Tag Archives: Drass War Memorial

Attractions on the Srinagar Leh Highway

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The cool breeze started caressing our face when we opened the car window, our eyes popped up seeing the enchanting 180 to 360-degree views of the landscapes around. There was a strong urge to stop every now and then at each spot indefinitely. Such is the real beauty and benefits of road trips.  Road trips have always fascinated us.  And being road trip lovers, we did an epic 13 day, 3500 km road trip from Delhi to Leh Ladakh. The massive changing landscapes, crowning shaded mountains, and the virgin beauty of Ladakh left us completely stunned. It was a lifetime experience for us to drive on the Srinagar Leh Highway and its beauty is just beyond words.

Srinagar Leh Highway

If we tell you to stop at each of these places or villages in between, to check the attractions out, we will be absolutely wrong.  In fact, the whole journey is a big attraction in itself. There are high passes and glaciers, natural and manmade wonders, centuries-old monasteries. And if you are a photo-bug like us, you will have a strong urge to stop and click pictures at every curve, while traversing on the Srinagar Leh highway. But stopping at each point is just next to impossible. So, here is a brief overlay of what one must visit.


We broke our journey from Sonmarg to Leh in two days, to sense and feel the actual beauty of Ladakh. The first day we traveled from Sonamarg to Kargil and second day Kargil to Leh. Also, read complete Leh Ladakh Itinerary from Delhi

Attractions on Srinagar Leh Highway

(Day 1 from Sonamarg – Kargil)

  1. Thajiwas Glacier

The Thajiwas glacier lies just 7 km away from Sonamarg. The trail offers splendid views of green and frozen lakes around it. One can climb it by ponies and also try a sledge ride in mid-summer there.

Thajiwas Glacier: Srinagar Leh Highway

  1. Zoji La

The first high altitude pass, Zoji La lies 9 km from Sonamarg and is at an altitude of 11,575 feet. The pass remains covered with snow throughout the year and even in the months of May-August, you can see 8 – 10 feet of snow wall around it. Just a kilometer ahead, there is a snow point where snow never melts and one can enjoy snow games there.

Snow Wall at ZojiLa- Ladakh,the land of high passes, on Srinagar Leh Highway

Also Read: Ladakh – The Land of High Passes

  1. Drass War Memorial at Drass

Drass lies 39 km from Zoji La and is famous for the Drass War memorial which is built as a tribute to the martyrs of Kargil war. One gets teary-eyed seeing how our brave Indian soldiers fought and laid their lives to sway back our Indian Flag there. Remember to spot the Elephant ridge, Tiger Hill, and Tololing Hill in the backdrop of Drass War Memorial. Also, see Amar Jawan Jyoti and 100’s of memorial stones at Veer Bhumi.

Vijaypath at Drass War Memorial /Kargil War Memorial: Srinagar Leh Highway

Also Read: A walk with Indian Solider at Kargil War Memorial

  1. Kargil

The city Kargil lies 65 km away from Drass and is famous for rich apricot plantations. There is a Kargil war memorial and the Kargil heritage hut here too. Do visit these to see the traditional and cultural attires and crockery of the various tribes of Ladakh valley.

We stayed at Hotel Zojila Residency in Kargil. We must say, the ultimate place to relax and unwind; with the Suru River flowing around it.

View of Kargil & River Suru from Hotel Zojila Residency - Srinagar Leh Highway
View of Kargil & River Suru from Hotel Zojila Residency

Attractions on Srinagar Leh Highway

(Day 2 from Kargil- Leh)

  1. Mulbekh Monastery/ Maitreya Buddha at Mulbekh

The Mulbekh monastery lays 45 km from Kargil on the Srinagar Leh highway. It is famous for the 7th-century old carved statue of Lord Buddha. This Maitreya Buddha sculpture is 9 meters tall and is believed to be the former Buddha.

Mulbekh Monastery - Future Buddha: Srinagar Leh Highway
Mulbekh Monastery – Future Buddha
  1. Namika La

Just 16 km ahead to Mulbekh, lays the second highest pass, Namika La.  It is at an altitude of 12139 feet and is known as the “Pillar of the sky pass” because of the pillar-like object rising towards the sky at the pass.

View from Pass Namika La: Srinagar Leh Highway

  1. Fotu La

Fotu La, one of the most picturesque pass, lies at an altitude of 13,478 feet and is 36 km from Namika La. This pass too has relay station of Bharat Prasar. Read more about  Ladakh – the Land of High Passes.

