And our tour began, on its scheduled date, without any more hiccups.
It was the first day of our tour. We landed at Srinagar airport. Stepping out of the plane, we were greeted with mildly cold, pleasant gush of wind. It brought along the moist smell of the alpines. Right ahead was the vast expanse of the clear blue sky dotted with lone drifting white clouds. The blue umbrella met the hardy mountains capped with the snow and draped with green shawl, at the distant horizon. A serene welcome by the nature was enough to calm down my anxiety of high altitudes.
The first sight set the bright tone for the ‘chromatic discoveries‘ ahead.
As we proceeded towards Sonmarg by road, Jhelum gave us sonorous company. Shadowed by the mountain on other side, the rapidly flowing water of Jhelum appeared as if it is was a peppy song from black and white ear of Bollywood.
I longed to hear free-spirited song of rapids in her current. Stepping out of the car to do so, I spotted acorns dangling from the branches. On closer look, every other branch of every other tree boasted of small and big acorns.
As I turned my back to Jhelum, the HD coloured sight awaited, standing in attention pose to receive a complement. Sun, the master director of the light show, has the most dramatic scenes ever created on the Earth, to his credit, I must say!
Soon we were at Sonmarg, our first pit-stop in the seven day long tour. Settling in the cosy chair in the hotel room, waiting for the hot cup of coffee, I pushed back the curtains of the adjoining window. Green slopes with the sun kissed trees, a lone grazing cow separated from its herd and a Kashmiri woman stood before me, as if it was a painting!
Early bird catches the worm. So did I. Next day, on 2nd day, I caught the mountains basking in the glory of the rising sun, red handed….should I say golden handed?
We were on our way to Kargil soon. The landscape started reflecting the change gradually. From the tree lined green grey mountains to the bare rock solid barren beauties, there was a subtle change. The tree cover was waning rapidly making macho side of the Himalayan ranges prominent.
The mountains and the peaks proudly had the snow cover on their heads, shoulders and torso. The missing snow cover here and there, showcased its raw muscle power. “Tall dark and handsome” doesn’t only exist in Mills and Boons, I thought. No wonder then I fell in love with it!
We took a halt at “Zero Point” which is few kms before Zoji la. One can enjoy the snow sports here. As we had already enjoyed snow sports at Gulmarg during our Kashmir trip the previous year, we decided to watch the action from side lines.
Reclining against the car, all four of us were standing next to each other. Better half caught a sight and pointed towards it. It had the most vibrant colour combination and the paved road below provided the apt background.
After crossing Zoji la, one comes across sort of a plateau amongst the mountains. The blue water stream with the frills of the white, was flowing down as if in hurry. It had no time to stop and admire the cream and green coloured mountains nearby or the snow clad one at a distance.
There was a surprise awaiting little ahead. A mountain with mostly orange and little of grey, green, purple etc shades awaited us round the corner. Felt as if it was a mannequin displaying God’s best creation!
The stream at the foothills had the stones of all shades and sizes. I could not resist playing around with them for a while. I could attend the Zen state of mind in no time!
The tender yellow and blue wild flowers bloomed here and there, dotting the bare landscape with cheer and defying the chilly winds. They were swaying to the tunes of never stopping mountain wind and making merry!
Half a day was about to be over and the body clock was about to go abuzz with the hunger pangs. Another colourful sight was enough to put off that alarm. This time it was man made though…
Post the scrumptious meal, we were on our way to Kargil War Memorial. Here I found the best colour of the day, or say life time… the patriotic colour. Words fail to describe this and can only be felt.
‘Joy is found along the way and not at the end’ goes the old saying. However after this colourful entry in my memory, I have changed it a bit… Joy and colours of life are found along the way and not in the end!
Picture courtesy Shreyas and Sukhada Joshi
This June, I will be sharing four posts(one in each week) chronicling my experiences from my recent tour of Leh-Ladakh. I am glad to be part of #CrossBorderSisters, Team6 of the #OpenNTalk. You can read fab posts from my buddies Bahwana Shah of Kickupstairs, Adit Kapoor of Panoramic Ripples, Dr Priyanka Naik of Nostalgic Moments and Manisha Garg of Zara Hatake Blog!
You can reach out to my buddies at…