North by Northeast ‘3 – Roadside Dhaba Near Udhampur to Sonmarg’

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Roadside Dhaba – Udhampur – Ramban – Toofani Nalla Camp – Kangan – Sonmarg

Distance this period: 343.51 km Total Distance: 1152.74 km

Udhampur – 24.37 km (Day 11)
Ramban – 84.98 km (Day 12)
Toofani Nalla Camp – 55.06 km (Day 13)
Kangan – 134.90 km (Day 14)
Sonmarg – 44.20 km (Day 15)

It was a rainy night at the dhaba, my bags were wet but then it was going to be a short ride today. Found a hotel in Udhampur, washed The X, cloths, myself and rested whole day, it was raining anyway. Stay – Hotel Sasan.
Kms covered – 24.37
Total expense – Rs. 765/-

Laundry day at Udhampur.

It rained on n off and in the morning too. I went out to have tea, owner tells me about the blockage after Patni-Top and traffic wasn’t allowed to pass from here itself. I saw an opportunity to have fun on the empty roads. I started in the rain, passing the long line of vehicles.

It was a yatra season (Amarnath Yatra) so traffic was heavy and continuous rain made it worse. I was gaining elevation as soon as I left Udhampur. But the good thing was no traffic, pleasant weather, and roadside Bhandaras. Made it to the top pretty early, so decided to continue on the downhill; a bad decision. Traffic was blocked for two days from both the sides due to a landslide; as I was enjoying the foggy breeze on downhill, something worse was waiting for me. Traffic was open by then, a huge jam, slippery slush, and long array of bloody trucks honking shouting like they just got released from prison or something. One hell of a ride, made it to Ramban. Booked one unmaned hotel.
Kms covered – 84.98
Total expense – 610/-

On the way to Patni-Top. a beautiful gentle climb.
When you get tired on a climb, all you do is experiment with various stuff. Trying photoshoot.
After the slushy ride on Patni-Top downhill. Dangerous yet fun.

Now I was in a territory where you see army everywhere. Banihal. Then on my way to Jawahar Tunnel, I met one guy on cycle going to Amarnath cave. He started from Jabalpur and in 25 days he made it here, he was staying in temples, Lungers/Bhandaras. So it was going to be my first stay on Lungers/Bhandaras at Toofani Nalla camp meant for Yatris, just before the tunnel. Though we tried to pass the tunnel but army turned us back; it wasn’t possible to hold the heavy traffic for us.
Kms covered – 55.06
Total expense – 50/-

I wanted to skip the touristy Kashmir & head straight towards Kangan, but the view of Dal Lake was so inviting that I ended up circling the entire lake.
Beautiful sunny day towards Banihal. Sky so clean, lovely.

Next morning we crossed the tunnel, beautiful Kashmir Valley was waiting for us other side. One could clearly feel the difference; Jammu side was bright, sunny and Kashmir was cloudy, a little bit warm. Downhill starts just after the tunnel, again a huge traffic was there. At Anantnag (he called it Chhota Pakistan) departed from the guy and continued to Pampore, then Srinagar, circled the beautiful Dal Lake. Made it to Kangan for the night.
Kms covered – 134.90
Total expense – 630/-

Its been 9 days of ride without a rest day, so it was going to be a short ride to Sonmarg today; where I decided to spend one extra day, resting. but it took ages to cover those 44 km. In between the ride, I washed my bike ‘The X’ on a small river, took a nap by roadside; a sunny day today. I needed a rest now, 9 days of continuous ride was no fun. Finally Sonmarg, booked a room for bloody rs. 700/- after much bargaining.
Kms covered – 44.20
Total expense – 890/-

It rained again, the owner tells me road is blocked from both the sides of Sonmarg. A disaster waiting for me.

Washed The X on this chilly stream.
And after the wash, rested and got bored pretty soon so experimented with the camera.
Nearing Sonmarg. And so tired and messed up.
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15 thoughts on “North by Northeast ‘3 – Roadside Dhaba Near Udhampur to Sonmarg’

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