As soon as one leaves Kargil on the NH1D and progresses towards Leh region, the entire landscape changes. Snow peaked mountains and greenery are only distant features in the landscape.
45 kms east of Kargil, lies a beautifully landscaped hamlet called Mulbek and is predominantly a Buddhist area. Many monuments of the early Buddhist era dot the landscape among which the chief attraction is Mulbek Chamba, a 9 m high rock sculpture in deep relief of the Maitreya, the “Future Buddha”, which reflects a unique blend of esoteric Saivite symbolism, with early Buddhist art. Situated right on the highway, it dates back to the period when Buddhist missionaries came travelling east of the Himalayas during the 7th and 8th centuries.
Mulbek gompa, the main monastery of the area is perched atop a rocky hill that dominates the valley below. It is easy to see why in the past this site served as an outpost to guard the caravan route between Kashmir and Ladakh.
Further on the NH1D highway, one would start to ascend, to reach the highest point on the highway, Fotu la. Fotu la is a pass situated on the Srinagar-Leh (NH1D) highway at an elevation of 4,108 meters (13,478 ft) and surpasses the famed Zoji la.
Fotu La is one of the two high mountain passes between Leh and Kargil, the other being Namika La. It descends to the town of Lamayuru towards the east of it.
Some of the landscapes on this way just keep you awestruck.