We skipped breakfast, had tea and Marie Gold biscuit before start. Started around 10 AM again. It was the day we had to cross the mighty Zozila Pass which everyone had been scaring us. Got news that it was open. Had to lie to others about the opening time about the pass but when we reached Zozila it wasn't like anything which was mentioned in blogs before. It was raining again that day and was getting colder and colder. It took us a while to come out of heavily guarded Srinagar, where there were police everywhere. Every petrol bunk, ATM and anything of slightest importance were surrounded by lot of police personnel's. In general the town was quite tension filled.As soon as we came out of the town the passes were quite enchanting, as it had rained, the greenery was even more beautiful. It took us a while for us to wear the cotton gloves and on top of it latex gloves and various other things. When we finally hit Zozila we weren't even aware as there wasn't any vehicle crossing us, it was raining, it was misty, roads were barely there and we got the first glimpse of what to expect. Mani's FZ was struggling like anything, there was a point where my bike along with John went behind but we overcame all odds and reached Zero Miles which was dead cold.Without inquiring we ordered a number of Maggi, Tea and Bread Omelet. Even an omelet for a poor shepherd who had only 500 sheep's. Bill came to an atrocious 970 rupees there. The innocence of the mountain people seemed to have been lost. You'll hear more about this guy later. But Zero Mile was one hell of a point with chilly winds, snow, rain, hot chai. It was brilliant.Once we got out of Zozila it wasn't much of a deal. I took lead and drove quite ahead of the rest. There was an Elephant shaped rock before Drass which I wasn't able to figure out in spite of trying for few minutes. We waited around half an hour for the rest to arrive. We thought it was going to be easy from there as everyone said that we were about to enter the best roads of the whole journey.
We drove across some stunning terrains, awestruck at the little piece of knowledge sharing done by our driver about the proximity of LOC and our neighboring country Pakistan just across some of the mountain ranges. The tough weathers & remoteness of the locale is manifested in scarcity of population except the Indian Army.
After crossing Zoji La, we were welcomed by such a mesmerizing vision which just took our breath away. The immediate temperature drop and increased ruggedness of the landscape implied that we have entered the Ladakh territory. We were thrilled beyond our wildest dreams that at last we have entered the famed Ladakh region which have been shooting locations of many famous Bollywood movies like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, 3 Idiots, Jab Tak Hain Jaan (I know I am being too filmy here :P).
All of us couldn't keep ourselves & our cameras calm, we were just popping out of our car window here & there with our fingers glued to the shutter button. My fingers nearly froze due to near 0 deg temperatures but I wouldn't care as long as my camera was happy.
Whenever our car came close to a melting glacier, we could feel the immediate drop in temperature and the "geological studies" regarding "erosional activities of glaciers" back in my college days came rushing into my mind.