The Suru Valley - Kargil
The Suru valley is one of the most beautiful fertile valley in the western Himalayan region with its own unique culture. It extends from Kargil towards Pensi La in South for a length of 150 Kms. The valley consists of world famous Nun (7137 Mtr) and Kun (7035 mtr.) Peaks.
The Nun Kun massif offers an excellent combination of alpine slopes, ridges, glacial formations and majestic peaks for adventure lovers. A sub range straddling across Suru valley, separating the main valley from the Parkachik ravine provides an excellent saddle like pass (13000ft) for a day long trekking over to Parkachik.
Right from Kargil, the lower most portion of the Suru Valley, to the source of the river at Penzila a motor-able road takes one through scenic splendour.
The valley is dotted with picturesque human settlements, lush green fields and colourful flowers.
Major Tourist Spots in the Suru Valley are:-
1). Minji – Minji is the first large village of Suru Valley at a distance of 8 Kms, from Kargil town with green landscape and dense plantation. The village is a popular jogging and picnic spot. A number of shops sell day to day consumables and essential items. Suitable accommodation in private sector is also available.
2). Trespone (Lonchay)
A picturesque village, 22 kms from kargil is the seat of famous Imambarah perched atop a hillock. Saracenic and Tibetan elements of architecture and location are reflected in its construction. A viewing tower with the accommodation facilities has been created by the tourism department. Adjacent to the Imambada Tresone is also well known for its wood craft, bow making and Islamic calligraphy.
An early rock belief on the road side represents Avaloketeshvara flanked by two goddesses. There is a two-line Tibetan inscription on the rock. As is the rule with Tibetan-style rock carving, this sculpture is in low relief.
A township and block headquarter 42 kms from Kargil is an amphitheater of dense plantation. It is a base for a four day trek to Shargole/Mulbekh over the Rusila (4950 mt.) through the beautiful Phulungma. A 7th century 7 mtr. tall colossal Buddha statue of Karchar khar can be visited at an hours walking disitance. Another trek leads through the Nakpochu (black water) Nalah over Umbala (3350 Mtrs.) to Drass (3 Days trek. This Trek is now being developed as an alternative highway between Drass and Sankoo.
There are a couple of tea stalls around the bus stop – a police post, Hospital and other government offices.
The department of Tourism has a four rooms Tourist Bungalow with catering facilities here. There is a small market selling essentials and fastfood.
5). Karchay Khar
The village is famous for its 7 mtr. high Rock Carving of Chamba the Maitreya idol of the future Buddha near this village. This rock carving in deep relief is beleived to be older than the one at Mublekh. It is slightly smaller than that at Mulbekh but just as impressive. The sculpture faces River Phulungma.
Ruined palace, Karchay Khar used to be the winter capital of the kings of Suru Karchay. The old palace was burnt during Zorawar Singh’s attack in 1834.
There is an 18th century mosque nearby. It was constructed at the behest of the mother if King Thi Mohammad Sultan. Craftsmen and masons were brought over from Kashmir for its construction. The original mosque got burnt along with palace around 1834-35. The Mosque now rebuilt is fairly ordianary in 1980’s it was renovated extensively.
At the opening of upper Suru Valley this village is situated at 56 Kms from Kargil. One can get a superb view of the Suru Valley with majestic peaks of Nun & Kun in the background. The Tourism Dept. has put a two rooms Bungalow with the dormitory at this location which provides a breathtaking view of Suru Valley and the Nun Kun massif.
Damsna is just 61 Kms from Kargil. Beautiful camping and picnic place near the river bank. The spring here is developed as a reservoir for encouraging fishing. It offers a fine view of Nun Kun peaks, it is the terminating point for Rafting in Suru Valley. The site is also good for camping, Angling around the river is very popular. A license for fighing, angling can be asked from the Fisheries Dept.of Kargil.
8). Tai Suru
This village is prominent by its glittering minars of Imambaras and Mosques. It is the block headquarter.
Panikhar is the base camp for trekking and mountaineering around Suru Valley as well as to inner Ladakh and Kashmir Valley treks.
It has now become a township, a number of shops and tea stalls have come up along with a couple of hotels here during the recent years. All of them provide rooms and dormitory accommodation at reasonable rates.
There is a sub health centre and Tourist Bungalow with catering facilities.
10). Tangole – 75 Kms
A Cluster of hamlets on Kargil-Padum road, it is the take off point for the mountaineering expeditions to famous Nun-Kun Peaks who attempt to climb Nun Peak from West ridge and North ridge. Besides an unnamed peak D.41 (5600 Mtrs.), after a 3 hours ascend uphill one reaches the Base camp for these expeditions.
The river Suru disappears in a deep rock conduit at this places. the inhabitants are tough mountain climbers tamed by the harsh and extreme climatic and topographic conditions, these born mountaineers are rendering good services to the climbers in the capacity of high altitude porters/ guides.
the tourism deptt’s has Alpine type mountain huts with two double rooms and dormitory accommodation here.
11). Parkachik – 85 Kms
In the shadow of famous Parkachik glacier which descends down from the flanks of Nun-Kun and terminates in the Suru river. The Village offers a wide range of Adventure avenues around it. A short hike atop the Lagole/Parkachik La saddle at 13,000 feets, one can have panoramic view of all peaks in the Nun-Kun Massif.
12). Rangdum – 130 Kms
At an Altitude of 3657 mtrs, Rangdum is the midway between Kargil and Padum Zanskar. This wide valley serves as an ideal camping area in the Himalayan wilderness and perfect isolation.
The chief attraction here is an imposing 18th centaury monastery perched picturesquely atop a hillock like an ancient fort. Two small hamlets are the only habitation in the area besides the monastery.
Rangdum is trekking base for Kanji-Hinaskote trek for 5 Days. Another adventure trek leads to Kistwar via glaciated Chillung-La. Another trek leads over Pizdongla to Lingshed on the Lamayuru-Padum Trek. Among the short treks the best one is a hike uo to Penzila ridge (4410 mtrs.) and camp opposite the majestic Drang Drung glacier. Pony and potters are available for trekkers.
13). Penzila – 160 Kms)
The highest point on Kargil-Padum road, Penzila is a Picturesque table land studded with two alpine lakes surrounded by snowy peaks. The majestic Drangdrung Glacier with its awesome view dominates the scene. There is a good camping site near the lake.