Kargil War Memorial: 1999 is important in the history of India from the point of view of India’s politics and its foreign relations. Truly the Kargil war shook the pulse of India, but the Indian Army’s timely attack against Pakistan made India proud, although many of our soldiers lost their lives in the war.
The Kargil War Memorial was built by the Indian Army to commemorate the massive victory of the brave Indian soldiers in the Kargil War of 1999. The memorial is located in Drass, a hill town in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir. In May 1999, Pakistani troops invaded and occupied several hills along the Indian state’s Line of Control, such as Tololing, and the Tiger Hills.
Indian Army retaliated strongly and recaptured all the bases. However, during the war, many martyrs and jawans selflessly lost their lives and the Kargil War Memorial is a tribute to their bravery and sacrifice this historical monument made of pink sandstone is the epitome of sheer bravery and sacrifice.
The huge Indian flag, weighing around 15 kg, flies grandly at the monument and tells many untold stories of the sacrifices made by the army men to keep this flag high here. The memorial is located at the exact spot where the Kargil War took place and in fact one can see in the background the Tololing Hill and Tiger Hills which were captured by the Pakistani Army.
Cemetery in Memorial and War Museum is an acronym for the words how indebted we are to the Indian Army jawans and their families. If you are traveling to the Leh Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, then visiting the Kargil War Memorial is the best thing that you can do.
How To Reach
There are three ways to reach the Kargil War Memorial from Leh. You can either visit Srinagar and then visit Kargil War Memorial or Kargil and then visit Kargil War Memorial depending on your travel plan in the Leh Ladakh region.
- Leh to Kargil War Memorial via Srinagar: From Leh, you can take an Air India non-stop flight to Srinagar; The price of which starts from Rs 3,800. From Srinagar, you can hire a taxi and reach the Kargil War Memorial which is about 160 km away via NH1. The journey duration from Srinagar to War Memorial is around three and a half hours.
- Leh to Kargil War Memorial via Kargil: There is a state government-operated bus that leaves Leh every day at 2:00 PM and reaches Kargil by late evening. The travel cost per person on this bus is Rs 604. From Kargil, the war memorial is 53.5 km away and you can cover the distance in an hour to a few minutes by hiring a taxi.
- Leh to Kargil War Memorial Non-stop: The most convenient option is to take a taxi from Leh to Kargil and it can cost around Rs 7000. However, the fare for the return journey may increase up to Rs 10,000.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the Kargil War Memorial is during the summer months from March to June. During this period of the year, National Highway 1D connecting Srinagar and Leh remains open for tourists and the weather is pleasant with clear, blue skies.
The average maximum temperature remains slightly above 20 °C and is ideal for sightseeing. Winters (October – February) in Dras are spine-chilling and the temperature drops to -50°C. During the monsoon months from July to September, landslides and cloudbursts are frequent issues that will hamper your sightseeing experience.
- Location: Drass, National Highway 1D, Jammu, and Kashmir.
- Timings: 7.00 AM to 7.00 PM on all days
- Mobile connectivity: As in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir, only postpaid connections work in this region. Mobile connectivity in Kargil is excellent as providers like BSNL, Airtel, and Jio provide very good connectivity with good data clarity. These providers also provide 4G data in Kargil. Tourists are advised to carry two to three power banks with them as the power supply is uncertain in these high-altitude areas.
- ATM: Jammu and Kashmir Bank has ATMs in Dras and Kargil. Apart from these, there is an SBI ATM along with the premises of Dras War Memorial.
- Petrol Pump: There is no petrol pump in Dras. However, there is one HP petrol pump in Kargil.
- Medical Facilities: Dras has a minor medical dispensary with one doctor. Kargil has sophisticated hospitals with facilities like ambulance services, surgical facilities, emergency care, maternity care, and laboratory services.
- Reputed Hospitals in Kargil: District Hospital Kargil and Army Hospital
History of Kargil War Memorial
From 8 May 1999 to 5 July 1999, the infamous Kargil War between India and Pakistan occurred when Pakistani troops infiltrated approximately 4 to 10 km into Indian territory. The Indian Army gave a befitting reply to the intruders and after several days of fighting, India declared a significant victory on the battlefield on 26 July 1999.
To celebrate the success of Operation Vijay during the 1999 Indo-Pak war and to pay homage to the brave martyrs who laid down their lives for the country, the historical monument, Dras War Memorial was built at the foothills of Tololing Hill in Dras. Every year 26 July is celebrated as Kargil Day.
