About District

Kargil is one of the two Districts of Ladakh region and is the second largest town of Ladakh and is situated roughly at equal distance(200KM) from Srinagar, Leh , Padum Zanskar and Skardo Baltistan. Kargil has always been an important trade centre in the past. Traders from China, Central Asia and different parts of India used to trade in Tea, Wool, Carpets, Silk and precious stones in olden days and Kargil was known as a historical meeting point.

Kargil regained its importance when the area was thrown open for Tourists in the year 1974 with other parts of Ladakh and considerable number of tourists, trekkers and mountaineers started visiting Kargil.

The District again came in lime light during the Indo- Pak conflict in 1999 as it remained in the headlines of National and International media and some sites such as Tiger Hill, Tololing, Mushku valley and Batalik have become very popular since then.

Besides historical importance unique landscape and number of Heritage sites, Budha Statues, Forts Palaces, ancient Rock carvings (Petroglyphs), Mosques, Monasteries, Pilgrim places , war memorials are found all over the District.

Administratively Kargil is divided into 12 Niabats, namely Drass, Kargil, Shargole, Chiktan, TSG, G.M.Pore, Sankoo, Taisuru, Padum, Lungnaq, Cha and Zangla. It has four Sub-Divisions viz Kargil, Zanskar, Sankoo and Shakar-Chiktan and Seven Tehsils namely, Drass, Kargil, Shargole, Shakar-Chiktan, Sankoo, Taisuru and Zanskar.

With the institution of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council in Kargil, the administrative set-up has became different as compared to other districts of the State. Hill Council was constituted in Kargil during the year 2003. The district was divided into 26 Council Constituencies. Under a government notification, 4 nominated Councilors were also came into existence in December 2004. Thus the Council has 30 members/councilors out of which 26 members are elected and 4 are nominated.

The Deputy Commissioner Kargil is the administrative head and is also designated as Chief Executive Officer of the Hill Council. He controls the administrative machinery and is responsible for law and order.

Kargil Town photo
Kargil Town

Geography of the district

Ladakh is a part of Jammu & Kashmir State situated in North of India consisting of two districts Leh and Kargil. It is a mountainous desert. This region is separated from the rest of the State by high mountains which are crossed through passes at various points. The lowest pass to Ladakh is Zojila which is at 11,500′. It has an area of 4036 Sq. Km. It is situated between 30 to 35 degree North latitude and 75 to 77 degree East West longitude. It is surrounded by Baramullah, Srinagar and Doda Districts in the South-West, Leh District in the East, Himachal Pradesh in the South and Pakistan in the North-West. The District is divided into four high level natural Valleys namely the Suru Valley, the Drass Valley, the Indus Valley and the Upper Sindh Valley of Kanji Nallah Valley.

Zojila and Fotulla passes situated at the height of 3567 and 4192 meters above the sea level are called gateways for Kashmir Valley and Leh District for entry in Kargil District. High peaks of Namikala and Penzila are called the sky pillars of the District.

The whole District is of high rocky mountains, desert arid, snow bound and devoid of natural vegetation. It occupies unique position because of its high altitude area in the country which ranges from 8000 to 23000 ft. above the sea level.

The topography of the region is mountainous with little or no vegetation. The mountains are of sedimentary rocks and are in process of disintegration due to weathering. The terrain being hilly, available land for agriculture is meager. The summer being short, only one crop of local grim or wheat is grown.

The District Headquarter is situated at a distance of 205 Kms from Srinagar and 230 Kms from Leh. Kargil district comprises of Kargil town and 127 inhabited villages and 2 un-inhabited villages.

The normal concept of a village as a contiguous and compact habitation does not apply in Kargil district. Here a number of house holds have settled down here and there depending upon land availability and irrigation facility. These clusters are spread on large distant and in view of good number of Rivers, etc.. The area of the district is mountainous with difficult terrain.

The climate and soil condition of the district

Ladakh lies on the rain shadow side of the Himalayan where dry monsoon winds reaches Kargil after being robbed of its moisture in plains and the Himalayan mountain. The district combines the condition of both arctic and desert climate. Therefore Ladakh is often called “ COLD DESERT”. Rainfall in the area is negligible. Heavy snowfall is experienced in winter. The average snowfall is about 2 to 5 mtrs. in villages. In winter mercury drops to minus 48 degree Celsius at Drass (Kargil), which is the second coldest inhabited place in the world after Siberia. The main features of the climate are :-

  • Wide diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in temperature with -48°C in Winter and +35° C in Summer.
  • Precipitation is very low with annual precipitation of 10 cm mainly in the form of snow
  • Soil is thin, sandy and porous
  • The entire area is partly or devoid of any natural vegetation
  • Irrigation is mainly through channels from the glacier-melted snow

The climate of the District is milder than that of Ladakh (Leh). The villages situated on the banks of Indus and on the Sangham of Suru and Drass rivers are very warm and fine. The snow falling happens to be quite heavy and rainfall normal but it does not help in irrigating the fields. The crops are subjected to irrigation. In Nutshell, the winter season of the District experiences severe cold and temperature often goes down redundantly but summer season remains dry and little hot.

The soil of the District is sandy to loamy in nature and deficient in organic matter and availability of phosphorus and potashes low and mixed with stones and gravels . It is shallow in formation, weak friable and vulnerable to all types of erosion. Fertility of the soil varies from place to place and growing season is very short. The average rain fall at Kargil is 26 cms only. The district has some deposits of chromed at Drass and around it. Copper is also found in Lungnak valley, Zanskar and Tai-Suru. Besides, deposits like lime stone, marble and building material are also existing. However, these mineral resources are yet to be exploited.

How to approach to the district

Kargil District is situated at a distance of 205 Kms from Srinagar and 230 Kms from Leh. It is connected to Srinagar and Leh through National Highway. The District remains cut off with rest of the world during the winter season for more than seven months. But Leh – Kargil road remains open throughout the year.

There is an alternative means of transportation to and from the District when the roads get blocked in winter that is Air Link via Leh. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, King Fisher are the lifeline of Ladakh during winter. Indian Airlines operates flights from Leh to Jammu, Srinagar and Delhi. While as Jet Airways operates flight from Leh to Delhi only.