Destinations - India Ladakh Mountains

Srinagar Leh Road Trip 1 | Magnificent Mountainscape!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Srinagar Leh road is spectacular. We missed doing it when we travelled to Ladakh in 2010 as the situation in Srinagar was not good. In 2014,when we planned another trip to Ladakh, we decided to do this road trip on Srinagar Leh road.

When we arrived in Srinagar in the afternoon in August, it was cloudy. The city had seen worst of floods in the previous year. Everyone was hoping that there would be respite this year. Mushtaq Ahmed, our driver was at the airport to receive us. A man in late forties, Mushtaq was a genial person with great attitude. He had got his Scorpio and we loaded our stuff – quite a bit as we were travelling Ladakh for ten days including a trek in Markha valley. We asked him to take us to the taxi stand in front of tourist information centre for a cup of Kashmiri chai. We obliged gleefully and explained how the guy who was earlier managing the tea stall lost everything in the floods and rebuilt it again. That was a hear warming story.

We ordered tea with buttered buns. It was yummy and suited the cloudy weather. We wanted to show Dal lake and its surroundings to our friend Sachin, who was coming for the first time to Kashmir. A quick drive around dal lake and customary photo ops in front of Shikara, we were on the way to Sonmarg.

srinagar leh road

A long way to go………..

The drive to Sonamarg this time was trifle disappointing due to clouds covering the mountains. Otherwise ones’ love affair with Himalayas starts on the drive to Sonamarg when you drive along the mighty peaks with Sind river giving the company.  We reach by late evening and crash. All excited for next day’s drive to Leh. Mushtaq asks us to be ready by 6 AM.

We get up at 5 in the morning and get ready. The sun rises early in the north and when the first rays of sun fell, we were treated to a spectacular views of the valley which we hadn’t seen on the previous day.

srinagar leh road

The view outside the hotel in Sonamarg

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A zoomed shot….

Mushtaq was ready with the car and we started our journey at 6.15 AM. And what a journey it would be! We will not write about it. It has to be experienced. Through pictures. As they say “one picture is equal to thousand words”.

Ladies and gentlemen, we present the photogenic journey of the first leg of our journey on Srinagar Leh road……..

Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.

srinagar leh road

We start our journey…….

srinagar leh road

The mountainscape start turning lovely. though there was not much of snow, it was compensated by the greenery

srinagar leh road

The valleys with Deodars looked beautiful even as we started climbing.

srinagar leh road

The clouds played spoil sport covering the peaks. Nevertheless the valleys looked awesome.

srinagar leh road

The views started becoming spectacular…..

srinagar leh road

Look at this!! Picture perfect!

srinagar leh road

Some lovely waterfalls…..

srinagar leh road

Spectacular views of valley!

srinagar leh road

……and this!!

srinagar leh road

Spectacular valleys!!

srinagar leh road

Mighty mountains…..

srinagar leh road

We start climbing Zoji la pass. This is the riskier part if whole journey as the road is narrow and is not a proper tarmac.

srinagar leh road

Driving at the edge of the road!

srinagar leh road

……..and on the muddy trails……

srinagar leh road

Gata loops???

IMG_4961

srinagar leh road

Zoji la Pass @ 12,000 feet

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Small shrines on the pass….

srinagar leh road

We climb down to be treated to lovely valley……

srinagar leh road

Srinagar Leh Road

We saw a group of Bakharwals of shepherds with hundreds of sheep…..

Srinagar Leh Road

Srinagar Leh Road

This was the best of the valleys. Green meadows flanked by brown mountains with snow on top……

 

Srinagar Leh Road

A zoomed shot of the glacier……

Srinagar Leh Road

A portrait of a Bakarrwal

After driving through the magnificent mountainscape, we reached Drass, one of the coldest inhabited place in the world. We stopped over for a breakfast break.

Next part of our journey on Srinagar Leh road will be covered in next post. If this was spectacular, the next part of the drive is jaw dropping!!

If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, please check out a comprehensive guide to help you plan your travel here

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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