Day 8, we were set to ride back, not via Leh Manali highway, but Kargil, Srinagar and finally back to Chandigarh. I had heard a lot about beauty all around, on Leh Srinagar highway. All of us were excited to hit the road at the earliest.
It started with really superb roads of Leh and classic terrains around magnetic hill.I am in love with Ladakh so much that I really felt bad while leaving the place. I never liked coming back from this heaven and go back to work and boring life of city. I was lost in so many thoughts that Anurag had to push me hard entire day to match the speed with fellow riders.
The beauty of landscapes, roads, terrains, monasteries, Army convoys and simplicity of people was spread wherever sight went. Suddenly the place was looking so fascinating that it became difficult for me to ride back.
The traffic on this route was very high especially because of army vehicle movements. In one moment we all were lost in the middle of trucks and other moment we were riding alone in beautiful Himalaya's Ladakh range. I stopped at many places to click photographs whereas Anurag and Akshay always waited for me by controlling their frustration about my slow speed.
In four to five hours ride, we started to get the feel of Kashmir Valley with cold breeze slowly crossing us and sign of some vegetation on landscapes. Lunch at small village in old dhaba with old man was superb food. This Kashmiri Dhabawaala served the lunch with Rice and Dal with almost no spices but the taste was life giving.
The old wooden houses of Kashmir reminded me of my hometown Chamba. We were riding in Kashmir valley and that feeling of being close to nature in heaven was evident.
Kargil, I am sure, will always remain very special name for every Indian. So were we excited to reach the place. We reached Kargil by 4:30 in evening. We had an image of Kargil as a small village full of camps for bikers and tourists, however we found full fledged town there. After riding full day without crossing any major town, it felt really soothing to come back to civilization again.
After checking in at the only Hotel Green Land, we decided to explore the town and find out War memorial there. But we learnt that War Memorial is not in Kargil and we will have to go to Drass for the same. Since Drass was en route next day we kept this agenda for next day.
We met an Army man at Soveniour Shop, who told us about the War we fought in 1999, showed the places and direction of Tiger Hill which was the main target for our victory. He was kind enough to offer us tea. It felt really proud to talk to him and felt proud to be an Indian. Akshay and me bought T shirt and cap as memory of that place.
Once we were back at Hotel, I decided to take out play cards. We played till midnight when we realized that next morning ride will have to start at 4:00 AM with no choice to delay it.