Dream Leh - Ladakh Expedition _ June'16

shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
Day 3 : Anantnag to kargil

DOJ :27th June, 2016 Mode :Bike
Distance covered:280Km.



Night was long gone, after wakeup alarm at 6 am everyone was looking for few more min. to close eyes. But all of us were aware that today ride is going to be long... and there is a Godzilla waiting for us.

Slowly by 6.30 am all were awake, ride preparation started. It was a cold morning with bright sunlight.


(Hotel Room View)

After 0ne hour all us were ready to checkout. We came down and had some tea and biscuit.



Luggage loading was pending and Tight fitment was necessary. I had heard about the horror story of Zozilla. With that keeping it in mind, it took nearly half an hour to finish loading. This time Anuj was first and again Arun was loading. Everything was pack and set.


(Arun smiling after loading)

With this morning some new names were given to our members... mast Maula Anuj has been certified as "Sultan Bhai" and our software bhai Arun is now our beloved Macho "Anna"

By 7.30 am we put our bikes in gear and started rolling. Ghatis were over and its was straight road toward Srinagar which 53Km ahead.
Plan was to take a stop in Srinagar, but to avoid Lal Chowk due to all "Glorious" Bloody history and buy some stuff , including mirror for Arun's RE.

Currently, Road is single lane, but soon it will be complete double lane all the way upto Srinagar.

So, It was lovely sunny morning, Bikes were gorgeous, roads were pretty... But something was terribly wrong...It was Kashmiri Militancy.
2 days back there was a coward militant attack on CRPF force at Pulwama, returning to their Base camp. 2 Pakistani militants were gunned down, but we have lost our 5 brave soldiers.

After attack Army was in no mood to take any chance, security were beefed up and it was completely tensed out there. We were rolling but all of us were very nervous. None of us has seen such situation. Between Anantnag and Srinagar we have crossed nearly 1500 Army truck with thousands of soldiers. Army was patrolling continuously to tackle any unwanted situation. Search operations were going on even in paddy field also. At every km a soldier was standing proud and alert. I salute to the bravery of the soldier who were securing the people and area where mostly hates them.

We were also in a hurry to cross this section as soon as possible. Road was good and we were trying to pull throttle as long as we can. Even though scenery was awesome we chose not to stop and get shot( Scenario was like a bullet could come around from any corner).

I stopped at somewhere and clicked the following pic:


Zoomed up board:


After that we rode non- stop till Srinagar and by 9am we reached Srinagar city entry point and waited for Anuj and Anurag to join clicked Few clicks from that chowk:
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After many minutes of waiting we called them, but Anurag mobile connections were gone and it was only Anuj's BSNL connection that was still working. We called them to know their position, but they went on wrong Gulmarg highway. We told them to meet us at Royal Enfield showroom in Sringar.

It's the only showroom of RE.

We moved ahead toward the showroom. It was busy Monday Morning. Streets were tight pack. Army was alert on every corner. Slowly after fighting entire traffic reached there.
Showroom was also full of customers- must say "Huge Demand". It took nearly 1 hr, just to change the mirror. I have utilize this time to buy tarpaulin and a rain coat. By the tin servicing was fininsh Anuj and Anurag Bhai also reached there.
By approx 10.30 am we started from RE workshop and took inner route . We crossed the Ghanta Ghar of Lal Chowk:


and then a lake ( Not Dal lake), but equally gorgeous:

We were on Dr.Ali Jaan Road. It's a two lane beautiful road.

We crossed Soura Police station and rejoined NH1. It was a busy chowk and road was also broken over there. Here we got a wrong info that Zozilla pass entry will close by 1pm. we got a little worried about it and tried to cover the stretch soon.

After crossing 30kms and Wayul, we met with powerful Sindh River. And it was on not in mood to spare anyone coming in its ways..


(Sindh River)

And our rides across the street:

Once all rejoined, we started for Zozilla. Road is very good on this stretch. Its a two lane without divider, but its smooth and wide enough. We were really enjoying our ride.

During school days, it was taught us that Himalayan range is as a wall of protection from strong wind from other side and also from our very friendly neighbor. We'll what I say, It was really a straight wall...a long straight wall:

Moving ahead Within an hour ride from Wayul we reached a very beautiful valley _ Kullan Valley. Scenery was mesmerizing here. It was all natural all around. Have a view:

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I was thinking to sit and enjoy the beauty as long as I can, But also worried about the Zozilla pass closure time. it was already around 1 pm. I thought by the time we'll reach the entry will get close. But planned to give it a chance.
We moved forward, and after around 20km of smooth ride and full of natural scenery we were in Sonmarg:
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And the team thumbs Up:
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Here are some views form Sonmarg:


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Road and security confidence has boosted tourism in this sector. You'll find many resorts and tents in this section. Crowd will be there, so be alert while crossing this section.
Since our destination was still 125 km we continued our ride. After around 5Km from our stop in Sonmarg hill climb starts. It was not very steep and road was nice with clear straight view.

I was looking for some signboard of Zozilla pass but no sign in sight. Suddenly I heard a loud noise, at first I thought it's noise coming from bike. But later when I removed helmet and headphones, I say two fighter planes roaring in the valley. They were so fast that within seconds they got disappeared but noise was still constant, that was amazing. After this quick excitement moment I moved forward toward Zozilla.

We were rolling and rolling but without any warning or check post Zozilla climb started ( there should be warning sign ) .

Here is what Zozilla is

(Dust in the wind)


(Low Visibility)


(Can test suspension durability here)






(Part of Zozilla that I took away)

As you can see, road was pathetic here. we were lucky that it was not raining, otherwise this place could be a living hell. To add climbing ride pleasure, there was ankle deep sand along with hidden small and big stones.

