The stunning landscapes of Srinagar attract tourists from all over the world. Traveling from Srinagar to Kargil feels like a point-of-the-trip travel from almost everything you have experienced during your stay in Srinagar. Srinagar is one of several places that have been called “Venice of the East”. The city’s lakes include Lake Dal – known for its houseboats – and Lake Nigeen. In addition to Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake, Wular Lake and Manasbal Lake are north of Srinagar. Srinagar prides itself on red apples, orchards, trees of different shapes, ripe peaches; Everything seems to contribute to Srinagar’s charm. On the other hand, Kargil, Ladakh’s second largest city, is very simple, but has an unusual scenic beauty. Kargil exudes a peculiar vibe of calm after a war, and we can’t imagine why.
While traveling from Srinagar to Kargil, you come across picturesque landscapes. The views are simply breathtaking and you can witness the tree-dotted road that makes the trip more beautiful. Along the way there are many attractions such as Sonamarg, Baltal Valley, Baltal Wildlife Sanctuary, Zoji La Pass, Drass Valley, Kargil War Memorial and Drass War Memorial. In this article, we will look in detail at the route from Srinagar to Kargil and cover several important details about traveling from one city to another. Below, you will find information about how to get from Kargil to Srinagar, what to see, available modes of transport, route, road conditions, distance and time and the cost involved.
Srinagar Does Kargil Road
The Srinagar to Kargil Road is a part of the 1D National Highway, also known as the Srinagar Leh Highway. The road starts at Uri and then crosses Baramula, Srinagar and Kargil before ending at Leh. The total length of the road is about 500 kilometers, but the distance between Srinagar and Leh is about 410 kilometers. The distance between Srinagar and Kargil is 202 kilometers and the city acts as a midpoint between Srinagar and Leh; making it a popular stopping point for people traveling from one city to another.
A trip from Srinagar to Kargil can only be completed by road. Train and flight options are not yet available, but there are several modes of transport available to choose from on Srinagar to Kargil. Let’s review them one by one.
Road conditions Srinagar to Kargil
The road is a mix of good, bad and ugly. The ugliest part is limited around the Zoji La Pass. For the rest of the distance, the road remains good or average.
Route from Srinagar to Kargil
From Srinagar, you will first reach the small town of Ganderbal. The traffic here is a little reckless and the roads narrow; Therefore, I advise caution when crossing this area. After Ganderbal, the landscape becomes extremely panoramic as you drive towards the small town of Kangan. You will continue through the fascinating valleys of Kashmir to reach Sonamarg. Take a break here and grab something to eat. After Sonamarg arrives Baltal, which is a very popular campsite and also one of the starting points for Amarnath Yatra.
From Baltal, you will climb the mighty Zoji La Pass at an elevation of 3,528 meters (11,575 feet). Chances are you’ll definitely find snow here, regardless of the month of your trip. After Zoji La, you will reach the city of Dras. The famous Kargil War Memorial is located here and a visit is highly recommended. After Dras, it is a straight run about 65 kilometers to Kargil.
For a more detailed explanation of this journey, read Srinagar to Leh via Kargil by Road.
Srinagar State to Kargil Road
It all depends on the weather, but historically, the road usually opens sometime in April and closes in November. Another thing to remember here is that, in the early days, traffic on Zoji La Pass is controlled in one way. This means that for a given period only Srinagar vehicles can travel. Then vehicles from Kargil are released after that. Some hours of the day are reserved for the movement of army vehicles. Therefore, if you are traveling on your own, it would be wise to first find out the times to ensure that you do not get stuck on the road for hours, waiting for traffic to begin.
For the latest road status updates, I recommend visiting and following the Srinagar Leh Highway Status forum topic.
Srinagar to Kargil by car
If you are traveling by car, the only thing you need to ensure is that your car is well maintained and not badly beaten. I myself did the Srinagar stretch to Kargil and then to Leh Ladakh in a 13-year-old R. wagon. Another friend of mine did it in a Maruti Swift. You just need to prepare the car well for the journey ahead; and have someone behind the wheel with some driving experience in the hills. For more information, see How to prepare your car for Leh Ladakh trip.
Srinagar to Kargil by bike
Traveling by motorcycle is one of the most favored activities here. Every year thousands of people travel from Srinagar to Kargil on their motorcycles and then to Leh Ladakh, for which this belt is also known as the bikers paradise. A larger motorcycle like Enfield would be better for the ride, but even a 125 CC motorcycle can make the trip easily, as long as it is well maintained and well maintained. If you are traveling with this bike, make sure you are riding alone and as light as possible. Also, take a look at How to prepare your motorcycle for Leh Ladakh for other tips on how to read your bike.
If you do not have a motorcycle, you can rent one directly from Srinagar. Kashmir Travelogue is a reliable rental agency there and its owner, Faisal is a gem of a guy. You can rent a motorcycle from him and make sure he will give you one in very good condition. Give my reference and he will give you a discounted price. You can contact him at 9596410670.
Bus from Srinagar to Kargil
Let’s first take a look at the modes of public transport from Srinagar to Kargil. I will start by explaining the bus trip and then move on to other options. If you wish to travel from Srinagar to Kargil by bus, you would have to board the daily bus from Srinagar to Leh. This bus departs from Srinagar bus stop and arrives at Kargil on day 1. The next day the same bus departs from Srinagar in the morning and arrives at Leh in the afternoon.
Bus from Srinagar to Kargil
The total fare from Srinagar to Kargil is Rs. 350 per person. If you want to extend your journey to Leh, you will pay more Rs. 380 per person making Rs. 730 as a total fare from Srinagar to Leh.
