Day 39 - Kargil to Srinagar

Riding through Zoji La, Jay rides 203 km from dry, barren Ladakh into the lush vale of Kashmir

 

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Fresh tandoori rotis being baked in the morning in Kargil.

I left Kargil early as I was told that the route could be rough and unpredictable heading into Srinagar. It was a bright and beautiful day but in the beginning I couldn't really enjoy it as I was focusing a lot on riding past the long army convoys that move up and down this route. These roads are kept open primarily for the military and us civilians should be thankful that we are even allowed to come up here and enjoy the beauty of nature. 
 

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The Indian Flag flying at the Kargil War Memorial at Dras.


A little ways out of Kargil, I came up to Dras and the Kargil War Memorial, where Operation Vijay was executed. There was a museum on the site showcasing photos from the war and the troubles that the Indian Army went through in securing victory. I paid my respects and continued on my way. 
 

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Traffic jam on the way to Zoji La, the last pass of this journey.


From here, the route slowly climbed up to Zoji La, the last pass of my trip and the transition from the dry side of Ladakh to the lush, green of Kashmir was quite dramatic. I knew it was Kashmir because it looked like all the postcards and posters that I had seen of Kashmir. But coming down from the pass, the road was closed as a landslide had just happened and it took about two hours to clear it. I met up with the Taj Royals again and we lunched together in Sonamarg coming down from the pass.
 

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A landslide just happened on the way down from Zoji La and it took about two hours to clear.


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The beautiful Kashmir Valley at Sonamarg.


The ride into Srinagar was very beautiful but I was blocked again, this time by some protesting women in a small town. Traffic was backed up for kilometers and just as I got to the block, the issue was resolved and traffic was let through. I soon rolled into the capital of the Kashmir Valley and found a small hotel near Dal Lake. After being in Ladakh, Srinagar felt like a mega city but I enjoyed the sights and got some good rest.  

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Houseboats on Dal Lake at Srinagar.


Watch the video diary of a real, live landslide:

   

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