Kargil town (2,704 m), situated midway between Srinagar (204 Kms) and Leh, (234 kms) on the Srinagar-Leh highway, is the second largest urban centre (approx. 8,000 inhabitants) of Ladakh and headquarters of Kargil district. A quiet town now, in the past it served as an important trade and transit centre for the Central-Asian merchants due to its unique equidistant location (about 200-230 kms) from Srinagar, Leh and Skardo, all well known trading outposts on the old trade route network. Numerous caravans carrying exotic merchandise transited in the town on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarkand, Kashmir and Baltistan.
The town and its suburban villages lie nestled along the valley system formed by the confluence of the Suru River and its tributary, the Wakha-chhu. Kargil area is famous for its fine apricots. In May the countryside surrounding the town gets awash with the white apricot blossoms, while in August the ripening fruits lend an orange hue to the landscape.
Kargil is a convenient base for undertaking adventure activities like trekking, mountaineering, camping, river- rafting, etc. in the high Himalayan valleys. It is also a convenient base for taking excursions to the Wakha- Mulbek valley, where the chief attraction is a 9 m high rock sculpture of Maitreya, besides other monuments. Yet another interesting excursion option is to visit Drass to see its famous features like Tolo-ling, Tiger Hill and the Mushkoo Valley, well known throughout India on account of the extensively televised conflict on the Line of Control between India and Pakistan during May-August, 1999.