Everyone of us struggling badly. Thankfully my rear tyre width was more and has helped to get maximum grip possible to control. Unfortunately bullets tyre were not that capable and grip was getting nightmare. At one place, Manish bhai lost control on a turn. Bike rear got stuck and he was about to fall. But luckily two army guys helped him. They caught the falling bike and holded it same position until Manish bhai caught his breath. We thanked them and then moved forward.

But as I was climbing, bike has started showing trouble sign. It was not getting enough oxygen. And was lossing power gradually. It was like warzone now with lower ammunition. Conditions were not favourable at all. In first gear and at speed of 5~10, we were climbing slowly.

We saw a water crossing, but most important it was ice there. For the first time in the trip we saw ice.


(Happy Face - Anurag bhai)

Manish and Arun has stopped few mtrs away from ice. I moved and joined them after struggle:

What we saw at that point, was this:

Meanwhile Manish bhai took a momnet to warm his numb a$$,

Selfie time:

And some more pic from the top:




Collected some lost energy and after warming our numb a$$, we moved forward. Next stop was Zero Point. Road was still same. After 5~6 km paved road started:

We reached Zero point. It's glacier point and hence plenty of snow:

We rolled down our bikes toward the glacier point for fun:




After that we went for some snacks.But what made us amaze much more than glacier was Maggie rate... Rs 120 for rs 10 pack.
that was way too high. .. we ordered 3 coffee and 1 maggie .

In my view, place was getting exploited. Plastic was everywhere. Tourist were also littering garbage. It's not good. Respect the place, because if it will come on its own things will very bad for everyone.

After snacks, we went for quick check of the bike:

Zozilla has not spare us without loss. Bikes has suffered a lot and got damaged too.


(Manish TB Shocker oil seal got broken)


(P200NS front brake cover broke)


(No physical damage for Arun's TB)( Happy bugger :p )

Day 3: part1 end. Part 2 in next slide (Photo Uploading Concern)
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shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
While we were enjoying our coffee, Anurag and Arun moved away from crowd and went for famous Zozilla board:


Usually board is surrounded by meter long ice wall, but it was nothing like that during this month. Moreover We found two animals in its natural habitat:




(& a Thar)

Its go anywhere capability makes it highly recommended vehicle for the route.

On this route you will found out, Army and BRO has some best slogan maker with very good sense of humor`:

This route is not for children and so does the slogans. All of them should have 18+ symbol :p

Mine favorite was on route of Pangong "Lower your gear, Curves are near".

By now it was already 3pm, and Kargil was still 100 km away. The best part was that the max. tourist crowd return back from here to Srinagar, leaving empty road for us.

Now after some rest, we were all again on bike and slowly started our journey toward kargil. We crossed 3 water crossing within 5 km from Zozilla. But after that road was like directly to heaven, have a view and decide:


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We were like riding in dream. Everything was directly from fairy tale story. Minimum trafiic, No shop, no town, nothing is in this stretch.

Cant describe that feeling in words. Our dream broke when security personals waved to stop. We need to register our detail on check post.



We showed our Id cards along with licence and vehicle papers. After making quick entry, we left one by one. But after riding for 10 more km, Just like that road vanished.We took a stop at a food point at Matayen. Road was under construction, so we parked our bikes near hotel. It was 4.15 pm we all were very hungry. After Anantnag, we had only a real juice and a cup of coffee. We had maggie, lots of it.




After lunch, we were preparing to move further. I removed side stand and sat, due to soft and uneven ground bike got tilted in one direction and before I could react or think of anything I was kissing ground. Bike was over me and camera under it, Anuj and Arun ran toward me and lifted me up.

I checked for any damage in bike and camera. Thank god everything was ok. Once everyone's bike was out, we continued our journey. Road was only paved with gravel and potholes for next 20km. We were riding very slowly over it to avoid any puncture. When road is good, it gives you time to enjoy scenery. But on bad ones, all you can do is watch road very very carefully.






When we were about to enter Drass dist, when we saw another natural art near an army camp : Elephant rock


We rested and enjoyed the amazing beauty for few mins and again movd forward. After elephant rock we saw some improved road condition which got better as we we were closing by Drass. We gained some momentum and soon by 5.40 pm, we reached Drass. It's very small town limited population.


Since it was getting late and we had no idea about the road ahead, we choose to stay here for tonight. we inquired in every hotel of Drass. But they were charging very high for even a small room - 2500/room.
It was 6pm, but sunlight was still very bright. We choose to move to Kargil. What we have lost today was the Kargil War Memorial. It is just after Drass city. but by the time we reached, it was close. So, I have added it for my next ride.

We were again on road and target was Kargil which was 70km away.

The best part was now road was mind-blowing awesome.


We rode many kms ahead toward Kargil, somewhere near Kaksar Arun spotted Sunset point and stopped there for the view. It was all golden sky. Was lovely out there.




After this stop traffic was near to none. Road was glorious and Pulsar was running like bolt. Because of front tyre I was aware of grip loss, even though Road was challenging to ride fast... I was cautious and avoiding any sharp turn, but on long stretch I even touched 3 digit here. Zip Zap Zoom... We rode hard and by 8.30 Pm we were in Kargil.


By this time Kargil was almost close. Market were empty. We went toward inner part of Kargil city. After negotiating in 2~3 hotel we booked hotel at a place called Chanchick near Suru River for Rs. 1200. It was a fair deal. We unloaded our luggage and parked our bikes in front of hotel and went to our room. Room was good and was near to Suru river. Water current sound was very high and was giving good feeling. We all got freshen up and went for dinner. After dinner and during discussion for tomorrow, I dont know when or How I got slept.... But it was wonderful night.

Next : Day 4 - Kargil to Leh
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