Zojila Pass & Life Over Dal Lake | Zanskar 2012

21

The Journey so far…

Day 6 | Kargil – Drass – Zojila Pass – Sonamarg – Dal Lake (Srinagar)

We decided to leave early from Kargil so as to reach in time at Srinagar but managed to wake up at 7.00 AM 🙂 … Somehow, managed to get out by 7.40 and we were cruising the Srinagar – Leh Highway initially. The first stop was at a point from where the Batra Top was clearly visible and there was this lush green beautiful village, the name I forgot, on the other side of the river. Spent some time and off again towards Drass In between, we bought some fresh dry apricots too as Firoz had someone known in a market near by, and frankly speaking they tasted great in the end. Plan was to stop at Drass first and then hike a little towards this place called Bheempeeth (Bheem’s Back, one of the Pandavas brother in epic Mahabharata) just ahead of Drass.

A Teaser… Even Artist Would Feel Envy There Colors near Drass
A Teaser... Even Artist Would Feel Envy There Colors near Drass
Road to Srinagar from Kargil
Road to Srinagar from Kargil
Village Karkit Choo on Srinagar – Kargil Road
Village Karkit Choo on Srinagar - Kargil Road
Lovely Cloud Patterns and that Lonely Hut
Lovely Cloud Patterns and that Lonely Hut
Suru River near between Drass and Kargil
Suru River near between Drass and Kargil

At Drass, we got down at the same dhabha just in front of Tourist Rest House, where we had again those delicious Rajma Rice and few cups of tea. It was a lovely experience as sun was shining and breeze was blowing in the the streets. We bought some waffers and frootis too for the rest of the journey. After about 15-20 minutes from Drass, we were at this place Bheempeeth which is known for the fact that bheem had slept there and a big rock lies there now which is assumed to be mark of bheem’s back. The walk/hike is easy, about 20 minutes from the road, if you know the route to it. Well, had some fun up there with various kinds of jumps and especially loved the walk there.

Cattles in Drass Valley
Cattles in Drass Valley
Sudhir, on the way to Bheempeeth near Drass
Sudhir, on the way to Bheempeeth near Drass
Hike towards Bheempeeth near Drass
Hike towards Bheempeeth near Drass
Bheempeeth near Drass
Bheempeeth near Drass
Views from Drass
Views from Drass
The Aqua Colors near Drass
The Aqua Colors near Drass
The Aqua Colors near Drass
The Aqua Colors near Drass

The journey started back towards Zojila Pass now through those ever beautiful meadows of Minamarg It was as beautiful as it was earlier as the road winded up to top of Zojila Pass where slight drizzle had begun here and there. This time we stopped aside the road mark aside for Zojila Pass which boasted an altitude of 3530 Mtrs, had couple of pictures near the paved roads and off towards Sonamarg The journey down was dusty as this time we took the upper old road to descend Zojila Pass which gets into full of slush at the time of rains. We continued passing through Sonamarg and then decided to stop aside river for some rest and try with silky water shots as it was a bit dark due to slight drizzle. Well, trying after a long time, the results were not that bad 🙂 … Then it was a long boring run to Srinagar with a tea stop in between at some village on the Srinagar – Leh Highway

Minamarg Meadows on Srinagar – Leh Highway
Minamarg Meadows on Srinagar - Leh Road
The Paved Path at Zoji La Pass
The Paved Path at Zoji La Pass
Zoji La Pass on Srinagar – Leh Highway
Zoji La Pass on Srinagar - Leh Highway
The Paved Path at Zoji La Pass
The Paved Path at Zoji La Pass
The Ascend to Zoji La Pass
The Ascend to Zoji La Pass
Views towards Baltal from ascend of Zoji La Pass
Views towards Baltal from ascend of Zoji La Pass
Silky Waters of Sindhu River near Sonamarg
Silky Waters of Sindhu River near Sonamarg
Silky Waters of Sindhu River near Sonamarg
Silky Waters of Sindhu River near Sonamarg

We asked Firoz to get us to Dal Lake where we can stay in some houseboat and enjoy the life over Dal Lake which is a must have experience and vital element of Kashmir Tourism. He dropped us at Dal Lake and ask the local there to get us a taxi for Airport tomorrow in the morning for sure. We were ascertain because there was again some strike the very next day in Srinagar as well. But, the houseboat guy assured us about the taxi even at 6.30 AM in the morning. We were a bit excited to float in a Shikara and reach the houseboat we selected for the stay. It was very nice and comfortable but beds produced a lot of creaking noises at night 😉 … We immediately booked a Shikara ride for full tour of Dal lake including the floating Meena Bazaar for Rs 750 as he was charging Rs 500 for one hour. We were least bothered of the places he explained us but rather enjoyed the ride in those colourful Shikaras floating out there…

The Colorful Shikara at Dal Lake
The Colorful Shikara at Dal Lake
A Golden Sunset over Dal Lake
A Golden Sunset over Dal Lake
The Colorful Shikaras Parked at Dal Lake
Colorful Shikaras Parked at Dal Lake
An Evening at Dal Lake
An Evening at Dal Lake
A Shikara Ride at Dal Lake
A Shikara Ride at Dal Lake
Reflecting Life at Dal Lake
Reflecting Life at Dal Lake
An Evening at Dal Lake
An Evening at Dal Lake

Shikara ride, indeed was great fun. Then we went back to house boat and ordered the dinner which cost about 1.5K 😯 … It was the costliest food we had on our entire trip but taste was good and familiar. We chatted and remembered the past six days and how things went good to bad to good 🙂 … Overall, it was a nice trip to which everyone agreed. We also spotted a marriage party floating at the Dal Lake too with lots of lights surrounding it. the only drawback I felt staying at houseboat was you will have to refuse so many vendors who keep coming in to sell their goods but rest it was something to be experienced for sure. We went to sleep finally and it was a very peaceful one dreaming about sweet home.

