In a search of absolution - Solo Ride to Heaven

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by KurtRules, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. sripurna_987

    sripurna_987 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Bengaluru
    Fantastic photos of Pangong!!! Man those blue shades are to die for!!! My adrenalin shoots up everytime i see a photo!! :)
     
  2. Salil

    Salil Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Messages:
    4,467
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Noida, Delhi - NCR
    Beautiful pictures and wonderful narration. Waiting for the next part. Too bad they have 'officially' stopped giving permits for Marsimik La :( .
     
  3. chauhan_ait

    chauhan_ait The tourer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    0
    beautiful pics bro! after the dose of this beauty, it has become difficult for me to wait for THE day when i start off for leh....
     
  4. anupmathur

    anupmathur Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    32,617
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    New Delhi
    What holds you back, Chauhan? Days for this year are fast running out!
    Just go!! :grin:
     
  5. chauhan_ait

    chauhan_ait The tourer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    0
    aah! nothing holds me anup sir, but my leaves start from 10th Aug, and 10th Aug is THE day when we start off.. so wish i could directly jump from 30th of july to Aug 10th:grin:
     
  6. tsk1979

    tsk1979 Reclaimed and Recycled

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    6,908
    Likes Received:
    526
    Waiting for the rest buddy!
     
  7. Prasham

    Prasham Armchair Traveller :(

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,277
    Likes Received:
    403
    Location:
    Surendranagar
    Great pics and amazing blog!
     
  8. KurtRules

    KurtRules Come as you are!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    7,080
    Likes Received:
    111
    Location:
    Singapore
    Thanks everyone once again, i m glad u r enjoyin it.....Here's the one for the next day....a reaaaaalllly long ride so to say!! :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  9. KurtRules

    KurtRules Come as you are!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    7,080
    Likes Received:
    111
    Location:
    Singapore
    Day 7 Leh-Srinagar (434 km, 13 hours)

    “Ouch, that hurts” I squeaked as the bag buckle pierced through my finger while packing early morning. It was bleeding, so I took out my first aid kit and got it fixed up. I paid the hotel bill, got my stuff on to the bike once again and by time I left it was already 7 a.m.

    I was just as excited doing this loop as well, cause it was again unfamiliar territory for me. It’s quite pleasurable when you realize that the way you took while coming and the way you are gonna take while leaving are entirely different. Was leaving Leh with sweet memories, vowing to come back next year, and if possible, touch China!

    So I was my way again, humming merrily to myself.

    Gurdwara patthar Sahib enroute:

    136.jpg

    137.jpg

    The Indus Gorge:

    138.jpg

    The confluence of the Indus and Zanskar at Nimoo:

    139.jpg

    140.jpg

    141.jpg

    Somewhere:

    142.jpg

    The Road to Kargil:

    143.jpg

    144.jpg

    145.jpg

    The loops ( Similar to the gata loops )

    146.jpg

    Good Lord!

    147.jpg

    The panorama on this route had a charm of its own, dusty roads, sand dunes all along the way. The roads were in a better condition though than the ones I had encountered before. En-route I again came across an army convoy, taking me ages to overcome them. It was a weird game of cat and mouse, because when I halted for a click, they used to come up from behind like monsters and slowly nudge past me. A repetitive chase for me!!

    Bumping my way up the curves, I reached the highest point on the highway, the FotuLa Top

    148.jpg


    An observatory up there:

    149.jpg

    A Native:

    150.jpg

    Another Pass on this route:

    151.jpg

    152.jpg

    After traversing through arena, I arrived in Kargil. I had imagined Kargil to be an Army settlement. How wrong I was! It was a small little city on its own. Initial plan was to spend the night here, but I arrived too early for that. It was 12:30 and I was damn hungry. Pulled up to this nearby Punjabi Dhaba (Yes, a Punjabi dhaba on this terrain!).

    The sardarji there offered dal chawal and subji (staple north Indian diet in ladakh!).Tasty again. Ate heftily, paid the guy and sat outside on my bike.

    Now then, “Should I, shouldn’t I, should I, shouldn’t I……..

    "Oh Common, cruise man....cruise....get on with it", echoed the voice of my soul!

    So, there I was again, on my saddle, ready to move on to Drass. Crazy!

    A busy street in kargil:

    153.jpg

    154.jpg

    The Dhaba:

    155.jpg

    BEWARE!!

    156.jpg

    En-route to Drass:

    157.jpg

    I had acclimatized myself to the never-ending picturesque panorama. There were stages, when I couldn’t figure out whether to ride or just stop for unlimited photography.

    After an hour or so of riding from kargil, I arrived at the Drass War Memorial, built in the memory of the kargil war martyrs.

