On the road again – Leh to Srinagar
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on August 11, 2011
Arriving back quite late and feeling a little subdued, we quickly found a hotel and grabbed a much needed shower. We’d now been in Leh for a good week and had the feeling that whilst it’s a great place to be, we were ready to move on, so quickly set about making plans to move asap. We’d been told that it’s possible to fly – via Delhi or Jammu as theres no direct flight, take a local bus, share a taxi or hire our own jeep. We quickly dismissed both flying and taking the bus thinking a taxi would be the better option, at least doing it this way means we could stop off en-route should something appeal. The distance between Leh to Srinagar is only 432km, not really that far so I was very surprised when told that the journey would take two days, overnighting in a small town called Kargil along the way!
Taxi drivers were quoting us 10,000 rupees to undertake the journey – we’d have the whole car to ourselves and if we left at 7am they guaranteed we’d be in by 7pm, the same day. Feeling a tad despondent, we wandered back into Leh centre and noticed that one of the tour companies had a jeep leaving the next morning and to enquire within… It transpired that their vehicle was going to return empty and we were offered two seats for 1700 rupees each and overnight they would see if they could fill the jeep up.
We took the plunge and thankfully for us we had the whole jeep to ourselves though the journey was epic. In total we were travelling for 14 hours – the roads were a total nightmare and to top it all, on the final mountain a truck coming towards us had broken down on a single track causing at least 200 trucks and cars to be jammed behind him. We really did think that we’d be spending the night on the mountain, possibly the next day. Our driver though had the sense to back up as soon as he saw the situation and reversed back to an even smaller ‘road’ and try our luck there. The ‘road’ being the ‘old road’ our driver laughingly told us it was closed previously as it was ‘…too dangerous…’
I’ve friends who’ve ridden the Worlds most dangerous road in Bolivia and having come down this particular mountain I’d also like to nominate this ‘road’ – in places it was barely 8 feet wide, the road being either very loose sand or rock with large fallen boulders in your way – at one stage we had about 200 goats and two shepherds blocking our way. Eventually we found a way down, utilising a track used by the road maintenance guys which they use to ferry supplies and equipment to the top of the mountain. It was a great adventure though not one I’d like to repeat!
After fourteen hours we arrived into Srinagar, absolutely shattered and ready for bed.