Also known as the pillar of the sky pass, for it is one of the highest passes in India, Namika La pass is located in the Zanskar Valley on the way that leads to Mulbek valley. Namika in local language means one that holds the sky. It is one of the tallest passes in India fits the name it has. From far a look at Namika La Pass shows a pillar-like rock that is rising towards the sky.
Namika la had an instrumental role in being the gateway between Kargil and Leh. It acted as a bridge connecting the two major cities since ancient times.
LOCATION AND CLIMATE
This pass is located in the Zanskar region of Himalayan mountain ranges. It is located in the Srinagar Leh Highway at an elevation of 3700 meters above the sea level. The climate is too harsh that the area is barren, there is no greenery nor life. However, once you reach the base of the pass, weather becomes better. The pass is believed to be holding up the sky. It provides breathtaking views of the valleys.
HOW TO REACH
It is located in the Srinagar – Leh highway, National Highway 1D and could be accessed through road. It is in between Shargol and Kharbu.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The place could be visited from early June to October when the climate is not harsh, and roads are clear.
There are sightseeing options. There is also the rock carvings of Maitreya Buddha and a Gompa of Maitreya Buddha, which is a significant tourist attraction. The pass, in general, is very dry, however once covered, it gives a scenic view of lush green valley and ice topped mountains.
The valleys, after Namika La, is picturesque. One of them is the Chigtan valley. Many historical pieces of evidence out here show the presence of human settlements in this area, which is attractive for tourists who find an interest in history. It is also interesting 9in a way that the valleys of Namika la are areas wherein Buddhism and Islam merge. The culture here is hence unique.
Mulbek is one of the major tourist attractions near Namika La. It is told that Mulbek monastery consists of two Gompa. There is the most well known Chambal statue, an unusually tall statue of Maitreya Buddha. It is located towards one side of the road. As said earlier, historically, Namika La and the valleys around it has much significance. Ancient inscriptions dating back to the Kushan period is found in here. The language used in the script is Kharoshti. Kharoshti is an old language which is no more in use today.
As said earlier, Shargol is also nearby Namika LA and is known for its cave monastery. This is an architectural marvel.
WHERE TO STAY
Mulbek is a popular tourist destination near Namika La pass and accommodation facilities are available near Mulbek. Hotels and homestays are also available at Shargol and Kharbu.
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