J&K, Zanskar and Ladakh Bus Tour  

Srinagar > Zozi-La Pass > Drass > Kargil 


 12 Noon - Arriving at Sonmarg

 

We had lunch at this J&K Tourist Restaurant in Sonmarg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures below were taken from the Bus while passing through the Zozi-La pass at 3529m / 11575 ft.

 






Sonmarg - Meadow of Gold -  at 2740m is a major tourist haunt for day-trippers from Srinagar. It was our first bus halt for lunch, on way to Kargil.

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:

Approaching Zozi-La ... View of Baltal way down below in the valley. Incidentally, Baltal is the first transit camp for Amarnath pilgrims.

 

The yellow sign says - Zozilza Realignment take off point - Total Length 6.32kms ...... and the blue sign says - Leh 333  Kargil 103  Gumri 8

View of snow laden mountains around the Zozi-La pass

At 4:15 PM - All the buses are lined up at "Gumri" Check Point - to sign-off at the Army Security Post.... and start the descent towards Drass & Kargil.

 

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.