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Author Topic: The Ladakh Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)  (Read 2978 times)

Offline Jasii

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The Ladakh Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« on: November 02, 2014, 12:59:19 AM »
This bit was already uploaded on my Blog, thought will post the same here and let the caravan move on.
Somnath and Rishabh have put on some quality drool stuff already, the pics by me here are more to take you through the journey of Leg 3

 The LADAKH SAGA Part- 3



Sonamarg to Kargil.
19th, Aug 2014.

It was an early rise for the team at 5.30 am. Enthusiasm amongst the group members was high and rightly so, we were about to cross the notorious Zozila! first of the many passes in our epic journey. From 2743 mtrs we?d be climbing upto 3530 mtrs almost a km vertically! Absence of hot water ensured that none of us was willing to risk a bath, (remember the tap water was freezing), dressed & ready by 7 am, we were eager to set out for our onward journey.

About to  leave the confines of the army camp, were we forgetting something? Ah Yes!
A selfie!!!!  And  ??? with grins galore the selfie was taken, I need to mention here that Rishabh did a small jig prior to this but the same was not captured well by me. Sorry Rishabh!!.  :-X
IMG_2680 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

The road was still a well laid tarmac,  and with the early morning rays caressing the distant mountains and the river 'Sindhu' following us blissfully as company, must say it was a start as good as any. The countryside was breathtakingly beautiful making charming postcards of restless streams and green fields  as witnessed from the moving vehicle.
IMG_2710 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

Barely a few kms later, Somnath asked the vehicle to stop , the ?Boss? had scouted another photo op. The river making a beautiful ?S?, with fields below and the distant lit mountain tops making a perfect backdrop, unfortunately I was not able to capture the frame properly  :'( and shall wait for the others to pitch in with better photographs.

A few kms later leaning out from the window of the moving car I saw this frame and with half my body stretched out, shot it much to the chagrin of my fellow friends who held on to my jacket with the sole intent of pulling me in, Well I had my shot  . 8)
IMG_2703.editJPG by jasiiboss, on Flickr

The road was now ascending and we were continuously gaining height  I could see the dew covered green blanket on the hillocks which were now turning more rocky. The view towards Baltal as we were ascending the Zoji La Pass was spectacular and warranted a stop, but our intent of crossing the Zozila before 8am and beating the traffic bottle-neck wisely ensured that we did not stop. 
IMG_2748 by jasiiboss, on Flickr
Here's another one:
IMG_2720 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

The road was entirely absent now and had by now petered to a dirt track , cutting and winding through sheer rockface of different hues and colors, the gradient frightening, a  sure sign that we were approaching the pass.
IMG_2742edit by jasiiboss, on Flickr

Looking down could see the serpentine narrow road making those elusive ?Z?s?, on one side the sheer cliff face  and a sheer drop on the right that made the hair stand, the drop almost at right angle to the ground was a good 500 mtrs plus and we were thankful when we finally  navigated it successfully. ??? ??? The curves though would do any damsels proud. ;)
IMG_2757 by jasiiboss, on Flickr
Can you imagine that we traveled on this road?
IMG_2752 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

The dirt-track winds and winds till you come to the top known as India Gate, after which there is a steady descent to Zero Point. The Zozila is only 11,500 feet, but being narrow and  subject to the vagaries of nature is what makes it challenging. The final ascend is paved with interlocking stones and the bright green board greeting us to declare that we had indeed reached the top and the Zozila had at last been captured . From the Sonamarg checkpost the India gate check post at the top of the pass is some 27 kms away , a journey that took us an hour and a quarter even with no traffic bottlenecks.
Vital stats ;): Zozila alt 3530 Mtrs/11649 ft.
Tip: Do enquire about the exact timing when the one way traffic is regulated to and from the Pass and ensure you are ahead of the queue.
Zozila by jasiiboss, on Flickr

Just ahead of the pass during our descent into the Drass valley I sighted a ?Bakarwal camp? Bakarwal?s are a nomadic tribe of hardy lineage who roam in the Himalayan mountains with their livestock, a few children came up to us and we were happy to photograph them. In the local language ?Drass means Hell? and it earned the name by being the ?Second Coldest Colonized Place in Asia? What says you???
IMG_2812 by jasiiboss, on Flickr
Happy as only kids can be
IMG_2821 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

Crossing Matayan Alt 3793 (17km from the pass) we saw a couple of tea-stalls and the realization set in that we were yet to have our breakfast, the foodie in me refused to proceed ahead with rumblings in the stomach and the group gave in and stopped for breakfast. With a bare rocky mountain of the most intrinsic colors as a backdrop, it was a hearty breakfast of heavily buttered slices of Yum tasting local bread, omlettes and cups of steaming hot tea. I remember Somnath shooting me making an omelette here, hope he can pitch in and share that pic. The majority of the populace at Matayan are Sunni muslims and chatting with the tea stall owner I was told that the place was base for some wonderful treks into the ?Suru valley? which pass through flower laden meadows and some of the most beautiful vista?s known to man, hmm?.. food for thought for another day maybe!! 
IMG_2830 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

