Zoji La pass Ladakh, India second highest pass on route to Leh

Motorcycling India (Part 2)

Part 1 can be found here

23: Morning views in Srinagar were these: The famous Dal Lake…

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24: The roads were fast and smooth. The view was beautiful.

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25: And then, the mountains were in sight. Snow capped peaks and green landscapes greeted me.

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26: Tiny bridges across raging waters…

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27: And finally, I was at the ‘Meadow of Gold’: Sonamarg, a gateway on the ancient Silk Route connecting Kashmir and China. Long gone are those days.

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28: A moment of prayer before ascending the first of the mountain passes: The Zoji – La, 3,528 meters above sea level.

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29: And yet, there was no getting around a landslide.

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30: But there was no complaining, due to views like this…

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31: Or this: The Amarnath Yatra base camp…

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32: The ride down the pass was fast and dusty…

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33: And everything was forgotten when I saw this sign.

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34: From dry and dusty to mountainous and green, the transformation was complete.

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35: The water was icy cold. I managed to dip my foot in for a little bit.

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36: An orange glow settled over the landscape as the sun started to set.

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37: A large mountain cannot be denied. It speaks in silence to your soul.

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38: Sometimes, in order to go forward, you have to look where you came from…

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39: A portrait of a Ladakhi. He wanted medicine. I had none that could help him.

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40: One of the biggest tricolour flags in the sub-continent at the Kargil War Memorial in Drass.

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41: The Kargil War Memorial at Drass. Dedicated to the fallen soldiers in the Indo-Pakistan war of the 1970s.

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42: Dusk was falling. The night ride to Kargil was a harrowing experience. The last 5km were completely unpaved.

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43: I left Kargil in the silence of the early morning. The air was fresh, cool and inviting.

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44: The early morning rides are the best. Stopped at Mulbek for breakfast.

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45: The bike was feeling the effects of low oxygen. Constant tuning of the carburetor was required to keep the power up.

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46: Finally, the road started to ascend into the mountains, I was on the road to Leh, the capital of the kingdom of Ladakh.

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47: Sums up my life, and my footloose soul.

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Part 3 can be found here.

Part 1 can be found here

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