Zoji La, which is nine kilometers from Sonmarg, links Kashmir with Leh Ladakh. It's one of the most dangerous routes, and I felt like I was living on the edge of danger. The pass is the second-highest in the entire world. The pass is defined as a narrow track over the mountains with winding roadways and hairpin curves.
Additionally, Sonmarg, with its snow-capped mountains, streams, lush vegetation, and gorgeous meadows, is seen from the pass in an awe-inspiring manner. When we arrived in Zoji La, I chose to go on a snow bike ride among the other offered snow sports. Riding at high speed on the snow-covered mountains was spectacular. I could feel the chilly gusts on my face.
There are various food camps near the pass where we enjoyed hot Maggie while taking in the breathtaking view of the snow.
Along the main road connecting Srinagar to Leh, the Kargil War Memorial is vividly placed and Kargil was our next destination.
History of Kargil War Memorial
The Pakistan Army crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in the winter of 1998–1999 and took control of various heights along the National Highway, as well as the highways connecting Leh and Kargil to Srinagar.
In order to recapture the territory, the Indian Army launched Operation Vijay (Victory) in May 1999. In the end, the war was won by the Indian Army after several bloody battles.
Kargil Vijay Diwas, also known as Kargil Victory Day, is held on July 26 every year. The Indian Army built the memorial in its present state in November 2014.
My experience at Kargil
Indian flags were lined up on either side of the main route when I first arrived at the Kargil War Memorial, which is accessed only through a massive gate.
On the route from the gate to the memorial, I passed a MIG jet as well as a few other artillery and army vehicles that were on exhibit. The Amar Jawan Flame, located inside the memorial's heart, is constantly burning.
The Kargil War Memorial is made out of a pink sandstone wall bearing a brass plate with the names of the troops who fell as martyrs during Operation Vijay are inscribed on it.
A documentary film that thoroughly covers the entire battle and the circumstances leading up to it is also shown. The museum, which offers a firsthand look into military life, contains original letters and other memorabilia.
Additionally, there is a souvenir store with hats, coffee mugs, and T-shirts.
Views of Tololing Heights, Tiger Hill, and Point 4875 (Batra Top), all of which served as battlegrounds during the war, were visible from the memorial.
After around 100 kilometers from Kargil, we reached one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Ladakh the Lamayuru Monastery in Lamayouro. 3,511 meters above sea level is the high altitude at which it is perched. This Tibetan Buddhist monastery, also known as "The place of liberation" or "Tharpa Ling," is not only one of the biggest in all of Ladakh, but it is also the oldest gompa in the area.
We had to make a short climb to get to the monastery, and when we did, I was in awe of the thangkas, wall paintings, murals, scriptures, and other decorations that adorned the monastery's walls and various rooms. Along with the multicolored Mani or prayer stones at the monastery's entrance, I also observed statues of Lord Buddha in various forms in the prayer room. Numerous monks of all ages were around.
The Maitreya Buddha statue, which stands 30 feet tall and is sculpted on a sizable stone slab, stares over the Leh-Kargil highway in Mulbekh. This Statue falls just beside the highway and is 66 kilometers away from Lamayuru.
The statue displays a fusion of Shaivite and Buddhist ideas. In close proximity to the statue, there exist antiquated inscriptions and an order from King Lde directing the inhabitants to stop sacrificing goats.
Stay tuned for traveling with me to Leh city which was our next destination.