, a mountainous district of Jammu and Kashmir in Ladakh province, which was a transition town for silk route, hasn't been an exception.

AFTER THE partition of subcontinent in 1947, the people of Kargil were the most affected due to the partition of the town into two parts and blockade of silk route, which used to connect Kashmir with Central Asia, Eastern Europe and was one of the busiest routes for trade.

Kargil has the ancient imambarras (shiite shrines), mosques, Buddhist monasteries and some remains of Sarias- which were used before 1947 for trade purposes with central Asians. The Sani Monastery is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world and the Rangdum Monastery has a small museum with interesting Tibetan and other artefacts.

It was the 1999 Kargil war, which gave recognition to the Kargil again after the lapse of many decades; many foreigners as well as locals visit every year to the area. But the area has many things to explore from mountaineering to mountain Biking and pilgrimage to cultural tourism.

Despite remaining cut off for six months in winters from the rest of world, the town is still progressing with a good pace; from mini-hydel power projects to airport and from better roads to other developmental works. The town has the distinction of organizing Horse Polo and Ice Hockey. It is the only town in the state where Horse Polo is still played and many competitions are organized throughout the year.

Gulzar Hussain Munshi, a local resident believes that if the government promotes the Kargil as tourist destination it has enough scope. The people of the area have inherited many things from their ancestors, which they still perform with enthusiasm and sincerity. “They include folk dance, both by men and women, wearing of traditional clothes, archeries, horse polo and many other things,” said Bashir Ahmad, a local. He added that if the tourism potential is explored in the area it can become the main source of economy for the people of the area.

Now the state tourism department also organizes Kargil festival every year after the 1999 war to attract more and more domestic as well as national tourists to the area. Minster for tourism, Nawang Ringzin Jora said that Kargil very soon will be brought on world tourism map and efforts are on to boost it as tourist destination than transit point. “The main focus of the authority is on development of tourism related infrastructure and different tourist facilities to attract more and more foreign as well as domestic tourists to Kargil,” Jora said.

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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