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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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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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 .

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