Fotu La top: Srinagar Leh Highway

  1. Lamayuru

After descending 14 km from Fotu La, you reach the most scenic surreal village, Lamayuru. The village is known for its absurd landscapes i.e. moon lands and centuries-old Lamayuru Monastery.


Lamayuru Moon lands

These bizarre Landscapes resemble the lunar landscape of the moon; hence named Lamayuru moon lands. Locals too say they shine extraordinarily during the full moon nights. For best views of moon lands, one can climb the meditation hill.

Lamayuru Moon Land on Srinagar Leh Highway

Lamayuru Monastery

The whitewashed monastery on the hilltop amidst these lunar landscapes is one of the largest and oldest Gompas of the region. The foundation stone of the Gompa was laid back in the 10th century by Mahasiddhacharya Naropa, after drying up the lake in the valley. The Monastery is still a house to almost 150 monks and is famous for the dance masked festival.


  1. Magnetic Hill / Gravity Hill

Gravity Hill or Magnetic Hill in Ladakh is a perfect example of Optical Illusion. 30 km from Leh there is a stretch of the Srinagar Leh highway itself, where the surrounding slopes and valley layout give the impression that the downhill road is actually an uphill road.

Magnetic Hill on Srinagar Leh Highway

Most of the people are aware of the fact, but still, hey fascinate to turn off their car engines and leave them in neutral, to see their cars moving. Even we stopped our car here to experience it, no less than others.

  1. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

The Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is a beautiful shrine 25 km before Leh. The shrine has a huge boulder with imprints of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and demon foot.

Boulder with Guru Nanak figure at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib on Srinagar Leh Highway

There is an interesting story behind this shrine. During Guru Nanak Dev Voyage to Ladakh, he was meditating here and seeing him lost, the demon thought of attacking him.  The demon rolled down the rock from the hilltop to kill the divine soul but as soon as the rock approached him, it got converted to the soft molten wax. Seeing this, the demon got more ferocious and he pushed the rock further with his feet with full strength. Instead of Guru getting injured, the demons’ foot got injured himself. Soon, after this demon realized that he is a mortal soul and he stopped disturbing him.

Same Boulder with Demon foot on other side at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib on Srinagar Leh highway

Tibetan Buddhists idolize Guru Nanak Dev Ji as a Guru Gompa Maharaja and as Nanak Lama.

  1. Indus Zanskar River Confluence, at Village Nimmu

The confluence of river Indus and Zanskar on the Srinagar Leh highway is another mesmerizing sight in itself. It lies 6 km from the village Nimmu and is a photographer’s delight.

Indus Zanskar Confluence on Srinagar Leh Highway
Indus Zanskar Confluence

Apart from this, we mentioned earlier too, that the whole journey on Srinagar Leh highway is an attraction in itself. So, stop wherever you can, enjoy and get soaked in the beauty of the Ladakh.

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Attractions on the Srinagar Leh Highway, India

You can also read about our other series of Leh Ladakh below and the road trip to Spiti Valley.

Nubra Valley: The Valley of Flowers in Ladakh

A day at White Lake Tso Kar in Ladakh

Ladakh-The land of High Passes

All you need to know about Leh Ladakh Inner Line Permit

6 must-visit Leh Ladakh Palaces before they disappear

A Walk with Indian Soldier at Kargil War Memorial

Leh Ladakh Road trip from Delhi – 13 days itinerary

Story of Gata Loops

Dos and Donts for Ladakh Road Trip

Hemis Monastery: Biggest & Wealthiest Gompa in Ladakh

Sonamarg, Kashmir – The Golden Meadows of India

Bhuttico Kullu Shawls & Accessories – The Gift of Valley

Leh Palace

10 reasons why everyone should travel India

The colored Tibetan Prayer Stones – Mani Stones


A walk with an Indian Soldier at the Kargil War Memorial

We crossed the ZojiLa at 11,575 feet; and headed towards Leh crossing Drass & Kargil. We saw the landscapes of Kashmir and Ladakh changing from green to golden sand and then back to green. Kargil and Drass remind us of the war our Indian soldiers fought to save our motherland and after days how they got the victory. During the war, the Indian hills were captured by Pakistan army at Drass and Kargil, taking a U-turn on the peace agreement, and were further in plans to extend their arms towards the territory of Ladakh. Our soldiers of the Indian army fought continuously in the treacherous terrain for 60 days and many of them sacrificed their lives to sway the Indian flag back there. So, crossing the valley without paying a tribute to these national heroes at Kargil War Memorial, Drass will be a real injustice.

