What is Kargah Buddha?It is actually a rock carving at a ravine in the Gilgit city just at a distance of 10 kilometers from the city center which is visited by almost every tourist who visits the Gilgit city. Actually, the Kargah is the name of the small hamlet on the outskirts of Gilgit city and the carving has been given the name of Buddha because according to the people of the region the carving was carved by the Buddhists in the seventh century and excavated in 1938-1939 by the archaeologist.
Related facts and storiesAs Gilgit-Baltistan is home to the world mightiest mountain ranges and towering mountains are composed of sheer rocks, it is usual that you would find many rock carvings in the region. The reason is, long ago the region was the centerfield of Buddhist culture and religion and they had chipped many prints of Buddha at the rocks which are present until now in the region, although the region now has converted to Islam and there is 100% Muslim population. In the early days when Buddhism was on the peak, the rock carving was one of the prominent ways of preaching.
In most of the carvings you would find the Buddha in the center and small Buddhas around the bigger one and in some cases, there would be inscription written on the rocks. Such a rock has been found in Skardu city as well which has a number of Buddhas carved into the rock and there is something written in Tibetan.
According to historians, the Buddhism entered the Gilgit-Baltistan region in the 4th century through the region of Baltistan and until 7th century the region was the center of the Buddhist culture and Buddhism was on peak. During this, a number of rock carvings were inscribed on the rock in many valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan but only a few has been in the limelight.
Mythical storyAccording to the indigenous people, there was an ogress known as Yakhsni who would attack the humans and eat all those who came to encounter her. But she was devoured and locked in the rock by a local preacher reciting the holy scripts of Quran.
A similar tale would tell in the region of Baltistan where "Yasheeni, Balti version of Yakhsni" was a sign of fear for the kids. Mothers would tell the story in lullaby and make them sleep by telling that if they don't sleep Yasheeni would appear here and eat them.