Ladakh Road Trip -2013 – Day 23-24

Riding on the moonland

Day 23, 4th July, 2013

As promised Norboo uncle did come to see us off at 6 am. and as usual we were not ready. Norboo uncle sat in a small shade in front of the hotel. Maithili sat with him while me, Avinash and Rajesh loaded our bikes. Norboo uncle had to reach AIR office by 7. Once my bike was ready I went to the market area to withdraw money from the ATM. By the time I came back Norboo uncle was gone as he was getting late. Before leaving, Norboo uncle had appreciated our passion for traveling. He said, “This passion of yours will give you great knowledge and wisdom”. We totally believe in this statement.

By 7:30 am we were ready. We took photos with the Manser hotel staff and left Leh with lots of memories that we gathered in such a short time. We had to go to Kargil today. But on route we had to visit two monasteries i.e Alchi monastery and Lamayuru monastery. Lamayuru is also famous for its moonland. A unique geological formation of Lamayuru soil gives it an impression of moonland, hence the name.  

We rode through the famous moonland before reaching Lamayuru. When we reached, the monastery was closed. We waited for a while with other tourists and in some time, the monastery opened. We went inside and observed the beautiful monastery. While walking in a queue, in front of the many items on display at the monastery, all five of us observed an unusual behavior of one lady monk. She took some small statues of animals which were kept at the monastery and stuffed them in her bag. She even took some money from the table and kept some money back. And she wasn’t trying to hide it from any of the fellow tourists and even the monks present there didn’t say a word. We could not understand what was going on but we just assumed that it must be part of their everyday rituals. So we just neglected this unusual behavior. But later we laughed about it. We still laugh about it whenever this incident comes up in our conversation.  

The city of lakes, Shrinagar

Day 24, 4th July, 2013

By 9:30 am, we left Kargil. Today we had to cross more than 200 kms to reach Shrinagar. Just 20 minutes after we started the ride, we came on a rough road and saw vehicles aligned in a straight line. Traffic from both the sides were being halted for road broadification work. On the opposite side we noticed a long army truck convoy. After thirty minutes or so the construction work stopped and traffic was released. The first priority was given to the army trucks. But unfortunately one of the trucks had a flat tyre. To get that fixed and to cross the road, the army convoy took another 40 minutes. Finally we were out of that place and rode towards Shrinagar. We had lost a huge amount of time already therefore we were riding fast to cover up the distance. Due to this loss of time we decided to skip Drass which was on our way.

The most terrifying memory I had of traveling on this route was Zozilla pass. This entire pass no tar road whatsoever. The route was damn narrow and the ascend and descends were scarily steep. Just one look down the cliff was making my whole body go tense. When we were on top of the Zozilla pass we could see a huge crowd of Amarnath pilgrims down in a village at the mountain base. I felt relieved after crossing the Zozilla. After zozilla we went through Sonmarg, which is a beautiful place. The tall trees, gushing rivers and the entire geographic arrangement of this place gives it a heaval like appearance. Just after crossing Sonmarg, we were feeling hungry. We noticed a small kid yelling his lungs out to the passing by vehicles to stop by and have a meal at the restaurant. Avinash was moved by that sight. So we decided to take a u-turn and have brunch at the restaurant this kid was working for. We had delicious pakoras and Kaba (Kashmiri herbal tea). Started a good conversation with the people in the restaurant and headed back to our destination.
In the evening we reached Shrinagar. Despite it’s beauty the place had an eerie feeling to it. Shrinagar had always been under political tension due to disparity between the civilians and government. We noticed soldiers standing at every corner in the city. We had a glimpse of the famous Dal lake and were now searching for accomodation.
We stopped on a busy street in the city. Rajesh, Kinjal and Maithili stood near the bikes while Avinash and I walked around the streets to find accommodation. Just when both of us were looking at a hotel together, we heard a voice from behind. The voice said, “Boat house me rehna hai?”. We both looked back with surprise and saw a short guy with long beard, round cap on head, wearing long kurta and zabba. We instantly looked at each other and felt that a stay in a boat house sounds interesting. After negotiating for the price we all headed for the boat house. Due to unavailability of the rooms, I was shifted to another boat house, whereas Avinash-Maithili and
Rajesh-Kinjal stayed in the boat house right next to me. The next morning I was shifted to the same boat house with them.

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Pranay Meher

Full time cg/vfx artist / part time traveller, photographer and hobbyist

Hi, I’m Pranay. Welcome to my website. This is my space where I share my travel stories, my musical progress, photographs and some CG/VFX related stuff.

Pranay Meher

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