Sunday, 31 August 2014

Day 5 : Sonmarg - Drass - Kargil

Day 5 : Events (Aug 19)


  • Got up by 7 am and started hiking towards the mountain to see some snow
  • Got to see some snow (which was about to melt off) at some height in the mountain
  • Hiked back to our tents and had some breakfast
  • Saddled up the bike and left Sonmarg around 9am
  • Enjoyed the Sonmarg view so much that I by mistake rode down the mountain till I realised Drass is connected from the top of the mountains to Sonmarg
  • While riding back checked at the only petrol bunk at Sonamarg and there was no petrol
  • Enquired locally and came across a person named Mr Jaffer who helped me with 8 litres of Petrol
  • Rode to Dras with some of the challenging roads till now and was stranded at Zoji-La (pass) for 2 hours due to blasting work conducted by BRO. Met few other bikers and many other travellers from all over the world.
  • Roads opened again at 3 pm and headed to Kargil War Memorial at Drass
  • Spent some time at the memorial
  • Headed to Kargil and stayed back for the night
Route:
Sonmarg - Zoji-La - Drass - Kargil

Road condition:
Few kilometers after leaving Sonmarg, roads were one of the toughest I have ridden on. Smooth while sand (or you can call them dust, they were so fine) and sharp stones and gravel all the way till Drass. Of course the only substance which makes me call it a road is some hard ground which gives the grip for the tyres to rotate. So in short I can summerise the experience as, there was around 50 kms of tough terrain for one to master to make it to Drass.

Note: The roads near Zoji-La pass remains closed from 11am - 3pm for maintenance work. So plan your travel accordingly.

Entry Fee: 
While entering Kargil, I paid 50 bucks at a toll (run by local youth), which is used for local area development. This is not paid by local (J&K) vehicles.

Climate/Weather:
Punjab was hot and humid, but good cruising speeds on highways, more than compensates for the same. As one crosses Pathankot, cold breeze can be felt and the surroundings get cooler (than Punjab).

Fuel Stops:
Ludhiana : 
Rs 740 / 72.00 pl = 10.3 Ltrs


First view in the morning from inside the tent.


Bikes rested in the dew the whole night just to experience this majestic view well before any of us.


Tents in the background.



Hike to see the snow..

Those tents provide tea, softdrinks, biscuits, etc to travellers






Sun rays piercing through the trees on the mountain peaks.




These two guys made it till the snow. Hats off!


A local enjoying the morning sun at Sonmarg.





Myself, Murali, Sameer and Sriky (at a distance) on the way back to camping site.


After a good breakfast of Toast and Tea, I started off from the camping site..


This is how the rivers get water.



After looking around, finally found Jaffer sahab's abode. He helped me tank up with 8 litres of petrol for my journey till Kargil.




The challenging roads to reach Dras.


That orange bleep in this photograph is a guy riding an Apache on the road which I just came through.


As the road remains closed from 11am-3pm on the Zoji-La (pass) for maintenance work by BRO, all riders and travellers socialise and share their stories here. The tent in yellow sells water and confectionaries to travellers. Trust me its a blessing to have such a shop here in the middle of nowhere.



The memorable Zojila Pass.




Stopped to respond to a young passer by waving at me:)

Finally made it through Zojila to the other side.






Bike and the rider both needed a breather after reaching Dras.


Kargil War Memorial at Dras












The brave hearts who went beyond their mortal abilities and were acknowledged by Indian Army.







Selfie at Kargil War Memorial

Leaving behind the War Memorial and heading towards Kargil for the night.

Well..this is weird. I am not sure Google/Android/GPS got my route wrong just for this patch, which happens to be a sensitive area with heavy army presence. Just for that stretch where I crossed Drass, the GPS points to some place thousands of kilometers away. See the next picture to know where.

Can you believe this?!! This remains as an unsolved mystery till I find a logical explanation for this weird incident.

Night Halt:
Place                : Kargil
Accommodation : DASPA Hotel/Homestay,  Just after the entrance toll gate to Kargil
Cost per Room   : Rs 
Room Capacity   : 3
Other Details     :
- Traditional wooden interior with beautiful carpeted floor keeps the the house warm
- The accommodation was very clean and cozy
- Best part of the stay was the owner Daspa Ji, very welcoming person and goes out of his way to fulfill your requirements
- The house basic built triplex type (3 storeys) and is maintained with touches of local influence (furniture, crockery, etc)
- Morning view from the breakfast table is awesome, the mountain starts just 50 feet away and there are few gardens around the house


View the Main Post for this ride
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