Inside the Memorial
Visitors to the monument are welcomed at the entrance, which features the poem “Pushp ki Abhilasha (Wish of a flower)” by poet Makhanlal Chaturvedi. A MIG aircraft and some other cannons and army vehicles are displayed along the way. Inside the monument at the entrance center of the monument is the Amar Jawan flame which is lit 24*7.
Just above the flame is a tower with the words “Operation Vijaypath”, on which the Indian tricolor flag flies high. Behind it is the Memorial Wall, which has the names of all the martyrs who died in the Kargil War. Next to the Memorial Wall is the Special War Gallery named after Captain Manoj Pandey. The gallery shows photographs and confiscated Pakistani weapons from the war shown here which give an insight into the actual war events.
The War Museum inside the monument houses military emblems, war document archives, and miniatures of the Himalayan mountain range. On the other side of the war museum is the memorial ground where soldiers rest in peace. A condolence song written by Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan found at the memorial makes everyone cry.
The sight of this place fills one’s heart with immense patriotism and gratitude toward the soldiers of the army. The cafeteria inside the war memorial is run by army personnel and serves tea and samosas. Then, there is also a souvenir shop selling hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc., to freeze the moments of this extraordinary trip. A sound and light show and a video documentary showing about 15 minutes on the memorial are a must-watch that explains the events of the war.
Read More: Kargil Travel Guide
Traveler Tips for Visiting Kargil War Memorial
- Drass is the second coldest place in the world so even if you are visiting the Kargil War Memorial in winter, carry enough woolen clothes to keep yourself warm.
- It is a high-altitude destination, which is situated at an altitude of about 3,300 meters above sea level. So, give yourself enough time to get used to the cold weather and altitude.
- See if your body shows signs of restlessness and take medications to treat high altitude sickness.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Carry a power bank, a postpaid mobile connection, and a sufficient amount of cash.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kargil War Memorial
Q. Where was the Kargil War Memorial located?
A – As a fitting recognition of the supreme sacrifice made by our brave soldiers during ‘Operation Vijay’, the Kargil War Memorial was constructed in the year 2004 at “Ground Zero” in Dras. It includes Amar Jawan Jyoti, Manoj Pandey Gallery and. Heroic Land.
Q. Can we visit the Kargil War Memorial?
A – From May to September/October the roads from Srinagar and Manali side to Leh Ladakh remain open. However, the best time to visit the Kargil War Memorial Monastery is during the annual Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations on 26 July each year.
Q. Who built the Kargil War Memorial?
A – The Kargil War Memorial, also known as the Drass War Memorial, is a war memorial built by the Indian Army in the city of Drass to commemorate the 1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan. The monument is located on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway 1D, about 5 km from the city center across Tiger Hill.
Q. What is the Kargil War Memorial?
A – The Kargil War Memorial is a commemorative monument built in honor of the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the Kargil War in 1999. It is located in the town of Dras, near the India-Pakistan border.
Q. Where is the Kargil War Memorial situated?
A – The Kargil War Memorial is situated in the town of Dras, which is also known as the ‘Gateway to Ladakh.’ It is located in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir, near the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan.
Q. What is the significance of the Kargil War Memorial?
A – The Kargil War Memorial serves as a symbol of the bravery and sacrifice of the Indian Armed Forces. It stands as a tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the nation in the Kargil War.
Q. What is the structure of the Kargil War Memorial?
A – The Kargil War Memorial features a giant sandstone wall with a cenotaph in the center. The cenotaph is surrounded by a beautiful garden, and the names of the soldiers who lost their lives in the war are inscribed on it.
Q. What is Kargil Vijay Diwas?
A – Kargil Vijay Diwas is an annual celebration held on July 26th to honor the soldiers who fought in the Kargil War. It is a day to remember the sacrifices made by the Indian Armed Forces in the war.
Q. How is Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrated at the Kargil War Memorial?
A – Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated with great fervor at the Kargil War Memorial. The celebrations include a wreath-laying ceremony, where people pay their respects to the soldiers who lost their lives in the war. It is also attended by various dignitaries and military officials.
Q. Can the public visit the Kargil War Memorial?
A – Yes, the Kargil War Memorial is open to the public. Visitors can pay their respects to the soldiers who lost their lives in the war and learn more about the history of the conflict.
Q. What is the best time to visit the Kargil War Memorial?
A – The best time to visit the Kargil War Memorial is during the summer months, from May to September. The weather is pleasant during this time, and the roads leading to the memorial are accessible. The Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations in July also attract a large number of visitors.
The Kargil War Memorial is an important landmark that honors the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Kargil War. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the Indian Armed Forces in the service of the nation.