August 14, 2021
The Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum of Silk Route and Central Asian Trade was established in the year 2005. The bulk of the collections were recovered from the Munshi Aziz Bhat Sarai established in 1920 by the grandfather of the museum curator Munshi Aziz Bhat. This was the central hub of trading activities in Kargil, with 7 shops selling imported luxury goods and inn for Central Asian caravans. The ground floor of the 3 storied building was used for animals, the 1st floor to store goods and the 2nd floor had rooms for the traders who passed through Kargil.
Local and foreign utensils, lamps and torches as well as objects of leisure such as hubble bubbles, opium pipes, snuff boxes made of silver, books and magazines bring alive the ambience of the sarai where myriad travellers came together. Handmade caps from across Central Asia, luxurious silk and muslin, imported everyday goods such as toiletries catering to the local elite, imported dye boxes as well as foreign and local medicines indicate the prosperity of Kargil and its surrounding regions, that served not only as a major centre along popular trade routes but also as an important market.