Bari’s Motorbike Diary
Circumnavigating India by Motorbike, Sept-Nov 2005


brunch in Udhampur
crossing a landslide
migrating south
at Dal lake
We got started fairly early to head towards Srinagar. we had stayed the previous night a few km before Jammu. We passed through the city, which was quite polluted by the lorries spewing the diesel fumes.
Once we got past the town, we started to ascend the hills. Everything was green and beautiful. We were all fairly excited about getting in to the mountains.
By 10 am we reached a town called Udhampur, where we were treated to an amazing brunch by Gen. Sharma and his family. (see photo) Gen. sharma is Dinesh’s brother in- law’s , in -laws. We engaged in some interesting conversation about the area and what to expect along the way. Coincidentally it was Gen, Sharma’s sister in-law, Ranjana’s birthday that day and we shared some fantastic cake. We were stuffed by their generous hospitality, which got us through the rest of the day without many breaks.
The Jammu to Srinagar highway was affected by the recent earthquake (Oct.8th) and there had been quite a few landslides. The BRO (border roads organization0 had done a tremendous job of clearing the roads within a few hours. (see photo).
The roads were winding up in to the mountains and the views were already breath taking. We passed by some local nomadic families who were migrating south for the winter with all their belongings on their ponies. (see photo) Jammu is the winter capital and Srinagar is the summer capital of J&K state. There were also lots of monkeys along the roadside. Didn’t get any pictures, sadly.
By sunset we were descending in to the Kashmir Valley from where the roads were on flat land. We had tea with
Major Manish Kumar and then we carried on to Srinagar, which was still 50 km away. The sky was overcast and we opted to put on our rain gear just in case. The sun set was beautiful. It looked as though a little piece of the clouds were pulled apart just in the west, so we could see the sun setting. The chinar trees were a lovely green with most of the leaves turning golden yellow. I had vivid memories of these trees since my first visit. Sure enough, it started to rain for about 20 km or so making the ride miserable. It was very hard to see the road up ahead with the rain and the on coming traffic’s blaring headlights, which are always on high beam. Just before we got to Srinagar, it had stopped raining and it felt much nicer to finish that way. We stayed with the BRO just on the outskirts of the city. It was the coldest so far at about 10 C.
We had a scheduled rest day there and took it easy in the morning. We went in to the town for some authentic Kashmiri food and then went to the Dal Lake (see photo). Being in Srinagar had brought back a lot memories of being there with my family 25 years back. We took a casual boat ride for an hour or so and headed back to the camp. There we met with Col. H.R.K. Babu for some lively conversation. Very nice and passionate man. We had dinner and got our winter gear ready for the next day’s ride.

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