Kashmir, in slow motion
This is a guest post by Harshad Sharma, a professional photographer, a software developer and a motorcycle tourer based out of Ahmednagar. Harshad shares his experiences during his bike ride to Ladakh.
Motorcycle tours are my drug. I canâ€™t do without a decently long tour every once in a while. And last year, I had the chance to undertake the ride of a lifetime – travel with my buddies through Ladakh. We would be passing through Jammu and Kashmir regions on the way, but since we were following advice form many travelers who had been to Leh, we had no plans to spend any time in between.
Our plan was a fast-paced ride through everywhere else and spend more time in Leh and around. However, as any adventure goes – plans have to scrapped and re-made often. We started from Srinagar on day 3 and reached Sonamarg valley around 3pm, stopped for lunch.
Drass was our target for the day, however barely 4 km away from Sonamarg, we were stopped at Nilagrath checkpoint and informed that the Zojila pass was closed for civilians for the day. We were an hour late and would have to spend a day in the tiny settlement.
Two among the four of us were unhappy, two welcomed the change. We went walking up on the road. Chatted with locals at a restaurant. I got the opportunity to make some of the best images of the whole journey during this slowed down time. We had absolutely nothing to do and since we were barely three days into the trip, we didnâ€™t have much to talk about either – so we kept roaming about, exploring hills around Nilagrath.
As the sun finally decided it was time to shine elsewhere, I was ready with my camera to capture the golden hour – something I had missed photographing previously since we were riding from noon to late into the night. Turned out Nature had plans to make me happy, very happy!
Also got this photograph of a full moon rising just as the sun cast out its last rays on the mountain peaks.
Went back to Sonamarg for dinner, as we had already decided we ordered only the local delicacies. On getting back, I couldnâ€™t resist the urge for some night photography. The full moon lighting up a stream flowing just beside our guest house made for a beautiful 30 second exposure.
We finally decided to let the journey take its time, and it probably was the best change in our plan. Witnessing new lands in slow motion is a great way to enjoy the trip and make lasting memories.
Harshad Sharma with complete gear during his bike ride to Ladakh. He has been to Leh and back from Maharashtra, till Central India (Nagpur) to the east, and till Bangalore and Chennai in South. He frequently travels distances of 300-400 kilometers a day for photography assignments. You can find more about him at http://harshadsharma.com.
Photographs by Harshad Sharma