Dadu Aur Madak
The Road to Leh

The trip to Leh takes one through some of the most incredible terrain, over some of the most treacherous roads in all of India. This road is maintained by the BRO (Border Roads Organization) which is a branch of the Indian Army. Like many mountain roads in India, where it is paved, it is about a lane-and-a-quarter wide. This is a major national highway that took considerable shelling during India's confrontation with Pakistan. As a main artery, it is plied by a variety of goods carriers, in addition to the daily military convoys. One must time their departure based on the timing of the convoys, which always have the right of way. The road is closed on Sunday.

After the first stormy pass out of Sonamarg the weather improved some. Below is one of the many scattered spots where they are working to widen the road.


As you pass Kargil--the midway point between Srinigar and Leh--the culture takes on a decidedly Buddhist influence, as opposed to the majority Muslim influence in Kashmir. The road narrowed considerably as we passed this roadside shrine.


This Buddhist gompa at Mulbekh sits high above the road.
The few towns of any size between Kargil and Leh sit in the occasional verdant valley in an otherwise barren landscape.

Part of the terrain is reminiscent of the Badlands in South Dakota.

The gompa at Lamayuru occupies a spectacular setting, it is the oldest in the Ladakh region dating back to the 10th century.