Netflix is all set to release director Sharan Sharma’s biographical film, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, starring Janhvi Kapoor in the titular role. While the story traces the life of India’s first female pilot in combat in Kargil, the movie also reminds us how the famed battleground is more than just a war zone. We look at some of the spots that make this mountainous town a great tourist destination as well. By Bayar Jain

The upcoming biographical film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, directed by Sharan Sharma and produced under Dharma Productions traces the journey of India’s first female pilot in combat. A middle-class Lucknow girl, Gunjan Saxena (played by Janhvi Kapoor) achieves this feat and sets her name in history, all while simultaneously battling gender stereotypes at the war-torn land. Backdropping this inspiring movie is the mountainous beauties and serene riverbanks of the country—a visual often overshadowed by its war-torn past. We look back at some of these gems, reminding you how Kargil is much more than its bloodied history.

1. Mulbekh Monastery

 

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Home to a nine-feet tall Maitreya Buddha statue, the monastery is believed to date back to the 8th century AD. This revered shrine consists of two gompas, Drukpa and Gelugpa, atop a 200-metre high hill. Valuable paintings and ancient relics complete the serenity here. If spirituality isn’t your choice of travel, then head here to gaze at the expansive landscapes of Kargil—a view you’re bound to remember for years to come.

2. Phuktal Monastery

 

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Located away from the main town, Phuktal Gompa is another significant religious destination of Kargil. Believed to date back to approximately 2,500 years, this cave-monastery once served as a meditation spot for sages. It’s cliffside structure, reminiscent of Bhutan’s Paro Taktsang monastery, houses a temple, prayer rooms, a library with sacred manuscripts, and teaching facilities as well.

3. Pashkum

 

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Around 15 kilometres away from Kargil, this ancient village will help you deep-dive into the town’s history. Replete with fortresses and castles dotted along hillocks, and enrapturing views of snow-covered peaks in the distance, this gem is a great place to slip into deep thoughts. The ideal way to spend your time here is to sit back and get lost in the beauty of the landscapes.

4. Karste River

 

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A tributary of the Suru River, this ice-cold water body break away from the rugged terrain of the region and provides a soothing, gentle picture instead. Willow trees and green pastures complete the picturesque sight, making it a preferred trekking spot as well.

5. Padum

 

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Named after Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padum once served as the capital of the Zanskar empire. This town is home to many attractions such as a Mud Palace, monasteries, and rock carvings from the 8th Century. A trekker’s delight, Padum brings with it many rough terrains for mountain bikers to traverse and challenging rocks to scale.

Related: Visit These Places In Jammu & Kashmir For A Spiritual Journey Of Your Lifetime