After the amazing night spent at a hotel, we covered a distance of 110km on the NH1 that connects between Leh to Srinagar; of all the roads we travelled this was the most amazing one and as the needle on the speedometer hit 100, I was destined to kiss the ground. As I fell down I realized that I had killed a dog and every incidence has a lesson to learn. I understood that, to reach Himalayas we need to have patience and not speed. She will embrace you with all her warmth only if you respect her. The locals and got off the vehicles and began their holy prayers in front of the dog’s body for a smooth transition of its soul to the nether world.
Memories irked me as we rode to the magnetic hill. This is one attraction where every rider would certainly stop by and park their vehicles in neutral and rejoice when the vehicle would move all by itself without any acceleration.
110 km was a little tiring however, once we reached Lamayuru, the mesmerizing Himalayas took away all the exertion as we stood in front of her. Resembling a beautiful bride adorned with the gold ornaments all set to cast a magic on her groom, this is a view not to be missed. Staying at the hotel Moon Land was equivalent to being right on top of the moon; with the setting sun on the right and the wind creating the striation on the mountains, the lands below resemble the craters on the moon. We could not ask for anything more; with the shield of the divine monastery right behind us, we spent the night at this magical place of Lamayuru.
With the beautiful landscape filled in the heart and dreams; the day dawned and we got ready to start towards Kargil, “The land of Unsung Heroes”. Located at a distance of 102 km, the emotions inside me got immense remembering the land where we were going to. Visiting the banks of memory treasures and recollecting the days of the Kargil war, we kept riding. Roads to Kargil are similar to NH1; just for the river Suru that flows in the Zojila residency, Zojila Pass. Residency of Zojila is a three star hotel and a cozy place for all hookah lovers. Our stay was soothing but our journey to Drass next day almost drifted me to a different world altogether.
Kargil to Srinagar
Last day of our riding had arrived, our fascinating journey had almost come and here were in the War memorial at Drass which is at a distance of 50km. The wide gates on either sides swing open calling everyone to embrace with love. As our unsung heroes sleep peacefully on the ground which was once guarded by them, this place also has a museum and a small canteen which serves the best samosas for travelers at nominal cost. Paying tribute to the heroes, we started our journey towards Srinagar. On the way back, having kids innocent kids as your pillion adds more joy to my travel memorandum.
Sonmarg: With the heavy traffic and the dusty roads, ride to Sonmarg wasn’t all that easy. Sonmarg has sledging and rafting and lakeside camping as well for adventure lovers. We reached Srinagar in the evening and pampered ourselves in a boat-house on the effervescent Dal Lake. The cost per night is 2500 INR/- which was inclusive of dinner, and breakfast for the next morning. We used Shikaras to move in and out of the lake and a visit to the floating market is worthwhile. A swim in this fresh water lake and a visit to Nishath and Chashm hi Shahi gardens brought all my cells to life again before we hit the bed reliving those amazing moments spent for the last 11 days.
It was out time to bid good-bye to our companions; our mechanic and our guide Wan gal and Gurmit; we had reached the airport and our 12 days journey are to be remembered for years to come by.
Dreamer signing off from Himalayas!
(Narrated by Sreehari Sukumaran and written by Siddhi Ved)