Srinagar to Lamayuru
Soon we entered NH1 and began our journey to Sonamarg. He stopped at a tea shop around Ganderbal.
Feeling refreshed and replenished, we increased our momentum as we were aware of the obstacles that may appear in Zojila’s powerful pass.
Looks like a harvest season in Kashmir Valley
We were already carrying a 10-liter plastic can to fill up extra fuel when needed. But I had a feeling it might not be enough looking at the itinerary we planned. So we bought other 10 liter cans from Gund. We arrived at Sonamarg around 10 am.
Sonamarg Does Zoji La Pass
The weather had improved, and it was time to take some pictures on the way to Passo Zojila.
The road to Zojila was full of trucks, full of supplies, as winter was coming. It was a slow but gentle journey toward the gorge, luckily there was no Army convoy crossing at that moment.
As we approached the passage, the last 10 – 12 kilometers were totally a dirt track. I saw many videos of people getting stuck due to waterways and landslides in this area.
The time we choose to travel is considered the safest, almost no rain and landslides.
So it was only a matter of time when we got to Step at noon.
Zoji La Pass
It was a great feeling going through the first high altitude step of the trip. Zojila may not be the highest of passes, but it can certainly be considered one of the most difficult.
After a 15-minute photo break, it was time to move forward, as we had a goal of getting to Lamayuru today, which was still 200 kilometers away. As we crossed Zojila, the landscape shifted to high, barren mountains, with some vegetation in the valley areas.
Zoji La Makes Drass
The route to Zoji La Pass for Drass was in good condition, except for some bad sections. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Drass, known as the Ladakh Gate.
Kargil War Memorial
The next pit stop was the famous Kargil War Memorial in Drass; built in memory of the brave souls who sacrificed their lives during the Kargil War in 1999.
Amazingly, we found a close friend of Sunit who was posted at the memorial. So we received VIP treatment and received a private visit to the full memorial, followed by some mouth-watering Samosas and Jalebi, made in a local Army-run canteen.
It was a very patriotic memorial experience, but this parade was extended a little more than we expected. By the time we started the next leg of the journey, it was 3:30 in the afternoon. With a short time, we decided to move forward with far fewer stops.
Fortunately, the roads after Drass were in excellent condition, accompanied by incredible views.
At about 5:30 pm we arrived in Mulbekh, famous for its image of Maitreya Buddha.
After a quick tea break, it was time to move on, as we were already late and still had to cross Namika La and Fatu la Passes.
Maitreya Buddha in Mulbekh
Hotels in Lamayuru
We got to Lamayuru around 20h. Amazingly, the complete city of Lamayuru was in total darkness. It was hard to get a clue to a GH or hotel. The only thing we could hear was the noise of a generator. As we move toward the sound, we can see a GH with some lights on.
Later at the dinner table we were informed by the GH owner that Lamayuru has been without electricity for the past 3 days due to some technical problem. It was really sad to see such a situation. Dinner was served immediately and we all ate to our hearts as this was the only proper meal we had today.
Tomorrow would be an easy day for us, as Leh was only 120 kilometers away. With these thoughts in mind, we call it day. We were looking forward to getting up early tomorrow to visit the Monastery.
Crossing Fotu La at night was a challenge indeed with almost zero traffic. Although we had traveled about 700 kilometers, we still had that strange question in my subconscious about what happens if we get stuck in no man’s land. But we had peace of mind when we carried a tent and three sleeping bags, a small LPG cylinder with some Maggie. We were ready to face any surprises that might be in store for us.
It was very windy up there so we had to bid Fotu La Goodbye while sitting in the heat of the car.
But was Fotula ready to fire us at the end of the trip? This is another story that will be presented soon.
To continue reading the next part of this travel journal, read on.
Distance Srinagar to Lamayuru
Srinagar to Lamayuru is a total distance of about 310 kilometers from Srinagar. This journey may take 9-12 hours, depending on the speed, time and traffic in Zoji La. We traveled at the end of the season, due to which we were not trapped at Zoji La Pass. But usually, at the beginning of the season (from May to July / August), traffic in Zoji La is one way; This means that vehicles from Srinagar to Kargil are allowed at certain times and then during the rest of the day, traffic from Kargil side is allowed. Therefore, confirm the transit times before starting the journey.
Road conditions from Srinagar to Lamayuru
As you can guess from the post above, road conditions were almost always smooth, except for a small bad stretch around Zoji La.
Bus to Srinagar to Lamayuru
There are no buses dedicated only to Srinagar and Lamayuru. You’ll have to board the bus going to Leh and get off at Lamayuru.