2 km ahead of Matayan another vista lay in store for us at Draupadi kund, A small, not too clean pond alongside a small structure, which looked like a picnic spot once upon a time but now shut and barricaded. Queen Draupadi of the Mahabharata fame according to folklore, took her last bath here before she was put to rest in the mountains. The reflections in the still water were worth capturing and I share my humble attempt with you here.
IMG_2835 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

A few kms before The Batra transit camp which is 13 kms ahead of Draupadi Kund, we encountered some wild horses taking a dip in the river which had made another beautiful ?S? and with a bridge in the foreground and the golden lit meadows and mountains in the background,  I was able to capture this from the moving car.
(Different colors of wilderness)
IMG_2854 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

The road by now had made an appearance albeit with potholes and craters that made the going slow but as before, was no longer winding as a serpent . There were more straight stretches and one such vista was captured from the moving vehicle with the mountains in the backdrop and the Surru river giving us company. Just before Draas was this panoramic expanse
IMG_2863 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

Crossing the town of Drass, with the road having improved we were merrily on our way to Kargil via Karbu. Kargil is about 60 kms from Drass.
town of Drass by jasiiboss, on Flickr

As you enter Kargil you cannot miss the huge Kargil war memorial on the left and this was our next halt to pay our homage to the martyrs of the Kargil war. The sun was right up and was not the best of times to shoot in such harsh conditions all the same, I conclude and leave you with some snapshots of the memorial.
IMG_2896edit by jasiiboss, on Flickr

IMG_2908 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

IMG_2926 by jasiiboss, on Flickr

IMG_2965edit by jasiiboss, on Flickr

IMG_2957 by jasiiboss, on Flickr


Adios for now friends!! 8) 8) 8) 8)
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 05:54:47 PM by Ayaz »
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Offline theqca

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2014, 08:38:12 AM »
loved reading the write - up and the viewing the pics...

Its been quite a while since part 2 hasnt been updated - moving this to a new thread as "part 3"

« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 08:58:42 AM by Ayaz »
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Offline Jasii

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2014, 04:33:57 PM »
Good that you did so Ayaz, The earlier thread had also reached it's upper limit and would not allow me to add contents to the header.
Thank you for giving it a read.
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Offline kaushik_s

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 03:04:54 AM »
Finally, good to see the travelogue back in action.  :like:
Waiting for more pics and others to pitch in with their pics too..
Painting with Light and Shadow..
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Offline blue

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2014, 04:35:20 PM »
Cheers, Jasii ji.  8)  :like:
MEDIOCRITY IS WITHIN MY REACH

Offline Jasii

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 04:56:40 PM »
Finally, good to see the travelogue back in action.  :like:
Waiting for more pics and others to pitch in with their pics too..
Yep! feels good to see the wheels turning............   ;)

Cheers, Jasii ji.  8)  :like:
Cheers to theekh hai par why are you hiding your pics mate?
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Offline drgap

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2014, 10:24:06 PM »
lovely

waiting for the Part 4

Offline Jasii

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 08:42:57 AM »
lovely

waiting for the Part 4
Thanks bro, shall try to post the same soon..... 8)
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Offline blue

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Re: The Ladhadk Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2014, 11:00:05 AM »
May I ask how to pronounce "Ladhadk"? Thanks.  ::)
MEDIOCRITY IS WITHIN MY REACH

Offline Hot Shoe

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Re: The Ladakh Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2014, 06:20:44 PM »
Very nice and interesting continuation Jasii Bhai. Pictures too are good. I can see that you have now got the grasp of 'landscape photography' (.... thanks to Guru Somnath I guess  :D )
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Offline Jasii

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Re: The Ladakh Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2014, 08:37:20 AM »
May I ask how to pronounce "Ladhadk"? Thanks.  ::)
Apni Fotu daal pronunciation khd ba khud a Jayega....  :)  ;D
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Offline Jasii

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Re: The Ladakh Saga - Part 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil)
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2014, 08:40:34 AM »
Very nice and interesting continuation Jasii Bhai. Pictures too are good. I can see that you have now got the grasp of 'landscape photography' (.... thanks to Guru Somnath I guess  :D )
Thank you Vinod Bro..... Yeah it was a learning curve indeed with these swell Gents!

Ps. Most of the pics that I post and shall post have been shot from a moving car and are there more to keep the journey alive, The rest of the gang has already posted the pictures that have the oomph factor. :)
A Year young with my DSLR and loving it.........
Gear: Canon 600d + 18-55, +55-250