Day 4 June 4 2013 Srinagar – Kargil 210 kms

Route Map

We will be entering the Ladakh region today and will also be crossing our first Pass or ‘La’ of the trip – Zoji La which is at an altitude of 11,575 feet. After a quick check up of the bikes we saddle up and head towards the Dal Lake. The lake was huge and very beautiful. We clicked a few pictures and moved on towards Kargil. 

Roads were getting worse from here but the views were getti. We had a lot of tourist vehicles accompanying us, which means a headache for us to ride along with those reckless and speeding tourist cabs! They were all headed to Zero Point, a place after you cross Zoji La, where you can find snow at your reach. So tourists visit there to have some fun in the snow. 

We reached Sonamarg for lunch. It is a nice hilly village but heavily populated with the tourists who are on their way to Zero Point. We briefly had our lunch and proceeded towards Zoji La without wasting time. We were now riding closer to the snowy mountains, so we could feel the cold winds breeze past us as we ride on. This is why we love to ride! We had encountered our first road block of the trip. It was a landslide and the roads were closed as the workers of Border Roads Organization (BRO) were clearing up the mess. This is a usual sight in the Himalayas, but I have to mention the awesome job that the BRO does in those regions to maintain the roads motorable. 

Due to the road blocks there was a huge traffic jam of those tourist vehicles. Which means climbing Zoji La would be tough. As soon as the roads got cleared the mad rush of vehicles began. We maintained lead as we were on bikes, roads got tougher, there were boulders on the roads which we had to negotiate and not to forget the slush that is omnipresent here due to the melting of snow. We had to use the tracks that were made by the four-wheelers in the slush. And we finally cross our first pass of the trip without any problems.

After crossing Zoji La and zero point we leave behind the tourists. Now the landscape becomes Ladakhi, more beautiful and more stops for pictures. 

We crossed a few streams, passed through some barren lands, few good roads, some bad off road section, few army camps, few kilometers of no vehicles passing by, no network coverage zones and finally reach the town of Drass, the second coldest inhabited place which is at 10,760 ft. At Drass while having tea we met the Doc's gang from Odisha . 

Kargil War Memorial is located 5 kms from Drass towards Kargil. Kargil War Memorial was one of the best experiences of the trip. You get goose bumps as you enter the place with patriotic songs played around. When we entered it was ‘Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera’ from Swades one of my favorite ones. One highlight of this place was the message board where we can write our messages to the brave soldiers of Indian Army. We left a note saying “A Salute to your Bravery “written in Tamil. I will add a separate post for the pics clicked at Kargil War Memorial. 

The last 20 odd kilometers to Kargil was one of the toughest sections of the ride as we ride in pitch dark with landslide prone, shooting-stones prone, narrow roads. We were riding at edge of the cliff with the Drass River flowing beside; we could just hear the gushing water. Finally we reach Kargil by 9:30 PM and find a hotel for the night.

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