    Some pictures there:

    158.jpg

    159.jpg

    160.jpg

    161.jpg

    162.jpg

    Tiger Hill (The highest Peak in the range) and in its vicinity is Tololing

    163.jpg


    Entering Drass:

    164.jpg

    Road just after the exit:

    165.jpg

    Crossed Drass at around 3 pm. The environs were beginning to change a bit now. I could see greenery around a bit in striking contrast to the barren landscape of Ladakh. Could sense, that the Kashmir Valley was just around the corner.

    The eye sore had refused subside even after repetitive efforts of washing. The pupil had begun to swell a bit and the pain intruded my vision every time I blinked. It was getting hard for me to concentrate on the road. So I stopped for a while, had a lot of water and sat down, figuring what to do next. The vision of the right eye had gone bloody blurry, so i took out my eye drops, poured in, gathered courage and limped on, unknowingly, that the worst part of the ride was yet to come.

    ZoziLa (Another pass), a curse for peace seeking travelers on this route. The damn roads composed of mud, gravel and srazor sharp rocks. And lots of dust! On top of that, trucks, as far as the eye can see. Crawling ever so gently up the slope like huge beasts, cautious, ready to pound on their prey! And leaving clouds of dust and blinding the poor little biker trodding behind!

    I was dirty, in fact, dusty, muddy, wet, smelly……!

    I took me three hours to get to Sonamarg from Drass. I was infuriated but then at the same time, helpless!

    166.jpg

    Road leading to ZoziLa:

    167.jpg

    From ZoziLa

    168.jpg

    169.jpg

    Camps down below in the meadow near Sonamarg:

    170.jpg

    172.jpg

    Sonamarg was really very beautiful, just as I had heard. Pine trees, lush green meadows, very lively and energetic!

    Stopped for a cup of tea and admired the scenery, when suddenly touts rushed in.

    "Kaha se aaye ho sahab, kaha ja rahe ho", the common question.

    Answered his query, and he took out his notepad and began showing me pics of his houseboat. Lovely, very beautiful, and i gave it back to him.

    "Rs1000, just for you", he went on.

    Tried to talk my way out of it, but he wudnt listen. So i just had to......"Jammu jaa raha hu, aaj hi...ab theek hai"!!!!!

    .......................

    .......................

    Silence is bliss!


    At Sonamarg:

    171.jpg

    Srinagar was around 88 km from here. Was running out of fuel so I tanked her up at a fuel station on the way and carried on.

    173.jpg

    On the way, eerie feelings had begun to creep in. It was shocking to see an army personnel every 100-200m on the route. The area had been converted into a virtual fortress, guarded by the army. The scariest moment was yet to come.

    Srinagar was still 35 kilometers away. I had crossed many Kashmiri villages on the way, where I got unwanted stares from angry faces asking me through their eyes ..........“What the hell are you doing here!!!”.
    The moment came, when I was crossing Ganderbal, another village enroute ( a bomb explosion killed a tourist and a local boy recently). I spotted cars parked in the middle of the road, swerved my bike around them.

    A little distance up ahead, locals had gathered on the road for god-knows-why! I was going past them when Suddenly, a man from the crowd rushed up to me, signaling me to stop. I gasped in horror!!!.

    Gave it a full throttle and zoomed pass him, when up ahead, another man was pulling down the barrier.

    Was 80 in the speedometer, and I thought, it’s now or never. Crossed the barrier just before it came down!!. Phew...

    I thanked all the gods I knew of. I had come out of this one, alive!

    Reached Srinagar at around 8 o clock and rushed in the nearest hotel I could spot. I wanted no more adventures for the night, had enough in my kitty now!

    Tempretures were soaring in Srinagar and it was pretty crowded, most of them, army guys...Got a room for Rs 500, had a nice long cold shower. I could have got myself killed, was all that was going through my mind.

    I decided against staying in Srinagar for that extra day and would leave early tomorrow morning. Had around 650 km to cover for Chandigarh. Would come again next year for the shikara ride, temples and gardens....


    Dal lake at night, with its never ending line of house boats

    174.jpg

    I went out to Nathu Sweets, right on the boulevard road for a dosa, admired a few Kashmiri women, in their highly decorated shalwaar-kameez, looked for a beer, coudnt find one.. came back to the room, and slept instantly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  10. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    40,895
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Boss you took me back to Shrinagar... the place is getting horrifying... I could imagine the sequence of events you went through & the "thanking of all gods" referred by you... were those guys pulling barriers down, some locals ?? what were the other tourists in cars on road doing ??
    BTW, photos are not visible inline... & its a double entry of same post... you may edit same..
     

Share This Page