The dictionary meaning of Unzymotic is listed as fabulous which is why I decided to use this word for my alphabet U post, for what I am about to list out here is nothing less than that.
You know how they say, it’s not the destination but the journey that matters? I have taken this literally to the heart and that’s why my preferred mode of travel is a road trip.
Why might you ask.
Well, on a road trip I have the liberty to stop at any interesting sight on the road. If I hadn’t, would have seen the Emus? (Did you read about it?)
Or wandered off in the desert on a whim to see the camel fair? (This takes you to that post)
One such road trip that was truly Unzymotic is September 2012 when two of us headed to Ladakh from Srinagar by road – our pit stops were epic and the sights we encountered would blow away the mind. (Read about our terrible toilet tale here)
Our first one was at the infamous Zozila pass which is the first point of crossing over from Srinagar into Ladakh region. The pass is said to be treacherous as the road is narrow, broken and the sides are mighty steep. One side of the car is always on the edge. Yeah we went through that with my friend chanting Quranic verses 😉 The cloud cover had ensured we had next to zero visibility, which didn’t faze out our experienced driver who revelled in mirth at our shrieks and gasps.
We soon landed at Drass which is the second coldest inhabited place in the world – now isn’t that some sobriquet? Our driver enquired if we wanted to make a stop at the martyr’s post but both of us were on a trip high and didn’t want to mull in sadness or get into a debate to decry war and it atrocities – nah! we wanted to move right on.
As soon as we crossed out of the Drass city, we spotted a big fat stream, gurgling with unabashed joy as it skipped over boulders and pebbles alike. We decided to halt for a picnic snack (we had just devoured a brunch of butter chicken and naan at Sonamarg – must be something in the mountain air 😉 )
Picnic was just an excuse for an impromptu photo-op, much to the chagrin of our chaperone (Yasmin’s mom’s trusted man Friday) who watched aghast as we both frolicked in the water, over the boulders to find that perfect spot!!!!
Sated, we continued onwards to Kargil which was our night halt. We did try to take in the views via a walk on the streets but that turned out to be a BAAAD idea. We were literally bumped into by men at all odd angles, the town was stinky in parts and too much letchy stares sorta stuff went on. Ended up hurriedly going back to our hotel room (the best in town) with its cockroach coloured walls with a pattern to match (not kidding that was the laminate on the walls), a carpet that looked never washed (we kept wondering if something will crawl out of it any moment now) and a toilet – less said the better. We both decided to turn off the lights and get up by 4-5 am to make an early start. Yeah we were not a bit enamoured by Kargil. But the sight of it from above the road, next morning is something that I will cherish for years to come.
Next morning was also Yasmin’s bday and we celebrated it with a steaming cup of mountain tea at a quaint spot on the road where a large Buddha was carved onto the rock face and a charming old lady with a million wrinkles on her face was turning the bells with reverence. Her smile lit up her eyes and she seemed so much at peace.
A few kilometers down the road, blasting was taking place and we ended up sitting in a jam by a really blue river and just enjoyed the breeze which was teasing the clouds that scurried this way and that on the azure canvas above. We noticed a crowd at a spot and headed there to realise its a temple – it was resplendent with the ubiquitous prayer flags and all the colours of happiness and joy.
Once we got moving, we continued to enjoy the vistas of the changing landscapes where the mountains turned into shades of purple to red to rust to mustard yellow with a turn of the curve.
Our driver informed us we were heading for the magnetic hill. We were ecstatic as we had been looking forward to it. Magnetic hill is said to have some sort of magnetic force which allows for cars to roll forward due to its magnetic pull. Its said airplanes are not allowed to fly over it as it could interfere with the controls and systems.
Well! to cut a long story short – there was no magnetism in the road at all! And later we found out that this is not the magnetic hill – it’s located in another part of Ladakh and not just before Leh.
Anyho! We set about experiencing cheap thrills by lying down in the middle of this long stretch of road and taking pics on the timer (yes the driver and man friday were both scandalized to bits). But the long winding road begged for it to be done.
Icing on the cake was the rainbow that appeared on the horizon. It seemed the perfect sign for our trip to be unzymotic and fun!!!
“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
– Pat Conroy –
Didnt I say road trips are fabulous!?! What do you think? Unzymotic or not?
- Leh is the capital city of Ladakh and is approachable by road via Srinagar on one side and Manali on the other.
- Ladakh forms the third part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
- This region is famous for its lakes and landscapes and a favourite with adventure seekers and photo enthusiasts alike.
Vistas of V lie ahead…..
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.
The A to Z Challenge is created by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by
Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts
John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing
J Lenni Dorner of Blog of J. Lenni Dorner
My journey so far in the #AtoZChallenge
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