The National Highway 1D, also known as the Sringar-Leh highway, is one of the most treacherous yet beautiful terrains to be covered on a road trip in India. This highway is a mix of mountains, plateaus, plains and rivers flowing across at some places making it alluring for all the nature loving travelers. As it is a fairly long highway of approximately 420kms, there are certain points that must be covered while travelling these well maintained roads, all thanks to Border Road Organization (BRO). BRO has ensured to remind people of their safety first, not by sharing serious messages but, through their witty quotes displayed all across the journey, my favorite being “Don’t be gama in the land of Lama”.
Zojila Pass and Zojila War Memrorial
The mighty Zoji La Pass is the second highest point on the Sringar-Leh highway after FotuLa. This pass is located approximately 9kms from Sonamarg and numerous army convoys can be spotted at this point and it brings a surge in patriotism as soon as we see those convoys and the men guarding it.
The war memorial at Zojila was built in memory of the soldiers who gave their lives during the Operations in J&K and recaptured Zojila in the battle of 1948. This war memorial has the names of the soldiers inscribed on the pillars and has some beautiful quotes signifying the sacrifices of our soldiers for our country.
After Zojila, the roads become a bit more crowded with less army men and more civilians spotted on the way. We found localites resting on the sides, probably after a long walk and a herd of sheep being guided by the shepherd.
The people of this region are really nice and welcoming as you could see most of them waving to us with a smile.
The Pakistani army had occupied our peaks during the Kargil war and was directly targeting our convoys plying between Srinagar to Leh. This hampered the supply of food and ammunition to the soldiers posted at Kargil, making it extremely impossible for us to combat. To overcome this, the army built a wall to protect our convoys and ensure no more loss of lives on the highways.
Drass War Memorial
The Drass War Memorial was built to narrate the story of achieving the impossible and pay homage to the soldiers who lost their lives in saving our motherland from the enemy.
This war memorial had the names of all the soldiers who laid their lives during the war along with an Amar Jawan Jyoti signifying the never ending spirit of our army to protect our country. It also has a museum which gives us a detailed insight of the war. There is a briefing session by a soldier every hour and should not be missed. The timings of the war memorial are 10 am- 12 pm and 2pm-5pm (Closed on Sundays)
The Magnetic Hill on the Srinagar-Leh highway defies gravity and makes the vehicle go uphill even with the ignition powered off. This was our first experience of the Magnetic Hill and we were surely amazed by the beauty of the nature. The magnitudinal force on that particular patch is so high that the vehicle could go up to a speed of 20km/hr without a hiccup, something to be experienced during the trip.
Gurudwara Patthar Sahib
This is a Gurudwara almost 25kms before reaching Leh. It is managed and maintained by the Army and holds a special significance for both the tourists and the localites. The langar provided to the worshipers is definitely something to look for as it full of love and seva-bhav for the people.