We drive to the western side of the valley, climb up to 2’650m and end up on a very alpine plateau that is the heart of Indias biggest ski resort. Two gondola sections take you up to 3’980m. 6 lifts offer 25km of slopes. In summer tourists enjoy hiking, mountainbiking and horseback riding. There even is a golf course. As only the first section is operating, we get a rather hazy look at 8’125m high Nanga Parbat in Pakistan – 9th highest peak in the world.
Getting on the Srinagar Leh road we slowly climb out of the fertile and charming Kashmir valley into the Himalayas. At Sonamarg the valley narrows and the mountains climb steep on either side. Suddenly there is no way forward and the road starts to wind up the ravins. This section of the road is blocked by snow for five months per year. To make it passable year round a 14km tunnel under the pass is under construction under the Zoji La 3’528m (La = pass).
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