If there is one thing you must participate this August, let it be the Kargil International Marathon happening from August 24 – 24 in Kargil, Ladakh. Organised by the NGO -Sarhad, this is your chance to pay tribute to the heroes of the Kargil War that happened almost 20 years ago and lasted for 74 days.
This marathon traverses the war route; you can run along the Line of Control up to the Tiger Hill. You can choose to run marathons of 5km, 10km, 21km and 42km. The scenic route will also take you along the three rivers of Drass, Suru and Sutlej.
For the ultra-fit, there is the Tiger Hill Challenge, where you would have to cover distances of 60km, 120km and 160km. The marathon aims at making the participants understand the immense hardships that our soldiers have to endure on a regular basis. The whopping altitude of Kargil at 9,000 feet above sea level and the cold temperatures are not easy to brave; especially if there is physical labour involved.
However, the soaring Himalayan vistas, pine and deodar forests and stunning landscapes will make it worth the effort. Also, remember to keep a few days for acclimatisation before running the marathon, so as not fall prey to Acute Mountain Sickness.
Kargil War was fought when the Pakistanis crossed the LoC over to the Indian side disguised as Kashmiri militants. Therefore, the first image when one thinks of Kargil is a land tainted by war and surrounded by barbed wire-fenced border. But just like any other place in Jammu and Kashmir, Kargil too is blessed with surreal natural beauty; one that should be experienced by every traveller. What better way to do than to participate in a marathon that pays homage to our martyrs.
The nearest airport from Kargil is in Srinagar, about 204 kilometres away.