After reaching Srinagar on 10th June 2006, every day I was checking at the JKRTC Bus Stand, near the Srinagar-TRC, for news of the "clearing" of the Zozi-La Pass, by the Army Road Engineers; permitting civilian buses to travel from Srinagar to Kargil and Leh. They didn't expect that to happen until 15th June. Finally they said the buses will leave on 16th June. I booked my seat on the first Kargil bus leaving at 8:30AM.
16th May 2006 - the bus did leave on time and reached Sonmarg at Noon, in time for lunch. However there was some confusion at the Army checkpost there, about allowing buses to go over the Pass; they said for the first 1-2 days only smaller 4WD vehicles were allowed to cross. A huge crowd of 400 pax from 10-12 buses surrounded the security outpost at the Barrier demanding the Buses be allowed to go over. The Army Jawans there felt pressured by the crowd and after talking to their superiors over the wireless, allowed the buses to leave at 2:30PM.
The crossing of Zozi-La Pass by a caravan of 10 buses, was a slow crawl lasting all of 2 hours and we saw some amazing snow-covered sights depicted in the pictures on the left margin and below:
We started descent from Gumri at about 4:30PM and briefly stopped at Drass at 7:00PM. It was dark, cold and windy in Drass, and we could hardly stand outside the bus, to stretch our legs. We finally reached Kargil at 8:30PM and it was totally dark by then.
I found Hotel Greenland, about 5 minutes walk from the Kargil bus-stand to stay for the night. The room at Rs 200/- per day, was just OK.
15 Zanskar-Leh >
J&K, Zanskar and Ladakh Bus Tour
Srinagar > Zozi-La Pass > Drass > Kargil