Bus schedules from Srinagar to Kargil
The bus departs from Srinagar around 7am, arrives at Sonamarg at 11am, Drass at 2pm and finally arrives in Kargil between 4pm and 5pm. He stops at night in Kargil. The coach will start at 7:30 am the next morning from Kargil and will arrive in Leh between 14h and 23h.
Bus reservation from Srinagar to Kargil
There is no reservation system available for this bus. You will buy the ticket on site and board the bus. The only other thing you can do is get to the bus stop a day in advance and buy an evening ticket before the trip.
Apart from the daily bus from Srinagar Leh, there are no other buses available from Srinagar to Kargil. If you get lost, the only other option is to wait another day or board a shared taxi. Another thing to note here is that the hotel in Kargil would have to be paid on its own. The ticket you buy from Srinagar will only cover the bus fare and no other costs.
Taxi from Srinagar to Kargil
Let’s now take a look at option number two; This is traveling to Kargil by taxi. To be honest, if within budget, this is really a better option than the buses from Srinagar to Kargil. When traveling by taxi, you have the option of taking as many breaks as necessary and whenever necessary. You can stop for walks, click photos, cover all the major sights along the way, and travel at your own pace. On the other hand, although a bus may be a cheaper option, it will only take you from one city to another. You will be limited by bus times and would be looking out the window for most of the trip. The stops will be limited and none would be for tourism purposes.
Taxi Fare from Srinagar to Kargil
There are two types of taxis available on this route. The first is a private taxi and the second is a shared taxi. If you rent a private taxi, it will cost Rs. 6,400 for a fall to Kargil. For a return trip with a nightly stop in Kargil, the fare would be Rs. 13,200. If you would like to extend your journey to Leh, the total fare would be Rs. 16,200.
The most important thing to remember here is that a Srinagar taxi cannot be used for sightseeing in Ladakh or Zanskar. You can only leave it in Leh or Kargil. For your trip to Padum or other places in Ladakh, you will need to rent another local taxi from Leh or Kargil.
Shared taxi from Srinagar to Kargil
If you want to rent a shared taxi from Srinagar to Kargil, you can find one at the tourist reception center, also known as TRC. The rate in this case would fall to Rs. 1000 – 1500 per person, depending on your negotiating skills. If you board a taxi to Leh, the total fare will be Rs. 2,500 per person.
Travel time from Srinagar to Kargil
The driving distance from Srinagar to Kargil is 203 kilometers, with an air distance of 134 km. It takes approx. 6-7 hours to complete the trip, depending on your speed, breaks and traffic at Zoji La Pass.
Srinagar to Kargil Plane
Kargil does not have its own airport, so you cannot fly there. There was talk about a helicopter service and it was actually launched but never remained in service for long. I am not sure what the current status of this service is, but as of now there are no direct flights from Srinagar to Kargil available. You will have to fly to Leh and reach Kargil by road. Or you can book a flight to Srinagar and then take a taxi from Srinagar airport to Kargil. Taxi is available outside the airport, so finding one will not be a problem.
The airport in Srinagar is the nearest airport to Kargil, which is well connected to major Indian cities such as New Delhi, Jammu, Leh, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Mumbai, Indore and Bangalore.
Train from Srinagar to Kargil
There is no train station in Kargil. If you travel by train, you will first have to get to Srinagar and then board a bus or rent a taxi to Kargil.
Sightseeing Tours from Srinagar to Kargil
Sonamarg is probably the biggest attraction on this route. Stay here for a day if you can and hike to the nearby Thajiwas Glacier. After Sonamarg, the next main attraction is the Zoji La pass, considered one of the most difficult. Next will be the Kargil War Memorial and then the small town of Dras. There are several tourist attractions around Kargil as well. Some of them are the Suru Valley, the Mulbekh Monastery, the Mulbekh Chamba, the Sani Monastery, the Rangdum Monastery, the Shergoi Cave Monastery and much more.
Best time to travel
The best time to make this trip is from April to October, depending on the opening of the Zojila Pass. From April to October, the entire road from Srinagar to Leh remains open for travelers to visit Kargil or to go further to Leh.
However, it is advisable to avoid the monsoon season and winters to visit Kargil. When I say monsoon, I mean the months of late June, July, and August, because right now the rain gods can wreak havoc on the area. Crossing Zoji La in these months can become a big challenge with all the mud. Landslides also become common at this time.
You cannot travel to Kargil by road in winter, from November to April, after Zoji La gets snowy. But traveling at the end of the season (late October and early November) is also not advisable as it can snow anytime and you will be stuck.
Summer makes Kargil warm and warm in the morning and pleasantly cool at night. During this time, the 1D National Highway remains officially open. It connects Srinagar and Leh.
Banks and ATMs
Srinagar, being a favorite tourist destination, has several ATMs, gas stations and mechanics available. As a traveler, you don’t have to worry about ATMs, gas stations and mechanics. Needless to say, there are numerous gas stations in Srinagar; so start the journey from here with a full tank.
After leaving Srinagar, the next gas station is the HP gas station in Nagbal. There are two gas stations in Ganderbal, but after that, the next one is only in Kargil.
The BSNL, Airtel and Jio phones work well in Kargil. From Srinagar, if you were on a postpaid connection, you will have some connectivity to Sonamarg. Your phone will be dead again until you reach Kargil. In Kargil, BSNL, Airtel and Jio will provide an excellent network with good 4G voice and data clarity. On the stretch from Kargil to Leh, Airtel will continue to come and go at regular intervals.
The cities of Srinagar and Kargil have hospitals large enough to handle any medical emergency. Between these two, you can get basic medical care in Ganderbal, Kangan, Sonamarg and Dras.