Road to Kargil - Kargil War Memorial
Road to Kargil

It was around 1:00 pm; a warm day than usual, we were talking, and driving towards Kargil from Drass city thinking to spot the Tiger Hill, Tololing, and the Kargil War Memorial on the way. Just 5 Km ahead from the city, pink walls surrounding the building appeared and it was the Kargil War Memorial.

Kargil War Memorial Entrance

We stepped out of the car and entered our details in the register. A tall, well build, dark-complexioned, sun-kissed, perfectly suited Indian army soldier grinned and welcomed us at the Kargil War memorial gate. We walked with him through the pathway (Vijaypath) laden with tri colors to another tall fluttering Indian flag with the Tololing hill as a backdrop.

Vijaypath at Drass War Memorial /Kargil War Memorial
Vijaypath at Kargil War Memorial

The loud echoing voice in pride started explaining to us that O P here is Operation Vijay and its rear wall has the names of Martyrs inscribed in gold. While listening to the whole bloodshed story of operation Vijay we realized that our smiles were already taken over by solemn. We were already sunken and eyes were struck, thinking how our brave Indian soldiers might have climbed this rugged scalloped Totoling Mountain, and the majestic Tiger Peak with artillery on their back during the Kargil War.

Amar Jawan Jyoti at Kargil War Memorial
Amar Jawan Jyoti

In the meanwhile, he broke our silence at Kargil War Memorial and directed us towards the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the eternal lit flame as an homage to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Kargil war. There were some interesting lines in Hindi written on the plinth which he continued explaining. In simple words it meant – A flower says that it doesn’t want to be a part of women’s jewelry or wants to impress anyone, rather throw it on the path where young men have laid their lives for this country (India).

Veer Bhumi at Kargil War Memorial
Veer Bhumi

Veer Bhumi houses the memorial stones of martyrs with their names and rankings. From here we moved to the Manoj Pandey gallery at Kargil War Memorial; also known as the Hall of Remembrance which houses the pictures of martyrs and the used artillery during Kargil War. At the entrance, it had a Shradanjali Kalash gifted by an NGO in the memory of soldiers who lost their lives during the Operation Vijay.

Manoj Pandey Gallery at Kargil War Memorial

On the other side, he showed us the Vijayant Helipad, named after the captain Vijayant Thapar who lost his life during the Kargil war.

Pakistan Sentry post at Kargil War Memorial

And the captured sentry post and the living bunker of Pakistan during Kargil War. The bunker looked quite small from outside but it was quite spacious inside and 3 persons can easily stay in it.

That was all about the Kargil War Memorial. We thanked him and other soldiers for saving us always and took leave without talking a word to each other to continue our Leh Ladakh road trip. Physically we ended the tour here but so much was going inside our heart and brain especially after seeing this heavy message at the exit

“When you go home, tell them of us; and say for your tomorrow, we gave our today”

It was quite an amazing hour where we could actually see the life of Indian soldier but we wanted to understand and talk to another soldier to know more. So, we thought to visit another war memorial, helipad and heritage hut at Kargil, on the way to our Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi.


The Heritage Hut at Kargil – Kargil War Memorial

After showing ID cards and making an entry in register he started walking with us. Suddenly, he pointed towards the tall peaks in front, asking us to make out which one is India and Pakistan. We looked at each other, then at him and started questioning, what – are we that close, is someone really watching us from there, have you ever been up there, and so much more like these.

Ques: Can we really see Pakistan from here?

Ans: Yes! That is the peak captured by us and the left one you see there is PoK (Pakistan).

Ques: Is someone always guiding those peaks?

Ans: Yes! Be it winters or summers, someone is always there. If they took the charge of the peak which is at Kargil backdrop, they can target the whole area easily.

Ques: How long have you been here and how is life here?

Ans: It is just 2 years. Life is really tough but I always wanted to be in the army and the dream has come true. We are living for our nation. India is my mother and I will fight for it. (There was a deep passion and pride when he was speaking these words and my gaze was fixed on his expressions).

Ques: Have you ever been on that peak?

