Ladakh, Heaven on Earth

Day 15: 18th September 2005 Srinagar - Gulmarg - Srinagar

When we woke up, going for shikara ride in Dal Lake was our top priority. Although it meant we would loose precious time, but none of us wanted to leave Srinagar without getting a ride on shikara.

After getting ready, we went to the Dal Lake and hired a shikara for the four of us. If you have been to Srinagar and didn’t ride in a shikara then these are the few things that you missed.

boat in dal lake, srinagar

dal lake

house boats in dal lake

deep thinking in the middle of dal lake

A perfect place for sight-seeing and we enjoyed every bit of it. By the time we got off from the shikara it was 12o’clock, and it was time for us to leave Srinagar asap, since we had to reach Jammu by nightfall, 293kms from Srinagar.

After reaching our hotel, we started loading our bikes and just then we saw Salil and Sumit. It was a pleasant surprise for us and add to the twist, it was another Sunday!

After teaming up with them we started talking about the fresh snow fall in Gulmarg, that shikara owner had told us about. Instantaneously we all decided to stay for another day in Srinagar and visit Gulmarg.

Salil and Sumit got themselves a room adjacent to our room and then we headed to Gulmarg.

But soon enough there was a confusion about which route to take, we relied on the police to show us the best route and after getting instructions from them, we started out journey.

Highway to Gulmarg was a single lane one and went through a valley, which meant too few turns on the road and it felt more like riding in plains then riding in hills! Some thing that none of us enjoyed. But the highway was smooth and in no time we were in Tanamarg. We made the biggest mistake of the day and decided to have our breakfast/lunch there.

After an hour long wait, we were served over priced omelets and bread, add to that the food tasted like crap! After regretting the decision to stop here for food, we started for Gulmarg. The next 13kms of road from Tanamarg to Gulmarg was delight to ride on, we thoroughly enjoyed the twisties.

Gulmarg is a beautiful place to go to, but only if enjoy tourist spots. And since it was a Sunday, it seemed like the whole of Srinagar was there to enjoy the weekend. Since it was getting dark, most families were heading home, this meant after an hour or so the crowd was negligible and we were now enjoying the scenery.

gulmarg

horse

temple at gulmarg

After spending couple of hours there, we realized that it was getting dark. It was time for us to head back to Srinagar.

Riding on a single lane road during night time is a tough job, since the lights from the oncoming traffic blinds you. Since there were six of us riding as a group, we had the backup of each others headlights and that made our job some what easy.

When we reached the outskirts of Srinagar, Manik and I stopped to check if every one was there. There were no street lights there and as soon as we stopped, we heard lots of whistles and shouting. Soon all of us were surrounded by at least a dozen security personals. They were carrying out checking there and when they saw six bikers stopping there, they had to check.

After checking license of couple of us and the general questions about who we were, where we were going and from where we were coming, they were satisfied. And after all the hoopla was over, one of them said politely “sorry sir, we have to check, this our duty”!!!

Even after working in such a stressful environment and carrying out their duty; they were still polite enough to say sorry to us!

By the night fall we were in our hotel, while every one was thinking of reaching Jammu tomorrow, I had some thing else in my mind.

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