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Kargil to Leh Highway


Kargil, on the way from Srinagar, Kashmir, to Leh, Ladakh, India

Canyons so narrow that you wonder how a street would possible fit in and valleys bright green with vegetable gardens and wheat fields. This was our most pleasant diet after leaving Kargil. The closer we got to Leh, the more the term “high altitude desert” – took on a real meaning: mountains, rocks, sandy slopes, no vegetation. Only the gushing milky blue Indus provided a contrast to the light brown cascades of mountain ranges, once in a while a snow capped summit peeks from behind. Continue Reading →

Small Town Kargil – Our New Favorite


Balti Girl in Kargil, on the trip from Srinagar, Kashmir, to Leh, Ladakh, India

We fell in love with small town Kargil. Not that is particularly attractive, but it was the first city in India where you are not blown off the street by honking drivers and can leisurely walk along the shop lined streets. Balti people dominate the second largest town in Ladakh, though Kargil is a fascinating wild mix of people. Women, no matter what age, still wear the traditional Pashwamra with a colorful headscarf. Small girls also do. Nevertheless, we never saw women wearing an Abaya or completely covered like we did see in Srinagar. Here the dress and headscarf seem a matter of tradition, not religious statements. Continue Reading →

Kargil War Memorial


Kargil War Memorial, Ladakh

If the Kargil War Memorial doesn’t ring a bell immediately, don’t be embarrassed. We were as clueless… About 60 kilometers before we reached Kargil, we saw a lot of commotion going on in the middle of nowhere. Soon we got another taste of Indian patriotism. In June 1999, Pakistan managed to intrude and conquer Tiger Hill, a big mountain range about 50 kilometers from Kargil. The Indian army managed to drive them back. Lots of blurred photos praise the Indian heroes in the small museum. Continue Reading →

Srinagar – Kargil: The Best Guarded Road

"Highway" from Srinagar, Kashmir, to Kargil, Ladakh, India

“Highway” from Srinagar, Kashmir, to Kargil, Ladakh, India

One of those trips you could rave about and rave about without finding the proper words. Spectacular? Breathtaking? Amazing? Whatever … The windy road was hewn right into the steep mountain slopes and has many faces: from a super narrow, bumpy one-lane track to a brand new smooth asphalt road. It snakes its way up high passes, down into narrow valley and follows the milky-blue river faithfully like a good companion. We cannot remember ever, ever, a nine-hour road trip passing like the blink of an eye: snow-capped mountains, green slopes fed by gushing water coming straight from a mountain face. Add fierce-looking, wind-beaten trees and once in a while colorful dots giving away the tents of Gujjar and Bakarwal nomads tending their large flocks of goats. These fearless creatures balance on the steep slopes nibbling the juicy grass. Continue Reading →