The village in the bowl shaped valley: Sankoo, Suru Valley
Located at an altitude of about 9,524 feet above sea level is the small township of Sankoo which is located at a distance of 42 km south of the town of Kargil in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir. The village of Sankoo in a bowl shaped valley that has been drained out by a large tributary steam of the Suru river.
The village of Sankoo is easily accessible by road from the town of Kargil. There are government buses that ply to the village of Sankoo and the neighboring villages in the Suru Valley. The government buses are always over crowded so if you plan on taking the bus make sure that you reach early and get a seat in the bus.
The other option is to hop onto one of the many sharing jeeps that ply that route. These jeeps can be found near the Kargil taxi union and are a much better option than the bus. Hiring a taxi from Kargil only makes sense if it’s a group of travellers or if you plan on travelling all through Suru Valley and into the Zanskar Valley.
Sankoo has plenty of greenery all around the village and is easily the only place in the barren rugged region of Ladakh where greenery actually flourishes and makes this tiny village look like a veranda of flowers. Sankoo has dense plantation of poplars, willows, myrcarea and wil roses that fill the bowl shaped valley, giving it the ambiance of a forest tucked within the mountain rapparts.
The villagers from Sankoo earn their living by growing crops such as wheat and also a few seasonal fruits. Many of them are into animal husbandry while a few are now entering into tourism by turning their houses into guest houses, tea stalls and small eateries. The houses in the village are mostly made of mud and stones and all of them have wooden windows.
Since Sankoo is the most developed village in the Suru Valley it has a high school and a hospital in the village that caters to all the children in the valley. The village of Sankoo is small enough to get around the whole place by foot, it does not take more than 20 minutes to explore the whole village. Early in the morning plenty of colourful birds visit this village because of its abundance of greenary.
Accommodation in Sankoo is in the form of very basic home stays and a few guest houses, no hotels as such exist in this village, since very few people spend the night here. Most of the people who visit this village generally stop over for breakfast or evening tea since this is either the first stop or the last while going or returning from Padum in Zanskar, since Sankoo is the only place en-route to Zanskar Valley where a decent eatery can be found early in the morning.
Sankoo does not have anything to offer from a tourist point of view other than the village mosque and the lush greenery all around the village. Sankoo makes a very nice morning breakfast stop.