Marriage Party on a Boat at Dal Lake
Marriage Party on a Boat at Dal Lake
Inside our Houseboat at Dal Lake
Inside our Houseboat at Dal Lake

Next day the flight was at 10:30 AM but we did not want to take any chances with the bandh/strike, so opted to reach Airport as early as 7 AM. We waited there for 3 hours. The security checks were very thorough and why they shouldn’t be. First time I was asked to take out all my camera lenses and get them validated with camera. Well, we were the first one to reach Airport but ironically got the last row seats which were super uncomfortable. The posture was so bad at those last row seats and leg space too less that it produced cramps in my stomach. Thankfully, the flight was only for 90 odd minutes and I got a sigh of relief as we landed. We saw each other off (well Punit was seen off at Srinagar Airport only as he had his Flight Tickets booked for Mumbai) hoping for some other trip together in future, may be I may not trouble them in that trip with my health 😉 …

But, all of them – Sudhir, Gaurav, Punit made the trip a memorable one and it was super joy to Travel with them. I hope you loved this Travel Tale to Zanskar Valley Feel free to get in touch for any suggestions or queries for planning a trip to Zanskar Valley or Suru Valley…

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21 Comments

  1. Aditi Kapoor on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    Firstly thanks a lot for your blog. It is helping loads of travellers who wish to travel to the Himalayas. 🙂 I am planning a trip to Leh Ladakh for 9 days in Sept’15. I wanted to know how much time is required to travel from Kargil to Srinagar by road? Our flight is at 3.45 pm on 20th Sept from Srinagar to Mumbai. So is it ok if we start from Kargil on 20th early morning for Srinagar? I will be sharing my detailed itinerary with you soon. Thanks alot in advance for your response.

  2. May i know is it feasible and a good plan for a couple to travel Zanskar and Suru,specially when required to fly back from Srinagar only.
    Will it be safe.
    How much will be the cost of travel from Kargil to Padum and then Padum to Zanskar ..

    • Gurpreet, as long as you referring to safety from Humans, I have never heard of any mis-happening from up there in Ladakh – Zanskar region. Rest a lot of people do Zanskar Valley and Suru Valley every year, so should not be any problem.

      Kargil to Padum, taxi might charge you about 14-15K for a drop on one side. Then you need to hire Padum based taxi which are equally costly too. Padum taxi can only drop you back to Kargil.

      • Ok…so will it be ok if i travel from kargil to padum and then back to kargil without going forward to Zanskar..as the cost would be too much…

        • Gupreet, padum is the headquarters of Zanskar Valley only. As soon as you cross Penzi La pass after Rangdum, you enter Zanskar valley from suru valley

  3. Pingback: The Long Run from Padum to Kargil | Zanskar 2012 - DeViL on WheeLs...

  4. Thanks dheeraj! 🙂 We will be joining a group led by some travel company. They said they will provide camping gear and tents. There will be a kitchen team and a toilet tent. I’m not certain what questions to ask on tent so i can ascertain. Is there anything else i need to ask/ know? we will be traveling by SUV’s. Will it be too cold in the night to be in tents without heating?

    • I think if you have tie up with some company then they will arrange it for you, don’t worry. Just ask them that tents/camps they are providing are of good quality as well as conditions. Sometimes small holes in the tent can let the cold wind in which will make it quite uncomfortable at night. Though at that time it will not be that cold, but still nights are cold in Zanskar

  5. Lovely detailed blog. Enjoyed the photos. I’m planning to go to Zanskar from Srinagar and back. We will we staying in tents for 6 nights and have a cooking team with us. I’ve never camped for more than a night and little anxious what the weather would be like in mid August and experience staying in tents. if you can give any tips or your views on the same it would be a huge help.

    thanks

    • Thanks alot Shweta. There shall not be any issues while camping in Zanskar. You can pitch your own tents anywhere but I will suggest you pitch them at a place where there are some dhabha tents put up by locals or where other camping guy pitch theirs or somewhere near some house in village or in their garden/lawn. All you will need is to gently ask them (villagers/dhabha guys/camping guys) for permissions. Most likely they will allow, other wise negotiate for small little tip or move on to some other such place nearby. This will give you sense of security too.

  6. Thanx for replying brother.
    Ufffffff 6 days only for travelling 🙁 that means we must have 12-13 days, otherwise we will not be able to do anything but just to touch and come back hehehehehh 🙂

  7. HI Dheeraj,
    I hope you are doing fine dude.
    Last year we went to Chandratal and you helped us in making our journey comfertable, Thanks it was a really a wonderful journey we have ever made. But this year we are planning to go to Leh-Ladakh, we are 4 guys in total and i would like you to help us in letting us know the best possible routes and how much it takes from manali to Leh-Ladakh as we are planning to hire a cab mainly Tata Sumo we have one week will that be enough for the journey we are planning to make or we will need more days? and what are the places you think we can cover if we have one week. Waiting for your reply. Take care Dude

    • Hello Rajan,

      It takes 3 days to just reach leh from Delhi via Manali and 4 days from Srinagar side. So, take out 6 days of traveling. You need at least 1 day of stay in Leh for acclimatization as well. that makes it 7. So, if you are ok with touching and coming back then it shall be fine else not 🙁

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  8. JATDEVTA SANDEEP on

    जोजिला की सुरंग बनने के बाद इस मार्ग पर पूरे साल आवागमन जारी रहने की उम्मीद है।

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