A hundred-year-old famous bazaar in Kargil town of Ladakh region also known as heritage market has survived turbulent times and continues to attract customers looking for varied products.
Situated in the middle of Kargil town, previously, it evolved as a trading center along the silk trade route where travelers, traders would stop to rest, buy and sell.
The foreign trade of Ladakh was principally that of transit through the town which acted as a sole market or entrepot.
Muhammad Hussain, a retired government employee, who now runs a cloth shop in the market, said the market existed 100 years before.
“We sell clothes of different kinds both for winter and summer seasons. Most of the shops here sell clothes including pherans, hats which mostly come from Kashmir,” he said.
He, however, said the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the economy in the region which has also affected business volume in the marketplace.
Even today the Kargil markets keep hold of the old world charm and imitate the rich Central-Asian persuades in its architectural character. The market of Kargil bazaar is one of the significant features of the socio-cultural landscape of the region.
Muhammad Issaq, a tailor in the market, has been working here over the past thirty years and makes different traditional clothes used for both summer and winter seasons.
“This market is not only known for shopping for essential items but also for clothing. People also come here for marriage shopping and other essential commodities,” he added.
Interestingly, Issaq also makes Kashmiri pherans on demand of customers. In the market, traditional and cultural clothes remain available.
Two years ago, the Tourism Department Kargil decided to save the old market as a heritage market and restricted the dismantling of shops that are made of mountain stones, gravel and wood. The move has been hailed by the people at large.
As per the master plan of the district, the administration is developing Kargil as a tourist town by conserving and promoting the heritage of the town and its surrounding areas.