Lamyuru looked more scenic in the morning. Strangely, as if like stray dogs, we could see a few foxes roaming around. Later we got to know it was because a lorry which was transporting chicken was parked next to our room and foxes had come due because of smell of chicken. Roads were comparatively better and we reached Kargil by noon, and had lunch in Kargil. Our bikes needed a bit of servicing; we got it done at mechanic shop nearby. Kargil seemed very new, it’s grown from a small town to a kind to city, in recent years, especially after the Kargil war.
We reached Dras Sector at 3pm; this place was the epicenter, where extreme gun battles took place during the Kargil war. It stands on the foot hills of Tololing, which was captured by Pakistan during the war. We could see the Pakistan infiltration camps and Tiger hill from where we stood. We saw a short movie on Kargil war, at the war memorial (Vikram Batra’s fight and death in the war was very touching)…
It was already 3.30pm and we were yet to cover another 140 KMS to reach Srinagar. As we drove towards Srinagar, we could see a lot of military movements and huge Bofors guns pointing towards Pakistan. On roads we spotted many sign boards quoting ‘You are under enemies observation now’.
Light would start fading in an hour and cold has already started kicking in, we were running out of time and to add to this we had another huge obstacle which stood in front of us – The 9 km long, steepy, curvy, dangerous, terrainious roads of the mighty Zo-Zila Pass.
It was indeed a very scary ride across the Zozila, there were a few close shaves, we were lucky to have survived on a few occasions where we could have fallen off the cliffs.
At least an inch of dust had settled on our faces while we crossed the Zozi la, phew the roads were that dusty. Just as we climbed down the pass, we reached Sonamarg another very beautiful place, which looked just the way I had imagined about the Paradise Kashmir valley.
We all met up at a local tea shop and washed our faces and recollected our scary drive across the Zozi la. It soon became pitch dark. Instead of staying in Srinagar, we decided to go on a night drive of 80kms to Srinagar. (A horribly wrong decision! what followed next, we could never ever have imagined!!!)