Ans: Yes! I was there in the winters for 6 months. I just came back at the base this week as I have to go for a holiday to my village.

Ques: In winters, the whole peak might be covered with snow, so how you manage to survive?

Ans: There is 10- 12 feet of snow. We stay in bunkers and at times our bunker doors get completely hidden under snow. The soldier on duty outside makes sure that it doesn’t get sunken under snow. (He actually showed us his and bunkers video at the top in winters)

Ques: Are Bunkers comfortable and how do you manage your food?

Ans: Bunkers from inside are really cozy and we have enough stocks for the next six months.

Ques: From where do you get access to water in winters?

Ans: We collect and melt the snow to drink it and it really takes hours to get melted.

Ques: Is there any provision for electricity there?

Ans: No, we cook and do our other activities during day time only. We have solar panels for emergency light and recharging our phones. In winters there is no sunlight for days, so we are totally cut off from everyone.

Ques: What do you do while being there at the peak?

Ans: We have six hours of shift duty and we continuously monitor the activities and movement of the enemy.

Ques: How far is Pakistan’s bunker from India’s?

Ans: It is hardly any distance. We talk to each other shouting and quoting “Bhai” (brother) and sometimes even ask what did you had for lunch.

Ques: Are you afraid that anything can happen at any time and you can lose your life?

Ans: Not only we; but our families are also prepared. We are living for our country. If anything happens we will not die but will get SHAHEED (martyr).

Ques: Do you miss your family?

Ans: Yes! A lot but we don’t mention anything to them. Otherwise, they will cry and will be in pain.

Ques: Do you celebrate festivals?

Ans: When we are at peak, we don’t have any idea about the days, months and dates. But if we have a phone connection, then we get to know.

Ques: Is there any risk at the Kargil base?

Ans: Yes! This is a complete war zone, anything can happen anytime. We have to be always prepared.

Ques: How do you carry your luggage and weapons to the peak?

Ans: We carry them with ourselves while trekking and our guns are really heavy. It almost takes us a day to reach this peak. (He was pointing towards the peak at his back as that was his daily routine to trek the peak)

Ques: Will you be going back to the peak top again after coming back from holiday?

Ans: Yes I will! but our chiefs only take the final decision.

The questioning didn’t end here but he took us to the heritage hut to show the pictures of real heroes who sacrificed their lives for the nation and the artillery used during that time. The heritage hut too had pictures of tribes and samples of the traditional stuff of Ladakh. From here, we moved to pay homage at the memorial and see helipad.

The Heritage Hut at Kargil- Kargil War Memorial
The Heritage Hut & Captured Bunker of Pakistan

The heritage hut too had pictures of tribes and samples of the traditional stuff of Ladakh. From here, we moved to pay homage at the memorial and see helipad.

The Memorial at Kargil - Kargil War Memorial

That was all we learned about the Indian army soldiers and operation from the two brave gentlemen but since that day our heart and brain are on the run. We can feel the big heart those mothers and wives have those who send their children and husbands on the border.

In the end, it was just a memorable day. We can just say heartfelt thanks; to our brave Indian soldiers, who fight all the odds and hardships to secure us day in and out and even gave up their lives to save us and our country. And it is just because of them today we got the chance to do Leh Ladakh road trip, peacefully.

A walk with Indian soldier at Kargil War Memorial

Note: Every year on 26th July, Kargil Vijay Diwas or Kargil Diwas is celebrated as on this day conflict officially came to an end and Indian army announced complete eviction of Pakistani intruders.

A big salute to our Indian Army!!

You can also check the complete itinerary for Leh Ladakh road trip and other series of the valley.

Nubra Valley: The Valley of Flowers in Ladakh

A day at White Lake Tso Kar in Ladakh

Attractions on the Srinagar Leh Highway

Ladakh-The land of High Passes

All you need to know about Leh Ladakh Inner Line Permit

6 must visit Leh Ladakh Palaces before they disappear

Leh Ladakh Road trip from Delhi – 13 days itinerary

Story of Gata Loops

Dos and Donts for Ladakh Road Trip

Hemis Monastery: Biggest & Wealthiest Gompa in Ladakh

Sonamarg, Kashmir – The Golden Meadows of India

Bhuttico Kullu Shawls & Accessories – The Gift of Valley

Leh Palace

10 reasons why everyone should travel India

The colored Tibetan Prayer Stones – Mani Stones