From Srinagar, our next destination was Leh, a town cradled in the Himalaya range in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir. It was a two-day journey on a so-called “super deluxe” bus through the winding mountain roads. Let's just say that the only thing “super” about it was the miraculous fact that it held together.
The narrow dirt roads carved out of the mountain sides looked to be designed for one vehicle yet functioned as if for two. Not only were the roads dangerously gravelly and narrow, the constant twists and turns while watching out for oncoming traffic made it a perilous journey. The bus moving even closer to the mountain's edge while another vehicle scraped past on the inside was the most heart-stopping of tasks.
At one point, there was a line of vehicles stopped on the road. We, of course, had to stop too. Not going anywhere fast, we got out to see what was causing the delay. Walking past the parked cars, we saw people pointing. As we cautiously moved closer to the edge, we saw what they were looking at. It was a car that had fallen off the dirt road and plunged into the river below. Apparently, there had been three occupants inside but there was no sign of them. Their bodies did eventually wash up some time later…in Pakistan, more than 300 kilometers away.
It was a relief to finally reach our destination. It had been an extremely uncomfortable and long journey. However, it seemed Leh was about to surprise us.
Did you miss our previous posts on our adventure in Kashmir? Catch up here: