Excitements were high for today as we never drove past Patni Top before. Excitement of seeing the Kashmir Valley was there but somewhere inside a bit of nervousness was also there because of the security concerns in valley. We started the day at 7 after having the morning tea in guest house at Patni Top. Unlike yesterday it was a pleasant day to drive bikes with temperature hovering around 30s. We took several breaks for photography sessions and had the breakfast at a Dhaba in Ramban. Overall the ride was smooth, except we stuck on a Jam for some time just after few kilometers from Ramban. A truck was carrying a train coach to Banihal where then Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh was scheduled to inaugurate the first rail link connecting to Kashmir Valley. We were amazed to see the way one truck was carrying such a large train coach in extreme hilly roads. Because of the scheduled visit of Prime Minister there were high security arrangements and we saw the security forces all over the places.
Next point of attraction was Jawahar Tunnel. This is the tunnel which connects Jammu region with Kashmir. It was heard that world at the other side of tunnel is entirely different and once you cross the tunnel and look at the other side it’s an amazing experience. While crossing the 3 KM dark tunnel, I was just wondering what would be scene at the exit point of tunnel. Indeed the view at the other side of tunnel was amazing but not as much as I expected for. Just after the tunnel we took a break for photography session and then proceeded to Srinagar. All the way to Srinagar we were waiting for something mind blowing to be seen but there was nothing special and we were at little disappointed. We reached Srinagar in the afternoon. At the entrance of Srinagar city we had our fuel tanks refilled and then headed towards the Dal Lake. Dal Lake is indeed the Jewel in the crown of Kashmir. We clicked a lot of photos here and roamed around the lake for couple of hours. Original plan was to have the night halt here in Srinagar but as we had a lot of time left for the day we decided to drive till Sonamarg and have the night stay there instead.
As we planned to start for Sonamarg my bike was parked at the road side and I was standing a couple of feet away. A car came from behind and hit my bike from the back side. Luckily I was not sitting in the bike and was standing just away. Bike had minor damages like back indicator broke and clutch lever turned. We straightened the clutch lever with the help of stones lying at road side, took a test drive and it looked good to go. The real beauty of Kashmir we saw between Srinagar and Sonamarg. There were mind blowing scenic views and the Sind River flowing along the road was stunning. Here we felt like “Agar Dharti per kahin jannat hai, to woh yahin hai, yahin hai “. We reached Sonamarg around 5 PM and were amazed of the beauty around. Sonamarg is one of the most picturesque places in Srinagar-Leh route. Again we did a small photography session and then started the search for accommodation there. Luckily we got a very good accommodation of JKTDC at very reasonable rates. It was a well furnished 2 BHK suit with all the items available in kitchen.
Distance Traveled on Day 2:
Patni Top to Srinagar: 190 KMs
Srinagar to Sonamarg: 80 KMs
Agenda for tomorrow is to drive till Kargil and have night stay there. Distance to Kargil from Sonamarg Top is 124 KMs.