Ladakh, Heaven on Earth

Day 13: 16th September 2005 Leh – Kargil

A strange vibe was setting in, a sense of accomplishment, even though the trip was far from over. However leaving Leh was enough of a wakeup call for me; finally I was heading home, leaving a part of my heart in Ladakh. With a determination to come back, I took a final glance of Leh, now disappearing in my bikes rear view mirror.

After days of torture inflicted on my bike, due to the harsh riding conditions, I was looking forward to riding on the smooth Leh-Srinagar highway.

manik at leh - kargil highway

The roads didn’t disappoint me and I knew it will be smooth sailing now. With the views transforming every now and then, we were kept busy trying to capture them.

nimmu

leh - kargil highway

With such wonderful roads, progress is bound to be swift, especially when one is riding a motorcycle. Even though we had taken breakfast and frequent breaks for water and photography, we reached Lamayuru within four and a half hours.

lamayuru

Half an hour later, we encountered our first pass of the Leh – Srinagar route (8th pass of the trip), Fotu La. (Photo Courtesy Sunil Gupta)

fotu la

Couple of hour later, we were standing on top of yet another pass, Namika La.

namika la

road to namika la

After riding on these splendid roads, we were getting closer to our destination for the day, Kargil. Since Manik and Sunil had taken this route while coming to Leh, they warned us about the food that we would get in Kargil. So we decided to have our Dinner early and stopped by a small restaurant to eat. After eating to our fill, it was time for the final push to Kargil.

A place which reminds me of the 1999 Kargil war and that coupled with stone cold stares that we were getting from the Kashmiri populace made me feel unwelcome. A feeling that was a first for me on this or any of the previous trips. Manik and Sunil, who had already faced this, just told me to keep moving.

By evening we were in Kargil and once there we started our search for hotel. Since we needed secure parking, the task was a wee bit difficult and it took us almost an hour to find a hotel of our choice. It was time for us to go to sleep; tomorrow we will be entering Kashmir valley.

Preface, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7-1, Day 7-2, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16-17