Friday 2 | September '05

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dal lake
today's pics (13)
patnitop at dawn
road to srinagar
vista from the road
view on the way
chenab tributary
following the chenab
still with the chenab
the mountains beckon
Day 8 - Srinagar - great place, nasty security << | >>
7.40am: Patnitop  >  Jawahar Tunnel   >  Srinagar :1.40pm

We set off early from Patnitop towards Srinagar via the famous Jawahar Tunnel, a 2.6 km long tunnel where photography isn't allowed for security reasons, this tunnel being a lifeline into Srinagar, both for the city and for the army.

This drive was the most spectacular so far, with some fabulous terrain. It was difficult to decide when to shoot and when to wait for the next bend in the road - it just kept getting better and better.

the chenab river
the chenab river

We stopped by at a trout farm on the way, Vivek and Omi being avid fishermen as well, and you should have seen them drool seeing the thousands of well fed trout leaping around in the water.

One of the problems I had is not being able to judge how well the pics are turning out because the laptop we are carrying makes the pictures very bright and all the cyber cafes I found so far have terrible monitors and everything looks very dark. Obviously, none of them have Photoshop either, so let's hope the pics come out fine in the end.

At Srinagar, we stopped at an army garrison to meet one of Vivek's friends - Lt. Col. Manish Rai who gave us a letter that will help us go through the army controlled terrain in Leh and around. He gave us lunch and wanted us to spend the night there but we decided to opt for Dal Lake and one of the houseboats.

with Capt. Manish Rai
with Capt. Manish Rai

Unfortunately, the houseboats didn't have parking for the car and all our camping equipment for Leh and above is on the carrier, so instead of risking parking out in the open, we checked into a hotel overlooking the lake.

the dal lake
the dal lake

Went to post the blog from a so called broadband Internet Cafe in Srinagar and it was painfully slow. So much so that I got late getting back to the hotel, and had to walk quite a bit before getting an auto.

I saw one auto and waved out and he stopped a little ahead. By the time I walked up to it, the driver was shooed away by an army sentry with a gun. As I approached him I kind of asked him why, because it was hard enough finding an auto. At which point he took off on me, raving and ranting and threatening to break my legs, and saying shit like, "We're here to look after you and you show us no respect" and crap like that.

My knees were weak to be honest, and I kind of apologised and got the hell away from there. Finally I found an auto in a petrol pump and he dropped me back to the hotel.

Amazing how our security guys have no clue how to tell the difference between a tourist and a terrorist.

Highlights: The spectacular drive, the Chenab river, Capt. Rai's hospitality.

Downside: Missing out on a night in a houseboat, the nastiness of the security guy.
  << | >>
today's route - 184 km
day 8 km odo
Patnitop   183424
Ramban 40 183464
Ramsu 22 183486
Banihal 15 183501
Jawahar Tunnel 17 183518
Verinag 10 183528
Qazigund 9 183545
Srinagar 71 183616
total 184 3183