Kargil with a population of 1.25 lakhs is scattered over an area of 14,086 Sq. Km. It is situated at a distance of 205 KM from Srinagar towards Leh. Kargil is called the land of Agas in the present day world. It is due to the fact that Kargil is mostly inhabited by Shia Muslims and Agas are the religious head and preachers.
The name Kargil is derived from two words Khar and rKil. Khar means castle and rKil means center thus a place between castles as the place lay between many kingdoms. In the views of many critics, the word Kargil has been derived from the words Gar and Khil. Gar in local language mean ‘Any where’ and Khil means a central place where people could stay. This has the support of the fact that the place is equidistant from Srinagar, Skardo, Leh and Padum with around 200 Kms. With the passage of time Khar rKil or Gar Khil came to be known as Kargil. The present bureaucrat and historian Parvez Dewan in his contribution to the book “Kargil Blunder” reveals that a pioneer namely Kargeel cleared the forests in Poyen and Shilikchay area before the advent of Thatha Khan to dwell in the area and later the place assumed its name.
Gasho Tha Tha Khan is said to be the first renowned crusader who established a dynasty in the area. Tha Tha Khan was a scion of the royal family of Gilgit who captured Kargil in early 8th century. His dynasty ruled the Sod area of Kargil in early period and later permanently settled in Shakar Chiktan area where the dynasty is till in existence. Kacho’s of Kargil are believed to be the off-shoots of Tha Tha Khan. Purik Sulatan believed to be a renowned builder of Kargil who established his domain in Suru area and ruled from Karchay Khar near Sankoo. Kunchok Sherabtan of Fokar, Kalon of Mulback and many Kachos, Sultans and Maqpons of Sod, Pashkum, Wakha, Chiktan, Karchey ruled the area of Kargil and expanded their principalities to be merged with the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
In ancient time, the major part of present Kargil was named as Purik. This name has been given by the Tibetan scholars as the people living in this part of the land have the features of Tibetans. Drass is inhabited by the people of the Dard race and Zanskar has Ladakhi – Tibeto stock. The racial stocks of Kargilis are Aryans, Dard, Tibetans and Mongoloids. Kargil is a place where people of multi- ethnic, multi-languish, multi- cultural are living in. The types of people are Brogpas, Baltis, Purik, Shinas and Ladakhi. The languages spoken are Shina, Balti, Purig , Ladakhi ec. As the Balti and Shina languages are written in Urdu script, Urdu is common in the area.
Islam came to Kargil in 15th century. Mir Shams-ud-Din Iraqi, a scholar of Shia school of central Asia visited Baltistan and Kargil with his missionaries to preach Islam. The chief of Baltistan embraced Islam first and it was later followed by the Chiefs of Kargil. Prior to Mir Shams-ud-Din Iraqi Khawaja Noorbaksh visited Kargil and done a lot of Islamic preaching. Thus Buddhism remained sequeezed in Kargil to the places like Sapi, Phokar, Mulback, Wakha Bodh-Kharboo areas a Darchik Garkon and Zanskar.
Kargil became a separate district in the Ladakh region during the year 1979 when it was bifurcated from the earstwhile Leh ditrict.
Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Kargil was commissioned in July 2003 in the district. The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council has 30 Councilors out of which 26 Councilors are elected while the remaining 4 are nominated. Kargil district is consisting of nine administrative Blocks.