Our rooms at the Ramban army camp overlook the approach road to the town. Some of us are up at 6am to check if the traffic jam has made any progress. There being no sign of any, we get another hour of shut-eye in. Finally, at about 10am, by the time we’re done with a hearty army breakfast, the trucks and cars start inching forward. We run to the cars and leave immediately.
From Ramban onwards, it’s smooth sailing all the way. The roads are excellent, all maintained by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and we reach Srinagar by 2:30pm.
We have some time on our hands, so we decide to head to Gulmarg, Kashmir’s most popular tourist spot, to see what the big deal is. Gulmarg is around 60km from Srinagar, and the way up looks straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Massive pine trees line the curvy road, and once we get to the very top, we realise why this place is so popular. There are snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see – what a view! It’s hard to find words to describe the scene. Check out the photographs in our gallery and you’ll know why. Shots done, customary chai done, and we’re just about to set out, when all of a sudden, a hailstorm starts out of nowhere. Both Audis get pelted, but thankfully, come out unscathed.
Once the hail subsides, we get moving again at around 9pm. Be extremely careful when you drive down a mountain at night; one wrong move and you could end up at the bottom of some deep gorge. By the time we get back to our hotel in Srinagar, it’s midnight. Seeing as how wrong things can go in bad weather, we do a quick check for reports of Dras. We find out that the Zorji La pass, en route, has just received some snowfall, and they’re only letting 4x4 vehicles through.
Excellent. Time to put quattro to the test. There’s a storm coming and we’re headed straight into the heart of it. We can hardly wait.