It was our "Travel to Sonamarg" day! We were excited as we were promised of snow here. We had breakfast at another Raja Dhaba (we had breakfast yesterday in a Raja Dhaba too) alongside the pristine Sindh river. What beauty I tell ya! So beautiful and it's water, so chilling! It can literally freeze your hand if you stay still for a while. We saw a dog in the river and got a little worried, but one of the locals said he was safe and that he can swim through it! And the dog did! Funny sight to watch!!
The route to Sonamarg is a beautiful journey in itself. Majestic snow-clad mountains, Sindh river flowing by and other tiny waterfalls(formed due to melting of snow) make it a wonderful sight to behold! This has been the most precious moment in J&K for me - journey to Sonamarg 🌺
We reached the place and again had to decide if we want to see the glacier which has snow 365 days in the year or if we want to visit Zero point near Gumri and play with snow + visit the Zojila War Memorial + pass through one of the most dangerous passes in the world - Zojila Pass. Obviously we went for the latter! We decided on ₹ 4k/- for a Sumo round trip + rubber boots. The guy initially said it would cost 8.5k! Bargaining is essential.
We hopped into the car and started our journey to Zero point. Our first stop was a "Fish Pond" where there was clear water and kids were Zorbing on water. We didn't spot fishes though. We spent some time here and then started our journey again to Zero Point via Zojila Pass. We also saw helicopters carrying Amarnath Yatris to the starting point of their Yatra. When we reached Zojila Pass, there was a traffic jam. We waited for 1:30 hour for it to clear and then moved forward and reached Zero Point. Here is where we spotted "accessible snow". This I say because all of the snow we saw on our way was on the tip of mountains. We wore our rubber boots and ran to the snow. We spent some great time snow fighting and selfie-clicking. Haha! After a lot of slipping, getting up, playing, etc., we went to a stall there and had the famous "Maggi" and some chips. Best Maggi of our lives :)
From here, we went further up towards Gumri - the last town towards the west. There was Pakistan beyond Gumri. We saw the Zojila War Memorial and the mountains beyond which Pakistan exists. We met some soldiers who protect us staying in such extreme conditions there. Lovely people!
We then made our way back downwards where the most difficult part of the day awaited us. Zojila Pass has 2 paths - one upwards and one downwards. These roads intersect at one point. The biggest problem here is people who want to go upwards take the down route and vice versa to save time (they think!!) But this causes crazy jam here and people simply don't understand this! Or rather don't want to understand! If vehicles move in one direction, there's no problem in Zojila Pass. But when vehicles come in opposite direction, it causes chaos owing to the narrow roads up there. You miss an inch and your vehicle falls down 10,000 ft.! Very risky I must say. We were stuck in one such traffic jam and people didn't know what to do!! We spent more than 2 hours here doing nothing but waiting to see what our faith had in store for us. There were 6-7 big trucks ahead of us and the road could only fit 1 truck at a time. Where do we go? Haha. It's funny now when I think about it. Our vehicle and everyone behind had to literally climb the mountain towards our right to give way for the trucks. Somehow with people's wisdom and bravery, the trucks passed through and in the meanwhile, some more trucks came!! Hahahaha! We had to clear them off too and finally move forward. Such a scary experience it was! I can't describe how terrifying it was for all of us.
We finally moved forward after what felt like ages and reached our starting point. We boarded our cab and reached Srinagar late in the evening. Local sight seeing was pending and the next day was our Travel day. We planned for an early morning trip to some selected places and then Airport. We had good dinner in a local cafe and called it a night!